Attitude Makeover: Fresh

What's Wrong With Your Current Response?
Next, reflect on how you typically respond to your kid's fresh, flippant attitude. For example, are you attentive, preoccupied, concerned, respectful, flip, hurried, interested, or indifferent? Think back to the last time your kid was fresh. What was the incident over? How did it start? What were you doing at the time? How were you acting toward your kid? Is this how you typically react toward her? Get into her shoes: Would she agree with how you described your attitude? Did you make any nonverbal gestures such as rolling eyes, shrugged shoulders, smirking? Was there anything in your attitude that might have set her off? What did she say that you considered to be fresh, and how did you respond? Did you tolerate her fresh attitude? Or did you scold her or blame yourself? Did your response stop the attitude or escalate it? What is the one response you know never works in stopping this fresh attitude? Jot it down.

I will not

Facing Your Own Bad Attitudes
Your kid isn't born fresh, sassy, and rude, so where is your kid learning this attitude? Could it be from siblings? Friends? Neighborhood kids? Cousins or relatives? What about from you or your spouse? How do you treat one another? Do you ever talk sarcastically and flippantly to each other? Do you use four-letter words? If so, how often? How about the way you treat your friends? Has anybody ever accused you of being fresh or insulting? What was the situation?

Now think about how you typically talk to your kid. Do you talk in a civil, respectful tone toward him? Do you take time to attentively listen to him? Are you ever sarcastic, belittling, cutting, or insulting? Do you ever curse at your kids? What about being overly critical or judgmental? Do you put down your kid in front of others? Compare your child to his siblings? Is your discipline fair or overly punitive? Would your kid agree with your self-evaluation?

Next, seriously reflect on your relationship with your kid. Is it really based on mutual respect? Could the state of your relationship have anything to do with his sassy, disrespectful tone? How would he describe your relationship? For example, would he say it is honest, open, trusting, loving, or relaxed? Or would he say it's strained, closed, or stressful? Why? If your relationship is strained, what can you do to rebuild and reconnect with your kid? And what are you really willing to commit to doing to remedy any rift if it exists between the two of you? What is the first step you need to

take in yourself to be a better example to your sons or daughters when dealing with their fresh attitude? Write down changes you need to make in yourself.

I will

The "Don't Give Me That Attitude" Makeover
To eliminate your child's fresh attitude, take the following steps.

Step 1. Clearly Identify Your Kid's Fresh Behaviors
The first step in eliminating a fresh attitude is to determine which behaviors you consider inappropriate. Only then can you eliminate them from your kid's repertoire. Where do you draw the line between normal teasing and family banter and a downright rude, disrespectful, fresh attitude? What is your family's rule about four-letter words? Your kid won't know the boundaries unless you do. All kids slip every once in a while, but what is your kid doing or saying that is really fresh? The best test is that a fresh attitude is rude, embarrassing, or hurtful and always disrespectful. Keep in mind that freshness can be delivered in three ways: with words, a fresh voice tone, or with body gestures:

  • Fresh words: "You're a very bad Mommy!" "Get real!" "Don't you know anything?" "Yeah, right!" "That is so stupid!" "Whatever." "That sucks." "F – – you!"
  • Fresh tone: sarcastic, hostile, arrogant, silent, negative, imitates your tone or words mockingly.
  • Fresh body gestures: smirking, sighing, rolling eyes, vulgar finger gestures.
Make a list of the fresh words, tone, or body gestures your kid typically uses. Talk with others who witness your kid's fresh attitude, and add their observations. Finally, pass your list on to any adult – spouse, day care, grandparents – involved in the attitude makeover so you're on board together.

Next: Take action >>

From Don't Give Me That Attitude by Michele Borba, Ed.D. Copyright © 2004 by Michele Borba. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Buy the book at www.amazon.com.

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