How to Deal with Bad Attitudes in Children: 5 Steps - MakeSureHow
Edit Article

Help your child turn that frown upside down.

After a day of dealing with a bad attitude, you may want to donate your savings account to the invention of an attitude adjustment machine. It's tiresome being around cranky children, and their bad attitudes can make even a good day drag on. But remember, cranky kids usually have a good reason for their attitude. You can flip that attitude switch if you find out the cause and address whatever is bringing your tot down.


  1. 1
    Set the limits with your children so they know what to expect. This doesn't mean you should crack the whip whenever they act up. If all they ever hear is "no," they will stop listening to you. Instead, determine what is important to you and stick to those rules. Some good examples are no hitting or hurting, no throwing or breaking things, and no screaming.
  2. 2
    Follow through with punishments when your child breaks the rules. Time-outs are effective in certain situations for some children. According to KidsHealth, a good rule of thumb for time-outs is one minute for each year of age; so a 4-year-old can sit in time-out for four minutes. Another option is to implement logical consequences whenever appropriate. For example, if your wild one keeps throwing his toy train across the room, the consequence can simply be no more toy train for a week.
  3. 3
    Redirect bad attitude by changing what is influencing your child. For example, if he is acting out because he is overwhelmed or overstimulated, take him somewhere quiet. Turn off the TV and read a book to him. If he is fighting for a toy at a playgroup, remove her to another section of the room to play. If he continues to act up you might have to take him home, but he needs to have a chance to fix his behavior.
  4. 4
    Praise him whenever he does have a great attitude, especially if it's out of the ordinary. If he normally pouts about eating his dinner, praise him when he takes a few bites. Praise him at random times during the day. Sometimes children have a bad attitude because they aren't getting enough attention. That's easy enough to miss with this fast-paced world, so take a moment to tell him "I like how quietly you are reading now" or "You were so polite at the store today. Thank you."
  5. 5
    Model the attitude you want to see in your child. It's not always easy to say "thank you" when someone is giving you attitude, but that is what you want to teach him. Be polite and cheerful as much as possible. Yelling back at him or scowling because he's cranky is only going to teach him that behavior is normal. Perk up; soon enough he'll have a wonderful attitude. According to the University of Alabama Parenting Assistance Line, bad attitudes are "caught not taught," which is encouraging news for frustrated mamas.


  • Don't forget that even the happiest children have bad attitudes from time to time. This can happen for any number of reasons, including fatigue, hunger or feeling let-down.

Article Info

Categories: Education and Communications

Did this article help you?


an Author!

Write an Article