Correct for Attitude: A Tip

It can be so easy to fall into the trap of correcting our kids’ outward signs of disobedience while ignoring attitude. We often focus on their actions without paying attention to what’s going on in their little hearts. I think attitude is just as important as actions, if not more so. By the same token, we may correct our kids for the words they speak but not correct facial expressions. Attitude is attitude. Whichever way our kids reveal their attitudes to us, our job as parents is to get to their little hearts and make sure they’re in the right place.

Here’s a tip on figuring out whether to correct for attitude, especially those little facial expressions that often go by unnoticed. The next time you see your child with a not-so-happy expression on her face, picture a little comic strip thought bubble over her head and fill in the words. Imagine what she would be saying if she were talking. And if she were saying those words, would you correct her?

Here are a couple examples:

  • Expression: Eye roll
  • Thought bubble: That’s so stupid.

  • Expression: Furrowed brow and tight lips
  • Thought bubble: I’m so angry I could hurt someone.

  • Expression: Lifted chin while looking away
  • Thought bubble: I’m better than you.

You would certainly correct if your child spoke these words, right? And aren’t these words an accurate expression of the attitude you see on her face? Again, attitude is attitude. Correct if it needs correction.

Now, perhaps assigning words to her expressions isn’t entirely fair. So you might not correct as harshly as you might if she actually spoke them. Nonetheless, the point is understanding what’s going on in her heart. If this little exercise helps you get a better feel for her attitude, give it a try. Keep in mind that we cannot forget attitude when correcting our kids. Correct for actions, speech, facial expressions, and any other expression of attitude, always making sure the child’s heart is in the right place.


  1. so i know you liked the Moms Notes and things and a long time ago you had kind of ranked them as to what order you would buy them in……….I think it may have even been in the old blog but I can’t find it. But basically I am on a budget. There is a ton of info out there but well it all adds up. I have all the wise books (up til Childwise). My oldest is 6.5 youngest not yet 2. I have the FTO Moms Notes and CD. I am pretty sure you recommended the GKGW workbook (i never took the GKGW course-not offered here). I have read the wise books and will reread Childwise again. My 2nd is starting kindergarten and the 1st 1st grade. I know i am focusing more on moral training,etc as they are now school age children. We of course have some issues here and there………..working on tone and attitude with both at times. I sometimes struggle to come up with logical consequences. I try to watch their freedoms so they don’t have too many,etc. We are at a recent age with the older 2 of some bickering/sibling rivalry. What do you recommend are really”must haves”? Do you think the GKGW workbook is redundant of the wise books. I think my biggest issue is I agree with the wise books but I would love more real-world examples. I know there can’t be a book for when X happens, do Y but i’d love practical tips on how to implement more. That is how it really sinks into my brain. I just saw that the Links (Momsnotes) have a book that just came out called “Why Can’t I get my kids to behave?” and reviews are favorable on Amazon and it sounds like it may have some real life examples,etc. Although one said it’s not in lieu of Mom’s notes. I did see on Moms notes something about sibling rivalry/bickering which maybe good. Anyways what do you recommend? Like i said i’m on a budget. The book wasn’t much at all so maybe i’ll start there but I wanted thoughts on MomsNotes and GKGW. Were there any you thought were essential or really helped you? I do think FTO is obviously a big thing and we work on that. In theory things should build off that. So maybe some of the other things are redundant. But like i said I sometimes struggle with logical consequences and how to implement things. )We do not spank). Anyways thanks for your thoughts on this!

  2. Maureen says:

    Okay, let’s see. I do highly recommend the GKGW book. You don’t need to have taken a class to get value out of it. It’s good on its own. It’s the perfect balance between explaining important principles (chapter 1: How to Raise a Moral Child) and how to train a child (chapter 9: Principles of Obedience) and all about discipline, encouragement, and correction (chapters 10-15). So if all you had was $19, I’d get that. If I were to spend money on anything from the Links, I’d get their new book, in Kindle format if you have a Kindle or Kindle app on your phone/iPad. They sent me the new book to review and I’ll do so soon. I just haven’t had time to read it yet. It’ll give you some good ideas, but the GKGW book is one you will refer to over and over. Oh, and it’s much easier to reference than Childwise. It’s well organized.

    As for specific consequences, first of all, know that you don’t need to respond immediately with consequences. Let them know that whatever they did was wrong and that you’ll get back to them with their consequence. Letting them fester like that helps. Most of the consequences I use came from various message boards and things. It’s so individual that it’s hard to say if X do Y. For sibling rivalry, the best trick I heard was to make them face each other and hold hands until they’re ready to hug. Works wonderfully. But again, the GKGW book comes in handy because more than any consequence, you’ll want to TEACH all about respect for peers, attitude, etc. If you want ideas, you might get Love and Logic from the library. Lisa Welchel (from Facts of Life) also has a logical consequence book. It goes a little overboard at times, but you might pick up a few nuggets.

    Lastly, your oldest is getting to the point that you’ll want to let her take ownership of most of her issues. I have a book called What to Do When You Grumble Too Much, A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Negativity. It’s a book for her to read and gives her ideas to think about. It’s good for social issues at school, too. There are several What to Do books. I’d see if the library has any.

    Does that help?

  3. thanks! that is an excellent idea about my oldest as you are absolutely correct, she needs to take ownership of more things as she gets older. We keep working on that and we discuss many times the choices and attitudes and tones she makes are all her decisions.

    So i think i’ll do the GKGW workbook and maybe the Links book. I looked at Moms notes and there are so many good things on there, and i think they probably go into a lot of detail when you get a specific topic. For example they have sibling conflict CD’s. (We don’t have anything excessive, just normal behaviour of children close in age,etc). There was something specifically for ages 6-12 and “It’s all about attitude”, the “Parent Trainer” notes about how moving from age 5 “discipline years’ to the next phase ‘training years’, and “training the elementary child”,”Understanding peer pressure”,etc. So there is a lot there and even more that caught my eye. But again it all adds up. And if you follow the core, like the GKGW workbook principles, I would think you cover most of the bases anyways? Did you get the Moms Notes in specific things like this? Or as your have gotten older have you gotten the moms notes on older brackets specifically geared for their ages?
    Thank you for all your ideas. Very helpful! Like i said I think i’ll do the workbook and the Links new book for now. But i will check What to Do books at the library as that will be perfect for my oldest! She reads amazingly well and is kind of a bookworm and I think these self-help books for her as she gets older will be great. SHe has the personality for that and I think sometimes that can be even more helpful for them when they read it on their own and refer to it when they need to,etc as they get older.

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