Friday, 6 March 2015

How to deal with bad attitudes

Above is a photo I took at the weekend when Alfie (sat down) refused to carry on walking because I wouldn't let him have his PSP, hence the hand actions. Alfie is normally a well mannered little boy but he does have his moments, well they both do. It is mainly on our days out where I would have a struggle to keep myself sane with the constant moaning and tantrums from the boys. They are getting better though, they used to be a lot worse to the point I would never dare take them shopping, it was just too stressful. However they are now developing a bit of a bad attitude. I was told its because they are growing up and are trying to figure out who they are, where his place is in the family and how far they can push those with higher authority. As Alfie is the oldest, he is constantly trying to exercise authority over his younger sibling by barking orders or lashing out when he doesn't get his own way or if Tom doesn't do what he wants him to do. School homework is also a bit of a task. It's extremely hard for me to get the children motivated to do it. They huff and pout and come up with every excuse why they can't do. Sometimes Alfie will just sit and stare at it, hoping I would do it for him. I put this down to lack of confidence but I know most of the time he is just being lazy. 

I wanted to write a few tips on how I deal with my children's attitudes:

1. Stay Calm

If you show them attitude back, it just makes the situation even more stressful than it needs to be. I try to deal with a temper in a pleasant and calming way. Sometimes my children will shout 'I hate you' when I don't buy them a toy while out shopping. At first, it was hurtful but now I know they don't mean it. The key here is to just put a smile on my face and say, 'I know you don't mean it, I still love you'. Distraction also works here. For example, start a completely new conversation or start a new activity which they may want to join in. Once my children realise that their tantrums don't bother me, they will soon give up. If they get really bad, the best thing to do is to take a deep breath and a few seconds before deciding on the next course of action. 

2. Teach respect through modelling

Children learn how to respond appropriately by watching and imitating those around them. I found that if I treat my children with respect, they will respect me in return. Also I make sure that I treat other people while we are out and about with respect too. I am very aware that my children watch and mimic my every move. If i'm friendly and say my please and thank yous, they should know to do this too.

3. Acknowledge their point of view

It sounds simple but I was guilty of not listening to my children's side of the story during a tantrum. I do listen to them now and it really does help to calm them down. I have learnt that acknowledgement does not condone my child's actions but it does help to understand the feelings behind them. Anyone would get frustrated and angry if you feel you are not being listened to. Holding the child and giving them your full attention while they explain what is making them angry really does work. Letting my child know that I am there for them anytime they need to talk to about issues that are upsetting them is very important to me. I would hate to think my child is too scared to talk to me, in fear that I may get angry or that I would not care.

4. Making sure your child's needs are met

There can be many causes of my child displaying a bad attitude. It could come from frustration, lack of attention, or illness. Maybe they are just tired or stressed from school. I try my best to talk to the children to see what the problem is. Sometimes they will refuse to talk but I am good at judging what the problem is, especially if its tiredness. I try not to negotiate but simply provide what is needed to solve the problem causing the bad moods such as insuring that they get an early night, they are getting a good diet or if they just need more one on one time with me.

5.  If the bad attitude is caused by them not getting their own way

I have to say 'NO' quite a lot to the boys on a daily basis. I don't want them to be spoilt but they do have their moments. I used to say "because I said so" when they asked why they couldn't have/do something. What I should have done was to explain the reason why I said 'no'. I guess my children would have been frustrated with my lack of communication. They do not understand why they cant have everything in the toy shop, why they can't eat sweets everyday or why they can't go to the park when it's dark outside as they are still very young, so it is my job to teach them.

6. Quiet time

If my children go from just having a bad attitude to a full blown argument/tantrum, which is once a week, I find there is no way to reason with them or calm them down. The youngest is especially good at hiding under the dining table crying as loud as he can. He will refuse to talk to anyone while he throws whatever objects there are in his reach. I find placing them in a quiet room like their bedroom away from everyone else really helps. They will be able to calm down, feel better and get the space they need to gather them self before returning to the rest of the family.

Overall, my advice for dealing with a child's negative attitude is to stay calm, accept his negative feelings and listen to them without criticism. Stand with them and solve the problem together, or give them space for a little while if they ask for it and then sit down together. I am hoping my child will learn that there is no reason to be frustrated around me, and will hopefully begin to think about how he wants to change and grow.


Brilliant blog posts on


  1. Natalie McNamara8 March 2015 at 02:35

    I think acknowledging their point of view is essential, and one way to stop the screaming match too.

  2. Joanna @mumbalance8 March 2015 at 23:11

    This is a very good and level headed guide on how to deal with bad behaviour and tantrums. You are a wonderful and understanding mother xx
    Ps. I'm sharing this on pinterest

  3. Amy @ The Tide That Left9 March 2015 at 17:58

    This is a lovely post. My boy is only 7.5 months so we're not there yet, but I read this and totally got how important it is to treat your kids like what they think and feel matters.

  4. Autumn Roadruck11 March 2015 at 23:44

    I love all the tips you suggested. I think its so important to acknowledge your children with respect, and let them vent where they are. I know that strong parents raise strong children & this article just proves it.

  5. Gemma your advice is so spot on, harder to do it all than to write it in the heat of the moment!

  6. Very good advice. I find as soon as I am not tense they calm down instantly - even if think I am displaying a relaxed aura, it's not always the case. Thank you for linking to #SundayStars x

  7. themamastory.com13 March 2015 at 22:33

    Great ideas thank you, I will try those on my 3 year old. I need to get better at modelling too.


© Gemma The Family Girl . All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Designed by pipdig