boy showing respect Q Wunder EQtainmentYour kid takes one look at the dinner you’ve just slaved over and declares “Yuck!” Or responds to your request to pick up her toys with “Whatever” and an eye roll. Or sees someone squeezing into an airplane seat and yells “You’re fat!” Fear not, there’s still hope for your child. Impulse control is tough for little ones — which makes dealing with rude behavior tough for parents — but you can help them develop and show respect.

 

Practice the Golden Rule.

To get respect, you have to give respect. If you don’t want your kid to scream at you, don’t scream at them. If you don’t want your kid to bad-mouth another kid, don’t let them hear you bad-mouthing another adult. Your kid learns from watching you, so show kindness and empathy toward others and your kid will learn to do the same. This also applies to how you interact with people who are a different race, sexual orientation, country, religion, size, etc. If your child asks you about them (or stares and says loudly “Why is that person talking funny?”), you can matter-of-factly acknowledge their differences, but also take note of the many things you have in common.

 

Teach listening.

Give your kid good listener lessons, playing “Look ‘Em in the Eye” from Q’s Pop Playlist on the Q Wunder app for inspiration. Reflect back what your kid says (so they know you really heard them), ask questions, then request that they practice doing the same. If frequent interruptions are still an issue, you can even let them choose a talking stick — it can be a real stick, a ball or whatever small object they want — then take turns passing the stick and waiting to talk until you get it.

 

Go over good manners.

In addition to being respectful yourself, talk about the specifics of polite behavior with your kid. If your child voices a desire in the form of a demand (“Give me a cookie!”) or complaint (“I wanted that cookie!”), calmly ask them to try again and don’t respond to the request until they can put it politely (“May I have a cookie, please?”). Let them know that tone as well as content counts (so snarling “Give me a cookie, please!” doesn’t count).

 

Give clear expectations.

Sit down as a family when everyone’s calm and go over your family’s rules. You might even ask your kid what they think the rules should be and write down their ideas, adding some of your own as you go, to help them feel invested in behaving well. Then be sure to explain what will happen if they don’t — and stick to it. So if your kid makes fun of others, mocks you, willfully ignores you, talks back or is otherwise just plain rude, you can remind them that you don’t treat people that way in your family and follow through with the consequence. If you’re at the playground, for instance, and your kid refuses to give another child a turn on the teeter-totter, you might go home and try again another afternoon. Just remember to be respectful even when your kid is being anything but — so instead of embarrassing your child by yelling at them in front of everyone, pull them aside and discipline them in private.

 

Explain how to express feelings respectfully.

Little kids don’t have much of a feelings filter, so name-calling, sassing and “I hate you!”s come naturally to them anytime they’re frustrated. It’s your job to teach them some alternatives. Encourage them to express their emotions by naming them (“I feel mad when Morgan takes my blocks” or “I feel sad when you won’t let me watch another show”) so you can help them work through those feelings and ultimately learn how to manage them on their own.

 

Time for family game night! Learn to take turns and listen to each other with a fun round of Q’s Race to the Top.