Help! My Kids are Rude!

I’m going to let you in on a conversation I had with my friend (who shall remain nameless) about a struggle she has with her kids. I’ll also tell you the advice I gave her, too. Hopefully, if you are also saying, “Help! My kids are rude!” these tips will help you. Hopefully, if you are also saying, "Help! My kids are rude!" these tips will help you.

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My Kids are Rude!

“There. I’ve said it. My kids are rude. Well, they can be rude most of the time. I don’t know what to do! I need help because I feel like I’m going crazy.” I felt bad for my dear friend. She loves her kids, she is a kind-hearted, caring mom. She is firm and smart. But she is losing this battle. Her three kids (ages 9, 7.5 and 4.5) are always arguing, they don’t show empathy, they have a hard time thinking of things and people other than themselves. They don’t have many restaurant manners and arguments escalate (in emotion and loudness) rather quickly.


I feel bad, but in all honesty, I feel like I am right there with her. We’ve all had situations where our kids aren’t doing the right thing, when they need extra coaching and there are times when, to be completely honest, they will flat out embarrass or disappoint us. Here are some tips that might help you in these situations. They have worked for me a few times and they are in my arsenal of tools to use when the kids are having an “off” day. Hopefully, if you are also saying, "Help! My kids are rude!" these tips will help you.

Dealing with Rude Children

  1. First off, let me tell you, the most important thing to do is to breathe. Give yourself time to think and assess the situation. If there is one thing you don’t do is react to their misbehavior, especially, in public. Have a plan. Come up with a handful of ideas to have written on a card that you keep in your purse and take a glance at when things begin to escalate. I hope these tips help.
  2. The second most important thing to do is be an example on how to act. That’s right! If we want our kids to act a certain way, we need to be show them how. It’s not the same thing to just tell them how to act, but they need to see it firsthand. This ties in perfectly with point 1 about not reacting and having a plan.
  3. Diffuse arguments with Math. One big help for us is something as simple as asking my son to answer a Math problem. See, when humans are upset, we tend to turn off the rational thinking part of our brains and we go into survival/primal mode, which means that anything goes. So, by asking a Math problem, say 12+4, he will stop, think and reactivate his rational part of the brain, in a way.
  4. Create a distraction with a change of location so they can calm down and talk in a more reasonable way. When we are at a restaurant and they start arguing over something, I ask one of them to accompany me to the bathroom to wash our hands. When we are home, I send one of them on an errand in the other room or ask one to go with me to the other room for a minute.
  5. Get more ideas that might fit your family better by reading a book. Here are three great books that offer lots of great advice on conflict resolution for kids and how to teach manners to kids. The book 365 Manners Kids Should Know uses games, activities, and other fun ways to help children and teens learn etiquette. Raising Kids with Good Manners shows parents how to instill in their children a true concern for others as well as how to teach them manners. The Kids’ Guide to Working Out Conflicts teaches kids how to keep cool, stay safe, and get along.
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