How to Stop a Child From Being Rude

Neglecting to say “please” and “thank you,” eye rolling and talking back with a snotty tone are all rude behaviors that many kids exhibit from time to time. Whether your child is perpetually rude or only occasionally falters, putting an end to rude behavior is important. Your child’s social growth depends on learning to use her manners and treat others with respect 2.

Model courteous behavior, advises Jerry Wyckoff, Ph.D., family therapist and family life and human development professor. To model courteous behavior to your child, you must apply the golden rule. This means to treat others as you wish to be treated. Always say “please” and “thank you” when it is warranted, keep sarcasm and attitude out of your voice and use your manners at all times. Your child learns from your behavior.

Ignore unimportant rude behavior so that it loses its novelty, advises James Lehman, MSW, for Empowering Parents 2. Say your son uses a rude tone of voice on a regular basis. Instead of repeatedly telling him to stop or asking him to speak nicely to you, ignore his tone and show him it doesn’t bother you. When you let him know it bothers you, you give that tone a certain power that your son will continue to use. Ignoring it makes it become ineffective in your son’s mind as well as more likely to disappear before too long.

Enforce a consequence for your child’s rude behavior, advises Lehman 1. If you ask your daughter to do her homework and she tells you she doesn’t have to do what you tell her, discipline her. Tell her ahead of time that when she does not listen and when her behavior is rude, you will take privileges away from her, such as the ability to play outside, visit her friends or attend the next birthday party she’s invited to. When she ignores your rules, immediately enforce this consequence as it will help her learn that her rude behavior isn’t worth missing out on fun things.

Tell your child you are proud of him when his behavior is good, advises Wyckoff. If he responds to your request to do something around the house without rolling his eyes, using a rude tone to ask you why you don’t do it yourself or being sarcastic with you, complement him on his good manners. Positive reinforcement is typically an effective way to help children learn to behave appropriately.