The Seven Worst Mistakes In Trying To Change Bad Attitudes

So you've tried your hardest to change your kid's bad attitudes, and nothing has worked.You recognize your kid is spoiled, and you've really made an effort to stop his greedy, self-centered, defiant, or flippant ways.And you're still having little success. You've threatened, scolded, bribed, and begged, but nothing seems to work. Frankly, you're at your wit's end.

Why isn't your response working? Why have none of your methods been successful? How can you be sure that your child changes her ways and stops her bad attitudes for good? The first thing you must do is rethink how you're going about it now.

Here are a few of the most common mistakes you may be making in trying to eliminate the Big Brat Factor in your kids.

Thinking "It's Just a Phase." Spoiled behavior and bad attitudes don't go away by themselves. They almost always need parental intervention.The longer you wait, the more likely the attitude will become a habit. So don't call it a phase: jump in and commit yourself to stopping your kid's bad attitude as soon as it starts.

Being a Poor Model. Our own attitudes have enormous influence on our kids' attitudes.After all, what they see is what they copy. So before you start planning to change your kid's attitude, take a serious look at your own. If you really want to change your kid's bad attitude, change your own attitude first.

Not Targeting the Bad Attitude. It's most effective to work on only one attitude at a time, and the more specific your plan is, the better it will be. Don't make a broad, general statement like, "He's got a bad attitude." Instead, narrow the focus to target the specific attitude you want to eliminate: "He's becoming so arrogant." Or "She's so impatient." Do this, and your first step of your attitude makeover will be far more successful.

No Plan to Stop the Bad Attitude. Once you have identified the bad attitude, you need a solid makeover plan to stop it.The plan must (1) address the kid's bad attitude, (2) state exactly how to correct it, (3) identify the new attitude to replace it, and (4) have a set consequence if the bad attitude continues. Part Two provides specific makeovers for each bad attitude.

Not Cultivating a Replacement Attitude. A bad attitude is caused by the absence of a virtue. For example, if a child is insensitive, he lacks empathy. If she is fresh, she lacks respect. Therefore, no bad attitude will change unless your child learns a new attitude to replace it.Without a replacement attitude, chances are the child will revert to her bad old ways. See the Bad Attitude Antidotes and Replacements Chart on page 28.

Going Alone. Big mistake! Any good plan that you devise needs the cooperation of other family members, grandparents, babysitters, coaches, scout leaders, and any other important people in their lives. It may also be valuable to have the support of a group of parents with similar problems, as I suggest in the "How to Use This Book" section at the end of Part One. The more you work together, the more effective your plan will be.

Not Sticking with the Plan. Learning a new habit generally takes time—usually a minimum of twenty-one days.You mustn't give up easily, but commit yourself to a campaign until it works.

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