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Kids with Attitude Problems

We've Got a Big Problem
Many parents assume that attitude isn't something that develops until the preadolescent or teen years. But times have changed, and any parent paying attention now realizes that even a four-year-old can have all the full-blown symptoms of a bad attitude. And boy, can they make us miserable: their sass, back talk, and greedy, manipulative, bossy, and even defiant ways let us know in no uncertain terms that these little critters are on the road to poor character and a lack of moral intelligence – not to mention the damage their attitude can do to your family harmony. So don't think for a minute that bad attitude starts only when kids start watching MTV, talking on cell phones, sending instant e-mail messages, and playing video games.

Of course, they don't start out that way: the onset of a bad attitude has usually begun with smaller but definitely annoying actions – a whiny tone, a fresh comment, or a quiet rebuttal of an adult's request. Parents usually assumed their kids' conduct was "just a phase" or a single slip, and let it slide. And there lies our mistake. If not nipped early, this ailment spreads easily. Do beware: bad attitudes are highly contagious. If there are other siblings in the house, chances are they will catch it, too.

One thing is clear: there does seem to be an epidemic of overindulged, demanding, rude kids with attitudes, and everyone seems to agree. Lawmakers, doctors, clergy, businesspeople, educators, parents, and the general public alike have voiced their concerns about the growing breed of overindulged youth. Just review some of the troubling facts in the Bad Attitude News Alerts scattered throughout this book (Don't Give Me That Attitude by Michele Borba, Ed.D.).

Kids with bad attitude come in all sizes, both genders, all ages, and all cultures. They can be rich or poor; reside in rural, urban, or suburban areas; attend private or public school; have multiple siblings or be only children; live with a single parent or with both. The diversity of their lives seems to have little bearing on whether they acquire the dreaded ailment, although there is one factor that clearly is the greatest predictor for getting the disease: kids were allowed to develop the bad attitude without opposition, and because there was no resistance or reaction, these bad attitudes flourished and grew.

Take The Bad Attitude Intelligence Test to see how much you know about your children's bad attitudes, and find out how you can change them.


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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