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Attitude Makeover: Judgmental

What's Wrong With Your Current Response?
First, ask yourself how you respond to your child's highly judgmental attitude. Could your response be stoking his negativity? Typical parental responses that provoke a judgmental attitude in kids often end in "-ing": insulting, judging, criticizing, scolding, humiliating, threatening, and yelling. If any of these fit your parenting style, how will you change your response?

Think of the last time your kid displayed his negative ways toward you. How did the episode begin? What did your kid say or do? What did you do? How did this episode end? Did any of those "-ing" parental responses enter into your interaction with your kid? Even one small change can make a big difference. Write one thing you will never do when your kid flaunts his negativity.

I will not

Facing Your Own Bad Attitudes
Reflect on your own childhood. Did you think of yourself as a critical or constructive kind of person? Did you use words to get even, express anger, or put down others in a spiteful or arrogant way? How did your parents respond? Did it help curb your bad attitude?

How about now? Judgmental attitudes are learned. Your kid forms much of his attitude from absorbing and mimicking others. Tune into the kinds of language used in your family. Are the interactions on the whole more positive or negative? Would your family assess your household atmosphere as warm, accepting, and positive or more critical and negative? Take an honest look at family members to make sure that isn't the source. What about his friends? Neighbors? Cousins? TV? Peers? Music? Coach?

Now make a serious appraisal of your attitude and what you might be modeling to your kid. For instance, do others think of you as more affirmative or more critical? Are you moody? Occasionally cranky or hostile? Do you tend to see the good or the bad things in people? How often do you verbalize those critical messages to your kids? On the whole, do you say more positive or negative comments? What about how you interact with your kids on a day-to-day basis? Do you typically dish out more criticism or praise? Would your kids agree with your estimation?

It's time to make a commitment to replace your kid's negativity, and the starting place is by changing your own behavior. What is the first step you need to take in yourself to be a better example to your sons or daughters in dealing with their negative behavior? Write down changes you need to make.

I will

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

Step 1. Dig Deeper
There may be a number of reasons for a judgmental attitude. Here are a few:

A kid may really feel confident that he knows better and is smarter than anyone else. This may be a by-product of youthful arrogance or the fact that you've made this little critter feel as though he's the center of the universe and every word from his lips is gold.

He may be overcompensating for a sense of inferiority or lack of confidence. He cuts and slashes as a defense against feeling he's inadequate.

He may be retaliating in a hostile or aggressive manner to the critical abuse he's been getting at home or in school.

He may somehow have learned to be intolerant of diverse perspectives and identities or may be unable to handle complexity or ambiguity.

He may be a part of peer culture where it is "cool" to be negative, to put down everything and everyone.

Before beginning your campaign to reverse your kid's bad attitude, take a hard look at where it's coming from.

Next: Steps 2 & 3 >>

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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