Release destructive emotions


How to Talk with a Kid with a Bad Attitude

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Maturity is the ability to take responsibility for the mistakes you make and spend more of your time in a consciousness of love. Maturity is choosing to move on from negative beliefs and emotions stuck in your mind and come to terms with the debits and credits that life has afforded you. Maturity is also choosing kindness and love in every situation.” – Lynne Namka, Your Quick Anger Makeover Plus Twenty Other Cutting-Edge Techniques to Release Anger!

Attitudes! Some young people use bad attitudes to keep adults away. Apathy, sullenness and disrespect are ways that some young people say “Get out of my face. I don’t want to talk about it.”

It is hard being a parent of a child who displays a perpetually sullen attitude. Parents are unprepared when their formerly loving child starts to withdraw from the family (which is normal teen age behavior) and respond in short, hateful phrases (which is not.) They go to a place where there is “no more nice” and, in place, is a moody, temperamental kid with an attitude that just won’t stop!

Yet, in the simplest sense, a negative or bad attitude about life is the child’s way of asking for help. Most adults do not know how to help children when they are rude and react in anger and helplessness. Sarcasm and putdowns can be a sign of hidden anger.

Bad attitudes are catching. Children learn back talk from listening to their peers. Negative attitudes spread from one group to another. Television and media sarcasm and put-downs are now the norm at many schools and peer cultures. Younger students “catch” rude answers and comeback from the older students. Children that are bullied and called names, then turn around and use those names on others. This perpetuates the cycle of hurt and shame that creates bullies. Negativity is becoming the norm in certain subcultures of young people. For some, it is “cool” to be sarcastic and say put downs to peers.

bad attitude, anger, teens anger

A negative or bad attitude about life is the child’s way of asking for help. Most adults do not know how to help children when they are rude and react in anger and helplessness. Show love with sweetness and gentleness and show it with toughness and boundaries.

Some children’s anger comes from being disappointed and hurt and not knowing how to express unhappy feelings to get the pain out. Some anger is real as a result of being hurt. Some anger is a result of realistic expectations that were not met and some anger comes from unrealistic expectations.

Anger in some children is based on not having limits placed of their behavior when they were young giving them a sense of entitlement. Do you get gratification from having the best-dressed child, with name brands? Have you shielded him from the natural consequences of his misbehavior? Have you rescued him from educators/coaches who disciplined him? Do you go to battle with the legal system when he has broken the law? All of these decisions on your part can have a detrimental effect on your child.

Other anger is based on irrational thinking and assumptions that are wrong. Some of children’s anger is displaced on parents – they had a bad day at school so yell at you. And sometimes, your anger at outside events gets displaced on your kid.

Fight attitude with an attitude of your own – the “Tough Beans” approach. Say to your child: Sometimes the beans (life) are hard. When that happens, you just have to chew harder! You have to try harder. And in combating a child’s negative attitude, you have to get tough. This is the “When the going gets tough, the tough get hardy” approach.

You don’t have to take it on the chin with teen disrespect. Be strong upfront while granting your child’s requests. Don’t show any signs of weakness – kids can read these cues like a book. Later on, you can be a marshmallow mom or dad after your youngster has shown flexibility some maturity and demonstrated responsibility. Be the strong authority figure in your home as you set the values you expect your children to live by. No wishy-washy communication. Remind your child that kindness is an important part of your family. Don’t let the trashy media culture and cynical peer culture train your children. You only get to put your values in your children for such a short while.

Teach them that connection to each others is one of the most important family values. Nobody loves your kids the way you do. Show it with sweetness and gentleness and show it with toughness.

Sign up to Time To Love Yourself, in the top, right corner of this post, to receive your free eBook, “Your Quick Anger Makeover” by feelings expert, Lynne Namka. Packed with the newest ideas about how to understand and liberate anger and other unwanted, raw emotions, this ebook is a practical, light-hearted guide to take you through your wildest and woolliest feelings. Perfect for every family. 240 pages, a $19.95 value. Don’t miss this great opportunity!

Reviews of Your Quick Anger Makeover:

“You have written an encyclopedia on anger!” – Rami Katz, M. S. W.

“Your Quick Anger Make Over is not only about anger. It reinforces what it is to be normal with feelings. It answers the questions of what are the boundaries and what are the extremes of human emotions. Boundaries were misinterpreted for me when I grew up. This book helped me realize the continuum of normal emotions and behavior and where I fit on this continuum. I enjoyed the chapter on defensiveness and how to change. I can evaluate myself in a realistic way and become more accepting with myself.” – Karen Seibert, teacher

Love Signs – Putting Love into It

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong but rejoices in the right.” – 1stCorinthians 13: 5, 6

In general, people treat you the way you teach them to treat you. Especially teenagers. Like a nasty virus, you have to combat negativity that creeps into your home via those you love most dear in the world. So reestablish your Parent Power. You are in charge as long as you pay the bills in the household. You have the right to establish a set of guidelines for your family to make your home a place where people are safe with each other

So, let’s get some guidelines clear. It is appropriate for you to ask your child to stop speaking with disrespect to you and other family members. It is part of your teaching him to be a functioning human being to by giving guidelines on how to be respectful to others. It is okay for you to confront inappropriate verbal behavior. Inappropriate behaviors are those actions that the world in general will not tolerate and that will keep the child from living a happy life. The major question to ask is “Will the world in general put up with this attitude and behavior?”

Set some enforceable house rules that you call the “Respect Rules” such as “We are a family. In our family, we talk to each other with respect”, “We keep our voices civil,” and “Cussing is not allowed in our family. We are considerate of each other in our home. Yelling will not get you what you want.” And of course, the ever-popular, “No Sniveling.”

love respect positive communication

Set some enforceable house rules that you call the “Respect Rules” such as “We are a family. In our family, we talk to each other with respect”, “We keep our voices civil,” and “Cussing is not allowed in our family. We are considerate of each other in our home. Yelling will not get you what you want.”

Ask your child to agree that everyone will be happier in the family if the Rules of Respect are practiced. If you can swing it, get him to sign his name agreeing to be considerate and go along with the rules on a contract. Everyone in the family should sign their name to the contract. Yes, he may do it grudgingly, but get him to agree so that forever you can say, “But you agreed to these rules” to nip future grousing in the bud.

Give up your parental t-shirt that says “Born to Nag.” Let the family rules be the bad guy not you. Nix the stupid comments you learned from your own parents. Note your own habits of language that tune your youngster out. Some of the things that parents say to try to change the kid factor lose their effectiveness after they have been repeated over and over. Kids tune out to the familiar. They tune into the novel and different.

What do you say that makes that your child to roll his or her eyes and say, “Oh, Mom!” File these comments that distance that put distance between you and your child in the Moron Mom Folder or the Dumb Dad Folder – You are grounded for the entire month. How many times do I have to tell you? Will you ever grow up? If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times. (Why tell again? Save your breath.)

Post the rules on that most popular spot in the house – the refrigerator. Post signs saying, “Dripping Sarcasm is Not Allowed.” and “This is an Attitude-Free Zone.” Put your list of “Our Family Rules of Respect” on the refrigerator under the heading “Give Your Attitude some Altitude.”  If you should stumble on some moments of family cooperation (on a good day for your kids), make these signs together so there will be more ownership of the rules.

Then when your child gets snippy, point to a posted rule. Ask, “What is our rule about that?” The rule becomes the “bad guy,” not you as the parent. Remind them they agreed to the rules and you will hold them to their word. Of course, your child can point to the rules when you get out of line and break the rules yourself. This is only fair. It will be a reality check on you to see if you have an attitude problem.

The message to continually give to your youngster is that families who want to be happy have family members who do not disrespect each other. Tell them in many different ways, “Do not dis me. I won’t allow it. And I won’t disrespect you either. This is our no Dis Contract.”

Keep reminding your children “We are a family that supports each other. Kindness spoken here! We cherish each other.” Cherishing pays off across a lifetime of raising your children.

Check out for more articles from Lynne Namka to help smooth your family’s relationships.

Don’t Go With the “S” Word – Sarcasm

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Stop, stop, stop using sarcastic words! Sarcasm is a learned habit of moving away from problem solving. Sarcasm is a form of dishonesty as you say one thing but mean another. It is a technique of distraction moving away from the issue at hand. It teaches disrespect.”- Lynne Namka

Sarcasm. Teens, and even tweens, can become quite verbal in saying things they don’t mean in an attempt to show their superiority to best you. They have years of practice of going for the jugular veins with their peers using put downs to show verbal superiority. Put downs are a form of sport with young people. They can joust with words with Olympic competence. Don’t you go there. It will be disaster if you do. You won’t win. No one wins in mind games of derision and scorn. Think of sarcasm as a typical teen trap baited and waiting for you to fall into to. Sarcasm can be a factor in teen bullying.

The worst thing you can do is to run to the brink with your anger, then bail out and agree to what your child wants. Getting angry and then giving in is a sure-fire invitation to your child to do whatever he did to push your buttons to the max. Over and over!

teen saracism

Children learn that there are different expectations of how they are allowed to express themselves in different social situations. Sarcasm is never appropriate. This is the time that you have to install healthy values and boundaries in your children.

Roll with the emotional punches – those highs and lows of teen dramas. Of course, you will have to stop freaking out over the latest fads and fashion. As a client told me recently, some advice that helped him was “Nobody ever died of a messy room!” Your overreaction to the temporary bizarre ideas and ways of dressing just makes young people desire them all the more. Let normal childhood phases run their course! Don’t make a big deal of their fads and they won’t have a reason to hold on to them. Think of Romeo and Juliet—if their parents hadn’t objected to the romance so much, they might have gotten tired of each other.

So even if sarcasm is ripe within the teen culture, don’t allow it to take over your home. Even young children learn that there are different expectations of how they are allowed to express themselves in different social situations. The language that is allowed on the playground or pool hall is not always the language allowed when speaking to grandma or at church. Set a strong boundary of what you will allow in your home. Say something like, “You may throw your put downs and smart remarks with your friends. This is how you joust for power with them. However, I will not allow the use of sarcasm here at home. You may not speak sarcastically to adults or younger children. We will use the words of loving kindness with each other as a family. You have the right to call me on this when I step out of bounds.”

Then hang a sign on your fridge which says, “Respect Spoken Here.”

Boundaries! We all need ‘em. So set them again and again with your children. Tell them what you want. Teach them what is and is not allowed in your family. This is the time that you have to install healthy values in your children. Speak up for kindness and respect. Model it and call your children on verbal behaviors that do not go along with the family program of “Respect Spoken Here.”

Want more ideas on learning to set clear and appropriate boundaries? Go to my award-winning web site

 The Perfect Gift for Children in Your Life

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