To stop rudeness at home

1. Introduce a new rule about talking respectfully.

It’s useful to talk to everyone in the family about how you want your home to be a nice place for everyone.
Ask how they feel when people are rude to them.
Ask what makes them feel bad.
And explore why you need a rule.
Then discuss what the new rule should be, and get everyone to agree.

Always word rules positively – with what you WANT family members to do.
So a good rule might be:
“Be respectful and polite to each other.”
Discuss exactly what that involves. And write the rule down.

2 Agree rewards and consequences

While you’ve got the whole family together agree rewards for following the rule and consequences for breaking it.

Sometimes it’s good to introduce an incentive when you start a new rule, just for a week or two. To help the children remember.
Perhaps if everyone sticks to the rule for three days you could arrange a small family treat, go out to the park, have a family movie night with popcorn, have a games night, or a disco night. Whatever appeals to you all.

At the same time, it’s useful to discuss what the consequences will be if the rule is broken.
So if a child is rude or nasty they apologise. And do something nice to make it up to the person they were rude to.
If they’re rude to you, perhaps they can help you with a job –like mopping the kitchen floor – or give you a foot massage.

And if you break the rules, perhaps you get to cook that child’s favourite meal, or put some money in the family treat jar, or take that child out for lemonade.

3. Make sure you’re consistent about sticking to the rule.

Every day make sure you notice and comment when the children are being polite and respectful.
Say: “I noticed that we’ve had a family meal and no one was rude. You were all talking nicely and listening. And it helped make the meal really pleasant.”

If a child is disrespectful, when they’ve had a chance to calm down, go to them and talk about how it’s affected, everyone.
Ask them what they can do to make it up to the person they offended.
Ask them what they’ll do differently next time.
And when the matter’s been dealt with, don’t mention it again. It’s all over.

So, 3 tips to help stop rudeness at home are

  1. Decide on the rules with the family.
  2. Decide the rewards and consequences.
  3. And be consistent about sticking to the rule and make sure that when someone is rude they do something nice for the person they were rude to.

If you need more than three tips on this – or you’d like to discover the secrets you need to have happy well-behaved, children – please contact me. You can arrange a free 20-minute (no obligation) chat to find out if working with me personally (by phone, Skype or face-to-face) would help you and your family. Contact Elizabeth

child behavioural expert
The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

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