5 Attitudes Not to Tolerate From Your Kids

A friend of mine recently told her little daughter to do something. Her daughter responded, “I no listen to you.” When my friend told the story, we all laughed. You don’t expect that type of dismissive disrespect out of an adorable little girl. And the little one probably wasn’t willfully, vindictively disobeying her mom. She was probably just more focused on what she wanted to do or parroting something she heard on TV. But behavior from actually rude kids is unacceptable and has to change, or they will simply repeat their mistakes.

But bad behavior won’t change if we don’t challenge the attitudes that drive it. All people are prone to bad attitudes creeping in, and kids are no exception. If we are going to train our kids on how to engage with the world in a healthy way, it’s important that their attitudes are right. We need to address this because rude kids need to learn how these attitudes will hurt others and negatively impact their own progress. Here are 5 attitudes not to tolerate from your kids.

Bad behavior won’t change if we don’t challenge the attitudes that drive it.

1. A Disrespectful Attitude

Disrespectful attitudes from rude kids are frustrating because they cut at our authority and undermine our trust. Do your best to be patient and calm in the face of disrespect. Remember that what you model speaks far louder than your words. You don’t want to return your kid’s wrongs with more wrongs. But be firm and resolute when you see this attitude. Ask your child questions like, “Have I treated you with disrespect, or have I treated you well?” You may get some answers as to why your kid is contemptuous. Maybe your child does feel hurt—by you. If you hurt your kid, apologize and own it. But still challenge the attitude. Give your kids different ways to confront their hurt. Let them know that disrespect will only cause more separation, distrust, and hurt.

2. An Ungrateful Attitude

Ungrateful people take things and others for granted. They tend to see the worst in people and situations, adopting a negative outlook on life. Cultivating gratitude produces the opposite. Teach your kids to be grateful. Show them all the things they can be grateful for. If you see them taking things for granted, then take one of their favorite things away for a time. Personally, I’d start with electronics. Show them how kids who are less fortunate live. Beyond the comforts of material things, the best thing they have to be grateful for may be you. Not everyone has a loving dad or family.

3. An Entitled Attitude

Entitled people expect to be served and for things to be given to them. They think you earn something just by being there. But entitled people have very little humility, work ethic, or perseverance. Kids need to be trained away from entitlement. Make your kids clean up after themselves. If they struggle with something, don’t step in. Give them guidance, but let them work at it and overcome. Give them chores around the house to earn money, and when they do a poor job, pay them less. It may sound harsh, but I’ve told my kids after they’ve done a job poorly what a real-world boss would probably do.

4. A Self-Centered Attitude

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is in Matthew 22, he said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” In short, love God and love others. If everyone did that, we could turn on the news at night and not see the horrific images and stories we’ve become accustomed to seeing. We wouldn’t have to lock our doors at night. Kids won’t become rude kids if we teach them to elevate the needs of others. Enlighten them to other people’s pain and suffering, but also share the opportunities we have to help. Model to them what it looks like to care for people outside your family.

5. A Rebellious Attitude

Not all rebellion is bad. Rebellion against injustice and oppression can be the right attitude. And maybe your kids are feeling some of that from you. Just like when they’re disrespectful, ask them  why when they’re rebellious. Again, if you’ve been inconsistent or harsh, then own it and apologize. There are no perfect parents. You’re modeling for them how to be remorseful, which is the opposite of rebellion. But also explain what a rebellious attitude does. Adam and Eve rebelled against God in Genesis, and the consequences were separation, shame, and even death. It’s important to remember that we all have continued that attitude of rebellion in one way or another. That’s what makes following the commandments that Jesus talked about in the last point so difficult.

But God offers grace. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus atones for our attitude of rebellion and offers a return to Eden. It’s a great example to us of how a parent should respond to a child’s rebellion. Uphold what’s right and just while loving your child and offering grace.

Sound off: What are some other attitudes not to tolerate in order to ensure that instead of rude kids, we have respectful ones? 

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What does it mean to rebel? Why is rebelling a bad idea?”