Attitude Influences


Do you have a child whose attitude changes on a daily or weekly basis? Have you considered the various influences in her life that might change the way she interacts with the people around her?

Attitude problems run the gamut with our little ones. We may see a surge of backtalk, forgetfulness with “please and thank you,” and general disrespect toward parents and other adults.

It can sometimes take a little while before we recognize attitude issues, not to mention figuring out where they come from. If you model the attitude you want from your child, it’s important to look outside yourself to see where it might be coming from. Most kids don’t come by it naturally.

There’s an article on Motherlode, the parenting blog on The New York Times, that discusses the effect of TV on our kids. Here’s a quote:

“My children talk back more after they overdose on Disney programming that finds its humor in the ‘children are smarter than their parents’ trope. They’re bossier and less pleasant to one another if we watch movies where characters interact that way – which can range from ‘Star Wars’ to ‘Toy Story.’”

The point is that your child’s attitude can very much be influenced by the TV he watches. So as you consider the influences that might be affecting his attitude, consider TV. And as you evaluate the TV you allow your child to watch, consider more than just violence and foul language. Watch the show and determine for yourself how the people in the show treat each other. If it’s a show whose characters act as though it’s cool to ignore or disrespect parents, steer clear.

Aside from TV, think about the people your child interacts with. If he has a friend who just rubs you the wrong way, there’s probably a reason why. While we want to give our kids some independence when it comes to forming friendships, they are still little and subject to our rules. If we don’t want them spending time with a particular person, it is our prerogative to limit their interaction.

Also think about the adults in your child’s life. We all have one of those irreverent friends who likes to buck the system. It may even be a family member who refuses to watch his or her language in front of the kids. Or worse, he will tell the child that it’s okay to disobey mom or dad.

Be on the lookout for these influences in your child’s life. When you see attitude problems pop up, figure out where they came from, and don’t be shy about putting a stop to them.

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