A great ariticle on Parenting.com talks to the manners kids should have at a given age, as well as how to deal with these behaviors. I learned some nice bits of advice, and a better understanding of my kids, as well as how my behavior is likely causing these issues. Yes, it’s partly my fault!
The article starts out discussing Back Talk, which I deal with on a daily basis, my oldest has started saying “no” at the beginning of each sentence back to me, as in “Kiddo can you clean up that mess before dinner?” Him: “No we are still playing with it”. And other times I get the real back talk from things like “it’s our job to keep the house clean” “no it’s not!”. These types of conversations make my blood boil, and I often find myself counting to ten in my head as the words that want to come out won’t help the situation at hand at all, in fact they likely will not only make it worse, but also teach him incorrect behavior.
First up is the 2 year olds, yes those fun terrible twos which I actually think pale in comparison to the 3’s. The article has the following point.
Brat Buster: Count to three. A snappy comeback might help you blow off some steam, but there is no dignity in mudslinging with a minor. Instead, remember that this is a teachable moment: Say something like, “I know what you really meant to say is, ‘Sure, Mommy, I’ll pick up my toys.'” Then help by giving clear, specific instructions that she can follow. Remember, she’s only 2 — you need to help her focus on what you want her to do.
With this scenario they recommend you think of your toddler as a scientist, in that she’s trying to figure out the reaction her sassiness will have on you. It’s a typical maneuver, they are learning, they see other kids do this, and they want to see what it can get them. Plus if she complies with your requests, then you stop paying attention to her. So bam, here she is, sassing, looking for attention, and the worst thing to do is sass right back. What does that teach her? Instead you need to be calm, focus on her, and don’t take the bait, but don’t ignore it.
Next up are those moody and mean 4 year olds, with comments like “I hate you” and “you’re the worst mom ever”, and boy those sting, but they know it, and they likely are just frustration and not having a good outlet to vent. As a 4 they want to be independent, but they exist in a world where we constantly tell them what to do, and how to do it. They have to behave all day at school, and most of the time this moodiness is a coping strategy. So make sure you keep your calm, remind them that name calling is not nice and hurts people’s feelings.
5’s were last in their list, and they discuss the anger and desire to be independent. The example was around asking your 5 to turn off the TV and they throw the remote on the floor and slams her door shut. Yikes, we’ve all been there. This all stems from not knowing how to feel mad and react accordingly. They don’t know yet how to express their anger, as anger is a confusing emotion that even Adults get wrong a lot of the time. In this case you need to help your child discuss their emotions while teaching them that behaving badly is not the right response