If you thought the eye-rolling and attitude wouldn’t start until your son became a teenager, you were probably wrong. Preteen boys are just as susceptible to attitude problems as their teenage counterparts, and it can be a difficult adjustment for you. However, you can minimize the effects of his negative attitude by employing the right parenting skills and techniques. He may not be your sweet little boy anymore, but he also doesn’t have to be your terrible teen.
Pay attention to your tween’s attitude and what is behind his sudden insolence and aggravating behavior, advises Michele Borba, author and educational professional with a masters in educational development. Knowing the root of the problem can help you deal with the issue, if not eliminate it completely. Your preteen boy may develop an attitude problem if he is functioning on too little sleep, if he has a fight with a friend, or if he goes through a major life change, such as a move away from home, divorce or even a new sibling. If you can pinpoint when his attitude began to develop, you can provide help for his specific problem.
Make rules and consequences clear, advises Megan Devine, parental support line advisor for Empowering Parents. When your preteen son knows you expect certain things of him -- including his attitude -- in your house, he is more likely to refrain from overstepping the attitude boundaries you have in place. If he fails to use his manners or treat your family members with respect, he loses his television privileges for the rest of the day. When he misses out on something fun because of his attitude, he is more likely to realize that his attitude isn’t worth the punishment and he may straighten up.
Praise the attitude you want your son to use on a regular basis every time it makes an appearance, advises Scholastic. When your preteen son makes his bed and helps his baby sister with her toothbrush and toothpaste in the morning without copping a major attitude, praise him for it. Tell him how proud you are of what a nice young man he’s becoming or what a good example he’s setting for his sister. The praise you lavish on him will make him feel good, and when something makes people feel good they are more likely to continue doing it in hopes of feeling that way again.
Stay calm. When you lose your cool in front of your son when his attitude is at its worst, you make the situation worse. Seeing this reaction from you could further illicit rude behavior. When you remain calm and act as though his attitude has no effect on you whatsoever, he doesn’t get the attention he wants and he may give up on the attitude altogether.