Have you noticed that this kind of behavior seems more and more prevalent and showing up at earlier and earlier ages? “It’s clearly happening with younger kids,” says Michele Borba, author of Don’t Give Me That Attitude! “I’m constantly in the schools as an educational consultant, and teachers, who have the upper hand on seeing the new trends with kids, can tell you that it’s escalating. We’re not talking about just being impolite, but swearing and flippant behavior. It’s like pollution; it didn’t happen overnight.”
I won’t spend too much time arguing about where this behavior comes from: media, friends, and even family members! Disrespectful behavior is a “trend” on most popular sitcoms where back-talk is viewed as humorous while disrespect for authority is comical. I also know I have been guilty of a sarcastic remark that I heard “replayed” out of my child’s mouth later on.
I know that you may be surprised at your child’s behavior and may even be tempted to think that she didn’t get that from you. We are indeed our children’s first teachers and we definitely have a part on this wave of disrespectful behavior. It’s crucial that we behave in the way we expect kids to behave! No more, do as I say not as I do!
Since we have no real control over what other people say or do, it’s important to consider this task one better addressed at home. It’s imperative that we model respectful behavior to our kids and remember that they are always watching how we deal with the lady at the grocery store, the clue-less driver on the freeway or the annoying telemarketer on the phone. Are we using sarcasm as a means of communication or humor?
What goes around comes around. What are getting back? Your words, attitudes and actions are like boomerangs: they will come back out of your kids’ mouths!