Combating Rudeness

Why did I research this?

Rudeness sux and there is only so much repeating and tolerating one can do. A few months back, my three year old was yelling out “NO! I’m not picking it up” and “I don’t even care what you say” a little too often. I felt like we were ticking some of the boxes to prevent the rude comments but it wasn’t near enough for my liking.

What did I find out?

According to Super Nanny (2014), there are a few reasons as to why children become rude and disrespectful.

  1. Frustration about limitations.
  2. Mimicking the behaviour of others.
  3. Realising that shock and shouting gets attention.
  4. Feeling unheard or treated unfairly.

The most effective way, besides setting limits and acknowledging how speaking rudely can be hurtful, is to model respect and to let your children see you be considerate and polite towards others.

This can be done by, paying close attention to your tone of voice, words and body language, with everyone you come in contact with, including your children. How best can you model a respectful attitude each day? When you are on the phone to your friend/s, when you are talking to family about others and when you are talking to people in the general public as you do your errands.

Setting limits on rudeness is important too.  Your defusing response when this happens can be:

“Is that the kindest thing you can say?”

“Is that the most considerate way to talk?”

“Is that the character you want to be?”

“It feels hurtful when you are rude. If you keep being hurtful to… we will have to leave…” or

“You are showing me that you are not able to be respectful right now so you will need to move to another room while we read this story” or “Ask me in a polite voice please.”

How is this useful?

  • It feels good when rudeness is reduced. When my husband started to say things like “Would you mind if we did the bath first tonight?” and “Actually, I prefer to cook it this why.” I felt really satisfied, not only for myself, but for my children as they listened to their Dad being respectful. A few weeks back my three year old said “Excuse Mum, would you mind if I came into your bed for a hug tonight?” Although I said no, I acknowledged his considerate way of asking and offered an alternative.
  • Modelling rudeness and disrespect is helpful to families as they watch and learn how to get along with each other.
  • Acknowledging rudeness and setting limits on it can also teach children that words can be hurtful when not used considerately.

~ SM

Stop the backchat! (2014). Retrieved from