How to Teach Your Child Manners

I've been struggling with this as of late. My daughter has been driving me up a wall. She's got a major attitude. Sometimes I think she's 4 going on 14. It seems like she doesn't care about anyone's feelings. Everything my husband and I say she has a snide comment for. Or, better yet, she repeats everything.

Me: "Big J, come to the table, it's time for dinner."
Her: "I'm not done coloring."
Me: "You can finish after we eat."
Her: "No."
Me: "Put it away sweetie."
Her: "You put it away."
Me: "Don't talk to me like that."
Her: "Don't talk to me like that."

And on and on. A time-out would usually follow, but I'm not sure they really do anything. It just seems to be happening a lot lately. I'm so tired of yelling and punishing. Is this my fault? Is this the result of the negative atomosphere my husband and I create by always picking on each other? How do I fix it? She knows about good manners and what's polite and what kind of behavior I expect of her so why does it seem so hard?

I've also been thinking a lot about consequences. I want Big J to think, even if it's for a split second, about what will happen BEFORE she launches a ball at the back of her baby sister's head. (it was a soft ball, but it knocked her down nonetheless). I know that's a lot to ask, but she's capable of understanding the concept. I'm not happy with how aggressive she is towards her sister. I wish she could empathize a little more. She has no patience for her crying. She yells at her. Maybe it's all trickling down. We yell at her, she's feels helpless and out of control. Then, she snaps at the baby to feel more grown up and in control. Does that even make sense?

I've been really trying to examine how my relationship with my husband affects the kids and these are some of the things that are in my mind.

In keeping with my post about attitude, I snapped a picture of Big J at a birthday party on Saturday that makes me chuckle. It's a classic look for her. It's my Best Shot. Don't you just love the little scowl? Go check out all the other great pictures.


Sara said...

That sure sounds like a difficult situation. I have some of the same with my boys and their abilities to get along...or not.

Come Check Out Mine Please

Dawn said...

Very beautiful picture! I also love your photo-of-the-day idea!

Dawn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maggie said...

I love that shot - I bet it captures her little scowl perfectly! Aren't conversations like that with toddlers enough to make you just batty?!

Christina said...

What a great post. We are dealing with some of the same defiance and agression issues here - it's tough! Love that picture, captures her perfectly. :o)