All of these equal a child who is aggressively trying to ask their parents’ questions.
Questions like, what will my parents do if I give them an attitude with either my words or my expressions, like rolling my eyes when they ask me to do something?

The good news is this behavior is normal, but the bad news is it’s disrespectful and irritating to parents. So why is it normal for children to get under their parents skin with their attitudes? Because children are trying to understand their social emotional system and this just doesn’t happen automatically as a child ages, it has to be learned from their parent, grandparent, teacher or mentor.

Here’ how to teach emotional education so your child’s behavior & attitude changes.

  • Start by telling your kids about feelings that affect behavior.
  • Next teach them different ways of dealing with their powerful feelings.
  • Lastly help your kids predict consequences by setting family rules.

During your difficult times with your kids be sure you don’t let your feelings get the better of you and start yelling or being bossy yourself. Easier said than done, I know, but this model of calm during conflict will teach your children a valuable lesson without you having to lecture.

When the conflict is over explain to your child the feeling that caused their behavior. Say, something like, “Calling me stupid and pointing a finger in my face happened because you were mad”.
Then say, “In our house the way to deal with being mad is turn around and go in the backyard and kick a ball or put your ipod on and listen to your favorite song”.
Finally, say to your child, “If you decide to follow this suggestion (our family rule) then your life will be tons of fun, but if you decide to continue to talk to me in a mean voice, then when you want to be around me or others that won’t happen”!

For more detailed information about how to set up family rules, head to Dr. Ann’s website to order the Parenting Passport discipline book. For emotional education look for the Pocket Full of Feelingsproject new website with product details plus the 2012 Pocket Full of Feelings workshop at Pretend City Children’s Museum in Irvine, CA.

Remember feelings are powerful, misunderstood drivers of childhood behaviors.
The more you educate your kids, the better they’ll understand themselves, Dr. Ann.