/ / Dealing With Bad Attitudes In Children

Dealing With Bad Attitudes In Children

Teaching our kids and training them are not the same things. When we see bad attitudes in children, here's how to train them to have good discipline. #WomenLivingWell #parenting #momhacks

In the past year, some attitudes have arrived in our home that are very unwelcomed!

So I’ve thought about what I’m doing right – the children are well fed, well clothed, hugged and kissed, their parents have a strong marriage and we never miss a Sunday of church.  We read the Bible regularly and they are homeschooled.  They get plenty of toys and candy lol! and we always have a listening ear. Hmph!  What’s the deal???

There is one specific area I feel like I’m failing in – training.

My strength as a mom is in the teaching area.  I am always teaching my children God’s truth – we read and memorize God’s word together regularly.  When they are in time-out we go over scripture.  They are fully taught and know exactly what is expected of them.

My weakness is in the area of training.  Teaching and training cannot be used interchangably.

Teaching is giving my children the information they need to succeed. 

But training is giving my children the discipline to carry out what they have been taught.

I’ve identified a few behaviors that are habits in our children’s lives.  Essentially they are sinful strongholds.  My children have become slaves to their habits and they will not be broken through my teaching but through my training.

Romans 7:18b-25 tells us about this struggle with strongholds that we ALL face:

For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So here is how we are currently working on poor attitudes in our home.

1.  When a child rolls their eyes, yells, or scowls – I say “repeat yourself without.. the eyes rolling, loud voice or scowl.”

2.  If the words they said were inappropriate – I ask them to “say it again but this time with respect“.

3.  When a child slams a door, I ask them to open the door and try again – this time closing it gentler.  If it takes us 10 times to get that door closed correctly – then that is what we have to do.

Sometimes tempers flare in our home – let me be honest – disrespect makes me angry.  The anger I feel is not wrong – it’s a red flag notifying me that my children are off course…but if I respond with anger –  I won’t be much of an example to my children.

My children will only be as disciplined with their emotions as I am with mine.

So I want to humbly share my journey with you. Training takes time – lots of time.  But Titus 2 calls me to be a manager of my home. I need to step it up, and get on my knees in prayer – because this battle will not be won in my own strength. I need Jesus’ help in my home.

**For those who journey ahead of me with older children (or beside me and are experiencing this) – I am all ears.  How do you handle bad attitudes or “back talk”?

Walk with the King,



  1. I have 6 and 5 yr olds and then 2 and 1….we are really struggling with the respect and bad attitudes with the older two. Thank you for your post. I will be anxiously awaiting any other tips your readers may have. Thanks again.

    1. But I’m a grandparent and every time I try to teach them to respect grandma their mother contradicts me. I have them all summer and school evenings till 6:00. I’m loosing my mind. I don’t have support here. Is there any hope for trainng them in God’s ways to respect me and their single mom. Their Dad keeps them from church on his weekend. And I don’t want to be the bad guy here. I need help. Any info. Is appreciated and prayer. Thanks.

  2. Excellent. We do the same thing. When they do or say something in an inappropriate manner it is immediately corrected. “Let’s try that again” or “How do you ask?” are common phrases in those situations. Yes it takes supernatural patience at times. ;o)

  3. Great post, Courtney! Convicting about being able to control our emotions, so our kids learn to control theirs. I love that you clarified the difference b/t teaching and training. So good to think about how we handle these things BEFORE they occur. I truly loved the “Don’t Make Me Count to Three” book by Ginger Plowman. It was such a good breakdown on the motivations behind our kids’ behaviours, and she gave Biblical applications for each one. I suppose that was teaching for us moms! But we learn as we go, and God can give us wisdom if we ask Him!

    1. I am reading “Don’t Make Me Count to Three” right now as well and it is definitely heaven sent for me. I grew up with parents who yelled and spanked in anger so disciplining from a biblical approach is new to me and will take God retraining me so that I don’t repeat history with my own children. The author uses God’s wisdom from scripture and then adds examples from her life to demonstrate how to apply God’s teachings on the subject of disciplining children. I highly recommend this book!

      1. I am DEFINITELY going to check this book out – I grew up much the same as you may have and I see myself in those same situations and I really hate it…….. I am so blessed to share with other christian women and can’t wait to see the Lord work in each of our lives!!!!

  4. Is there any books are parenting that you recommend? My three year old has been very disobedient lately, throwing fits on the floor at stores, not listening, and arguing with me. I am one exhausted mommy! It seems like we spend so much time battling, we lose out on fun activities.

    1. Shepherding a child’s heart by Ted Tripod was also life changing. So glad to find this support. I am also struggling with my five year old with conditions of the heart. I have been teaching with much exhaust I must confess but I have forhotten that training is a process. God bless you ladies.

    2. I know what you mean! I have a 5 year old that repeatedly, deliberately does things she knows she shouldn’t do, a 3 year old that is the king of arguments and one o the best sweet talkers I’ve seen. Both very good manipulaters. And it seems they know when I’m busy with my 4 month old and they take advantage of it. One thing I can say from experience is that consistency is very important! And if you say something stick with it! I get SO tired of ring repetitive. Tha is one of my weaknesses. But it is so important. I think the thing that is most difficult for me, next to being consistent, is dropping what I’m working on and taking care of the issue at hand right then. I tend to give warnings (not a good hint) and put it off till I’m done with what I was doing. And that just doesn’t work because half the time I forget about it:-(
      Anyway, this is a very good article. I wish I had someone to help keep me accountable. To keep checking up on me and help keep me going with it. So I dont keep getting overwhelmed and give up..

    3. I’m exactly the same with my three years old boy and 22 months girls today was justo battles I’m 28 weeks pregnant with no energy. I just ordered the book Courtney has been a blessing to my life and all of you girls help me to cope with my every day. Some days is so hard that I just want to work in an office but then I remember God has a plan for me growing up this piglets.

    4. One that I just dusted off the shelf again is Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel. She has some great tips and tricks. I used it with my now 21 year old and now again with my 6 year old.

  5. I am right there some days with a 15 year old. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great kid. I am truly blessed. But sometimes….!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He has asked me to buy him a punching bag so he can take out any anger/frustration on that so it won’t come out in other ways. I’m actually considering it. I don’t have this problem with him during football season because he has that outlet. So maybe a punching bag in the off season is the answer … ? 🙂

    1. I think the punching bag might just be a good answer. He’s asked for a way to express his frustrations. If he cannot get the words out it just adds to his anger. The trampoline works wonders also. Crabby boys can’t stay crabby when they’re bouncing around having fun.

      1. A punching bag is a great idea! I have an almost 13 year old daughter who absolutely loves to go out and let her frustrations out on her dad’s punching bag in the garage. It really helps to release negative feelings in a productive way. Besides it’s a great workout also.

  6. I’m a widow with 6 children, 4 teenage girls, 2 adolescent boys. Respect for each other is essential in our household, but we are sinful, selfish creatures and the “tone” is a measuring stick to where their heart is. I keep my tone in check as well, modeling the behavior I’m looking for in them. How else do they learn?

  7. My little one has a sinful stronghold as well that I have been working on. I have to repeat the same thing a dozen times and stay with her until she completes the task. I have started requesting once and walking away and going about my business. I send her directly to time out if she has not followed through after a few minutes or so. This has worked wonders the last week or so but she is testing me again and find myself getting upset because she won’t self manage. I never thought about the difference between teaching and training or the fact that I need Jesus to help me with it. Now I know that my anger at her behavior is red flag, I need to pray about it and with Jesus train her. I will be much calmer now that I I realize where my anger comes from in the first place and what I have been missing in my parenting kit, training and Jesus 🙂

    Thanks & God Bless
    Michelle (Growing Mama)

    1. My six year old daughter is going through the same thing! I have to tell her 15 times to pick her toys up. I am going to start trying saying it once and walking away and if she doesn’t obey them time out.
      My daughter went through a period when she whined over every little thing so me and my husband decided that every time she whined she went straight to time out and that helped. She rarely whines anymore and mostly it is when she is really tired.
      Thank you Courtney for writing this! It helps me realize that I am not the only one struggling in the child training area!

      1. I don’t have kids yet – maybe next year! 🙂 – but I’ve worked with kids since I was 14, from 3 months to high school… I’m always looking for good ideas on training/teaching for my own.
        I wonder if you ask your little girl to put the toys away, you do your walk away thing and then when you come back if they’re not put away they go in a bag/bin and she has to do extra chores to earn them back. Or if you want to go further, if they don’t earn them back by a certain day they are thrown away… might be a bit too harsh for a 6 year old though lol… saw that idea on pinterest. Might get her to value her toys more.
        I had nephews over and they didn’t pick up the toys so the next time they were over they were not allowed to play with that bin. I explained their consequences for them. This time they picked up all of the toys they played with!

        1. Hi, I have children who are well into adult life and one who is approaching the mark of being a “21” year old! I’m working on my soon to be 21 year old and seeing the areas of which I should have done things so differently as had I done with my boys.

          Responding to placing toys in a bag to earn back…or possibly having to throw them out–well, first you really have to have a mind made up and a stick to it mind on that (you may be the one to change your mind); however an even better suggestion.
          Instead of making it an option to toss out–make it a plan to give the toys away to children less fortunate and “actually” do it! This will help them learn the meaning of “giving” as well. You live and learn and many tears come when you see where you could have done things differently–but you move on and forward in life and trust that God will catch you up in the areas of where you “were” lacking. Just a thought 🙂

  8. I do a lot of the same things you do. The one thing that works really well for me is seperation. I tell my children that being with another person is a privilege and if you abuse that privilege by speaking unkindly or having a bad attitude, you simply will have to remove yourself from the situation until your heart changes. I have 4 children. Girls ages 8 and 7 and boys ages 4 and 20 months. The three oldest are social, so this has worked so well with them.

    My kids are walking through a rough valley right now, so I created a resource that has been very helpful…even with the more simple attitude issues. You can find it here: http://www.notconsumed.com/2012/02/23/big-feelings-resource/

  9. I have to agree that it is in the training that we can get to their hearts. It is so easy to lose your temper. My husband used an analogy for me in regards to getting upset when the kids don’t do what I expect out of them. He said when you go speeding down the road and a policeman pulls you over, does he lose his cool and get all over you about your speeding? No, he is calm and issues you a citation (a punishment/discipline). That has helped me look at things differently. The book “Don’t Make Me Count To Ten” by Cynthia Plowman is a good resource.

    1. What a wonderful analogy…I hope to remember this and train myself to not get angry when someone has offended but rather calmly issue a “citation” or punishment. Thanks!

  10. Oh, and we also make them repeat behavior in the correct way. If they stomp down the hall – we have them “practice” walking down the hall correctly a few times. Or if they slam the door – they “practice” opening and shutting the door several times. If they talk to someone wrong – I ask them “how could you have said that nicer”. Sometimes, it takes a couple of times for them to “figure” out the correct way. But it does help – by the time they are done “practicing” they usually have a smile on their face and they know they were wrong in how they handled the situation.

  11. Thanks for this post Courtney…
    I often analyze what I might be doing wrong when I am on the receiving end of disrespectful behavior from one of my girls. It could make a Mom like myself feel really guilty and depressed if I were to think my child’s behavior was always caused by something I wasn’t or was doing in their lives. I agree that no matter how amazing our mommy skills are or how much love and time and energy we devote to our children, it doesn’t guarantee that they will always be angels. I like how your post reminds me to turn the ownership of that behavior onto the child instead of myself. Instead of just telling them what they are doing wrong, it shows them how to change and do it right. When my girl’s behavior starts to irritate or disappoint me I will remember this post!



  12. So this past year, I just started time outs after stopping them at 4 or 5 years old because he was GREAT and I thought all was well! Then, something hit at 9 and he started with a real negative tone with me (not Dad, ever….just Mom!) and when I asked him to do something he would blurt the following phrase, “I know, I know…with rolling eyes or a terrible tone…” Nothing seemed to get to him (before the time outs): repeating, questions, asking him to do it again, nothing… This was because his attitude was STILL there following his comments. I was at wits end and asked my husband what to do. He said “give hime a timeout again.” So I did. In our house with our little ones who may act up, we make our kids sit down right where the offense occured, fold hands and legs, face the wall for (1 minute per year old…stopping at 4 or 5). With my 9 year old I modified that to about 2 or 3 minute timeout because he is mortified he is in timeout. I then ask hime to think about what he might have done wrong. (Make HIM tell me what he did wrong, not ME telling him.) This gives him time to think, and me time to cool it with any tone I may have that is not of the utmost kindness and respect for him. Then I ask him after about 2 or 3 minutes sitting facing the wall to repeat what he said to me, and then try it again in a respectful way. So the long and short of it, this approach has really helped and I’m happy to say nipped the “smart alec” in the bud! Now after 6 months or so it has gotten so much better it has been about 6 weeks or so since the last “time out” for him and he’s approaching his 10th birthday. It may not work for everyone, but it has worked for us.

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this! I have an 8 year old boy who is showing attitude through body language (stance, eye rolling, etc.) and when he gets mad he stomps off and slams his bedroom door. Love the ideas to make himcome back and redo it properly, but I am most interested in the timeout process again. We did that when he was much younger, until Kindergarten, so maybe it is time to start that again! We have explained that these behaviors are not acceptable for his age, so maybe having the consequence for the age that he is acting, would help us train him to do what’s appropriate and expected of him. Now, if only I can figure out what to do to get him to focus and pay attention at school! 🙂

  13. I’m a single mom with 2 girls. 8 and 4. I started sending them to their room with the disrescpet or naughtiness begins. I tell them to go there and think about why they are in trouble and I’ll be up in a few minutes. It gives me time to calm down, so I don’t react in anger or frustration. And it gives them time to think about how they could have done it instead, and sweat a little about the chat they’re about to have. I give them just a few minutes, then when I get in there, I ask them to tell me why they think they’re in there. I want to hear that they know what they did that was wrong. Then I ask, What should you have done? It really works, even with my 4 year old. They both have really started turning the little “tudes” around, and even appologize on their own. It’s really working for me.

    1. My mum started making us sit in the hallway or the toilet room because if we were sent to our rooms we would read a book, which we wanted to do.

  14. This is so hard.
    Requires a huge-but-worth-it investment of time and heart and energy and emotion.
    My husband is much better about the “training” part than I am…
    And I think one big plus about the way that he does it…
    Is that it’s often outside of an actual conflict.
    He creates scenarios for the training part.
    And does the training when emotions and tempers are not already at great heights.
    It’s something I’m working on as well.
    Appreciate your willingness to share the struggles…

  15. Thank you for this Courtney. I hope it’s not to late to try it on my 11 year old son. 😉 It’s never too late right!? My husband and I didn’t want to take the very hard nosed strict approach our parents did on us but I fear we went too far away from it. I’m going to do my best to put into practice what I’ve read here, by you and others. Thank you.

  16. You are doing the right thing, Courtney. (NOT that I am older, but I do have older kids. lol) SO, child training is like working on an assembly line. You usually end up doing the same thing over and over again. 🙂 And if you realize that you are called to assembly line mothering…then it is not quite as frustrating when you are correcting for the same thing over and over again.
    I tend to fix things one at a time, so that I don’t overwhelm my kiddos. So, if I am working on laziness with a child, then I tend to give the hard consequences for that one area until we have had some success with that and then we move on. Know what I mean?
    Also, I take into consideration the flow of life at that moment in time. (not that disrespect is ever okay, but I do tend to think about context.) Have we been running like crazy lately? Is there a hardship in the family? Have I contributed to their disorganization somehow? Are they feeling neglected somehow? Is the atmosphere of home right now more about “rules” and less about “relationship”??
    Pray for wisdom.

  17. My word, disciplining my emotions in order for my children to discipline theirs, my word, that spoke straight to me!! My oldest is 4, and she has picked up some very unwanted attitudes at school this year. I honestly was not ready for them. I am with you, I teach, but fail at training! Thanks for the encouragement and pointers!

  18. I really love “Hints on Child Training” by H. Clay Trumbull. Excellent expression of what child training is and a real eye opener of what children are capable of through loving training. The piece on the will of a child and why training is superior to breaking the will was a life changer. Just has really changed how I think and react to disciplinary and training situations, definitely calmer and more Christ-centered approach.

  19. 100% recommend shepherding a child’s heart by paul tripp. And angry kids by debbie pryde. Worth your time! Both of these books move beyond behavior modification (what we wan!t to see) into genuine heart change, where lasting change takes place… On the heart level. oh, and the heart of anger by lou priolo is excellent as well… !

  20. We too have behaviours that are not welcome in our home. Some we have been struggling with for some time. My children ALWAYS know that they should check their behaviour, tone, face, etc. when they hear the words, “Excuse Me?” come from my mouth.

    We too are teaching our children the proper way to respond, behave, react, control themselves . . . many times we are both exasperated as the kids just don’t seem to get it. One of our children continues to take things without asking, take things that do not belong to him, lie and have a bad attitude, he will be nine in two months. Punishments are consistant as is teaching and instruction.

    Parenting is hard and basically impossible without God’s tender Love and Mercy.

  21. I’m a first time to one very stubborn lil 2yr old boy he is already displaying anger and temper issues very defiant refuses to listen time out and swatting him only seem to make it worse I’m lost and nt sure what to do do my get me wrong he can b a lil sweetie pie and can put a smile on face always I would laid dwn my life for my baby boy just frustrated my his behavior and don’t want to turn into some thg worse when he is older it’s comforting to see that other are also struggling and sometimes feel like maybe their bad mom but the devil is a lair god has called us into motherhood know how many kids we have And there gender of each child it’s no mistake Ur a mom or u have _ number of kids or the boys girls or some each it’s a journey that will find us on our knees most days Crying out and lending on god to build us up w wisdom patience understanding and faith it’s a privilege honor and blessing to be called mama ( sorry ladies nt sure where that come from got lil preacher there )

  22. Sometimes it’s encouraging to hear that I’m not the only one struggling in a certain area! It seems bad attitudes (sarcasm) has been the biggest problem in our household lately. Like you say…feels like we’re doing everything right…why can’t the kids appreciate their wonderful life! 🙂

    I too, demand they repeat what they said in a “sweeter” tone. I just had a heart to heart talk with my daughter (age 10) today. She was disappointed with herself for not being able to “do the good she wants to do”. I told her that even adults have to work on our attitudes every day! We have to make a choice to have a good attitude. It doesn’t come naturally. My job as her mother is to help her be more like Jesus every day. We can all work together, encouraging one another!

    I do agree though. Teaching can be the “easy” part. Following through with the consistency of “training” is the tough part.
    Thanks for the post!

  23. I am a Mother of 2 adults and am a GAMMY of 3 with one on the way. First let me say that I did not ue spanking as discipline! I know it is a controversal issue, but it was my personal choice in order to stop a child abuse cycle. I am in no way a perfect parent with all the answers, far from it. I am however, blessed that I raised 2 amazing, well behaved and successful children. I can only pray that I passed on child rearing/discipline that they use with their children.

    I am listing my top 5 suggestions that I believe are important or helpful. Not neccessarily the most important, but helpful.

    1. Spend quality time with your children every day! Listening is so important. Encourage your children to express themselves and not to hold in emotions. Letting children know they have a voice and opinion and more importantly…that it matters to you.

    2. REMEMBER that children learn the majority of their behavior & reactions as well as their beliefs from YOU! The parents…Ouch! But so true. They see, hear, repeat and retain every thing you say and do! Please watch your temperment, attitude and how you respond to them as well as others. Children are simply mini me’s! Bottom line, check yourselves.

    3. Set rules and consequences from beginning! Stick to them. Consistency, consistency, consistency! It may wear you out at first, but the reward will be well worth it! Don’t give up no matter how frustrated you get! If you do, you lose authority! It won’t be easy when they are young I know. The crying alone will rip your heart into! But they are okay and not traumatized. Maybe you are, but you’ll be ok. Pick a specific place for your young children and a room (NOT THEIR BEDROOMS) for the older children. Depending on age you will either sit them there just as nanny says and/or have them write paper on what happened and what they could do different. Again, biggest thing here is to follow through and be consistent! If you end up giving in because you don’t feel you have time to follow thru with it, then you’ll never get them to to follow rules! Your children will only be as disciplined as you are!

    4. Make sure your children, particularly younger ones, are not bored! Its ok if your house isn’t perfectly cleaned or laundry isn’t washed every day! Your children need you more! Make up a specific schedule and follow it religiously! If children know what comes next it will help keep them in line. Boredom creates mischevious behavior! You can get your chores done while they are napping. Involve them with chores also! They love knowing they helped! Of couse that doesn’t work for older children, you simply must give them daily duties. Make adolescents accountable and responsible by having household duties/chores. If they are not done, then they lose that days reward! You get it!

    5. DO NOT GIVE YOUR CHILDREN EVERYTHING THEY WANT! God teaches us not to desire all wordly goods and he doesn’t want us giving our chikldren everything they ask for either! Make them earn things! Teens also, don’t need or deserve brand new expensive cars completely paid for, credit cards with no limits that they do not pay for and expensive name brand purses! What is that teaching them already?

    Work together as a team, making everyone just as important as the other. You will start seeing a difference almost immediantly! Lastly, pray! A family that prays together, stays together! It may seem small but its so important.

    1. What an awesome response and you are right on! Way to go for being a wonderful, loving and respectful mom and grandma!!!

  24. Sounds familiar! We all face similar challenges in our homes…and often think it is only our family…this is all part of parenting. But yes, we often let ourselves down by our bad reaction. With God’s Grace we can think before We speak or act…..i think you are doing exactly the right thing in the way you are handling the situation. Please pray for my 2 boys life is a challenge here with bad attitudes…
    Thank you Courney for being honest it really blesses peoples lives.

  25. You are so right – training and teaching are very different. I am no expert, and I don’t claim any credit for the kids we have, but our three teenagers (15, 17, 18) never, ever roll their eyes or such like. I honestly believe that having a ZERO tolerance to any of that kind of behaviour is essential. I see parents all the time who seem to accept the ‘rolling eyes’ or ‘stomping off’ as simply a part of their kids growing up. NO WAY! It is *not* acceptable. Ever. I never, ever rolled my eyes to *my* parents. My kids will not dare roll their eyes at me!
    Our older kids, as well as our 8yr old are so much fun. We laugh to much together and have great times. I really wish all parents could have the same. So – stamp on any attitude problems the FIRST time they are seen. Never *ever* accept them, and you will have years of reward when they are older.
    PS…. we are *not* perfect! My kids aren’t, and I most certainly am not. I sincerely hope that doesn’t come across in this comment…. I’d be mortified! But…. it’s true that we do have a great time together – our homeschooling days always seem to have times of hilarious laughter together, and I truly believe this laughter is a gift from God which wouldn’t be possible if we had ‘issues’ with behaviour.
    God bless x

    1. Well said, Homeschool on the Croft! I have a now married 24 year old, an in college 19 year old, and 11 year old twins still at home. We have always made it very clear that certain behaviors were completely unacceptable. I don’t think it’s because I’m a perfect mom or a fantastic parent; we’ve just been clear and persistent. No attitude. And the funny thing is that I hear parents of my kids’ friends say that they deal with attitude in their home, but their children don’t come over to our house with it. I think there’s something about just stating things clearly and then having a lot of fun without all that drama. Everybody knows the score. But I will add this: be very careful of the company that your children keep. Proverbs 13:20 is SO relevant, “Walk with wise men, and thou shalt be wise; but the companion of fools shall smart for it.” I don’t hesitate to point out and help my children avoid overexposure to unwise companions. For some reason, some parents permit this behavior in their homes, and it’s a disease that spreads like wildfire. It’s much easier to limit interaction with this sort of behavior as a homeschooler, but it’s still there. Be aware and on guard.

  26. I am somewhat stuck in a rut with my 2nd daughter. She’s going to be 10 this Thursday and has always been a challenge, but lately, WOW!!!! I am somewhat at a loss. She doesn’t want to do her schoolwork, won’t do chores, has an excuse to not do everything I tell her to do, is mouthy, hateful, and mean towards me and her sisters, etc. Basically when she’s in ‘a mood’ she goes out of her way to make our lives miserable. I tried making her write sentences (Bible verses), which worked well for a while, but that has even become a struggle.

    Alot of the comments before mine state that ‘whatever the offense’ cannot be tolerated….sassy mouth, rolling eyes, etc…..my question is what do you DO to make it not tolerable? What is your actual discipline? A lady I HIGHLY respect (and so do my children) told me to spank her. Nothing else was working. I told her ( my daughter) that she’d get one chance to obey then she would have to write sentences. If it took her all day and they and/or her schoolwork isn’t done by the time her dad gets home, he would spank her. (She fights me and it turns into WWE). This has helped somewhat, but if this happened everytime she was disrespectful, she’d be getting spanked continually…….

    I know I’ve left out a lot of details, I’d be typing forever…..just know that I feel that we’ve tried everything. She (my daughter) is a Christian, but readily says that she doesn’t care about ‘any of that’…..that is the hardest thing to hear. I know she’s just trying to upset me, but Satan has a hold of her heart and it’s ROUGH!!!! Any suggestions for EXACTLY what to do would be welcomed!!!! I know what needs to be fixed…it’s the actual fixing it that we apparently can’t figure out. Maybe at this point it’s just a matter of ‘staying the course and not giving up’ and letting God convict her. Just so hard as a parent…….thoughts?

    (Sorry, Courtney, didn’t meant to take over your post 🙂

    1. Nicole, I am NO expert whatsoever, but one thing that came to mind when I read your comment was Matthew 17:21, which says “This kind does not come out but by prayer and fasting.” Please know I ONLY mean this in reference to behaviors/attitudes! 🙂 Some things can only be changed by God, not by our best efforts. I often ask God, “What am I supposed to do now? Help me!” And He will give me ideas and wisdom that I never could have come up with on my own. You can also ask Him what’s causing these behaviors in your daughter, and He will often reveal the source and show you what to do about it.

      I have an 11 year old daughter, and we have often dealt with anger/attitude/disrespect issues with her. One thing that a very wise parent asked me when we were in the midst of one of these times was, “Are you spending one-on-one time with her?” It was AMAZING what a difference it made in her attitude when her dad and I (separately) began taking her on dates – to spend time doing what she liked and listening to her heart.

      I also highly recommend Kevin Lehman’s books (which others have mentioned here) as well as Parenting with Love and Logic. The tips in this one book have turned my daughter around in amazing time! 🙂 As far as school work – when she went through the phase of fighting with us about doing her homework, I let the school’s consequences take care of it. She ended up in ISS for not turning in work, and that cured it!

      I hear your frustration, and I’ve been there. Praying for you now that God will give you wisdom, ideas that work, and fill you with peace.

      1. Thanks for the input! We did try the ‘one on one’ as she is the 2nd and we thought maybe attention starved…but that didn’t work 🙁

        Also, we home school, so her not doing her schoolwork is my problem…..ughhhh.

        I am totally onboard with the asking God to show me, it just seems like I fail miserably at that….not meaning to, but I’m in the moment begging and thinking, “Ugh….why didn’t I pray about this before it started”. Maybe her issues are God trying to make me turn to him for help BEFORE I need it….hmmmmmmm

      2. I too struggle with my 8 year old, as other Mothers have shared. I appreciate the positive and supportive comments here, but I have to say I disagree with the idea that as parents we should let the schools discipline our children because we don’t want to deal with it. I find that when I have an attitude like that it is really showing a lack of my accepting my role as a mother and trainer, and my child feels every bit of my annoyance–and takes it as rejection. Of course this is my personal experience, but maybe your child feels similar to mine, even if you don’t feel as I do.

        We have found when we let our 8 year old “plan” his schedule he sticks to it. Not all things can be this way, but some can. For example, he has to clean his room and put away laundry and practice piano, and he can choose in which order to do things. He uses a small kitchen timer and each chore is to be done in a certain time value. If this is done, then he can plan his play time. If not, he looses play time.

      3. One on one really does work, my neice does it with her step children, what a wonderful difference. Wish I did that with my three children who are now adults.

  27. I completely agree with you about Training vs. Teaching. We are called to do both with our children. Training is not always fun or easy. Just as training is not always pleasurable or desirable in the sports world- but the end result is fantastic. You don’t become the best basketball player by knowing the game- you become the best by hard work and training. I have two young children (1 and 2) So, I have not yet experienced what you are going through. I am just so thankful that the Lord has led me to resources about training our children. Your post is something that all of us should remember- Training vs. Teaching. Thanks for sharing your struggles. Having a community of moms striving to do God’s will is refreshing and encouraging. I read the book- Don’t make me count to three by Ginger Plowman. I really enjoyed her perspective on training. I have not had the chance to read Clay Clarksons- Heartfelt Discipline but I am very much looking forward to it being in reprint this Spring. My husband read Michael Pearls- Strong in Spirit and he really enjoyed that book. He also enjoyed Michael Pearls- To train up a child. I have not read either one of those- So I can’t give my personal opinion on them.

  28. Honestly, we have been on both sides. Yelling and spanking were my first choices when parenting my son. But I’ve found love and understanding and communication work so much better. Things started changing when after one of our go arounds my son looked up at me and said “mom, why are you always mad at me…you don’t like me” That just broke my heart! So we sat down and talked it out and made a pact that we would begin to try and respect each other, talk in a kind voice with no more yelling and that yes…I LOVED him more than words could say….but when he was disrespectful and did not listen I didn’t necessarily “like” him…there was a difference. I can honestly say that over the past three years now I have barely had to raise my voice….just a few reminders that we like a kinder, happier home and what it takes to keep it that way 🙂 And for the lady above with the homework and other trouble….sometimes us just being present while it’s going on is enough to get them through. Sometimes I find sitting at the table with my son or even just being in the same room with him, taking time out of my busy schedule to show them we can relate to the time and effort it takes for them to accomplish their goals is all it takes. I guess it all comes down to “figuring out” your child and what speaks to them. Lots of prayers to you for finding your answers!

  29. I have a child that reacts when angry instead of thinking first – oh wait, that’s me. LOL I love what you said about “My children will only be as disciplined with their emotions as I am with mine.” I have 2 three year olds and they are definitely coming into their own attitudes. Well behaved most of the time, but those moments of attitude get under my skin. I definitely need to watch myself so they do not pick up on my bad habits. Thank you for this great reminder. I’m printing it out and putting in my Bible so I see it everyday.

  30. I so needed this after my morning with my 5 year old….crabby, crabby start! UGH! Thank you for allowing God to speak through you to me!

  31. I am really disappointed to hear some of the comments here. It seems that many people have not been instructed on biblical discipline. “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but whoever loves him is dilligent enough to discipline him.” Proverbs 13:24 “Folly is bound up in the heart of the child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him” Proverbs 22:15. Spanking, when done properly is NOT abuse. It is a tool for biblicical training and discipline. it’s so sad to hear mothers of 2 and 3 year olds just frustrated to no end with what to do with their kids. The bible verses I wrote are the words of God, not my own. For those who think that time-outs are useful, in the long run, as the children get older, how far will that get you? If they have been taught from an early age that there are swift and serious consequences for sin, they will remember and respect you. After a while, just being made to sit still or repeat an act several times (shutting a door or walking down a hall) will be a game – get through it and it’s all over. For those who think spanking is abuse – read one of the suggested books that others have mentioned by Ginger Plowman or Paul Tripp and learn more – and of course keep in the Word. We have become a society of lenient parents and out of control children who have limited or no boundaries. As Christians, we need to be set apart from that. There are MANY young adults leaving the church after they reach a certain age – we are becoming too lukewarm. I really don’t mean to offend, and I am not saying that if you do time outs that you are a bad parent or that you have bad kids. I just feel strongly about those who claim to be Christians really holding true to His word and taking a stand against what the world says and does when necessary. P.S My husband was physically and emotionally abused as a child, and he is a wonderful and loving dad. We use biblical discipline and there is no evidence of an abuse cycle or the “sins of the fathers” carrying on through him.. God blesses for a thousand generations those who love and keep his commandments.

    1. I AGREE wholeheartedly Elle! God’s word should be SUPREME & all will fall into place. I absolutely HATE spanking my kids, but we see results. It breaks my heart to need to do it, but it breaks God’s heart as well when we are not obedient to His commands. Utilizing scripture also convicts them deep down inside. Scripture memorization has been a HUGE benefit as well. Saying “if we do not discipline & train you in the way you should go, then WE are being disobedient parents.”…has taken the pressure off us. It has come to a point now that my youngest (7 yrs old) says “mom, we know you love us…because you discipline us.”. Parenting is definitely the HARDEST lesson I’ve had to learn.

    2. I have to agree with you. I see all the problems in kids today and I think it is due to a lack of discipline in the home. If my sister and I were out of line, we got a whopping. We are both normal, well-adjusted and educated adults. People think spanking will scar their kids for life. What will do that is sweet talking everything, babying, and giving kids everything they want. The world is not a nice place and kids will have to grow up to be adults who can deal with the challenges of working and living in a world with difficult people.

  32. For anyone doing the Good Morning Girls Ephesians Bible study, I highly recommend the John MacArthur resources that Angela sent out! They are so good and encouraging and instructive and convicting. Also, another great resource for teaching children using God’s Word are these lessons already prepared from Focus on the Family – Kids of Integrity. Here’s the link: http://kidsofintegrity.com/ – click on the Lessons tab at the top and you’ll see on the left hand side different character traits you can teach with your children. These have been so helpful to me in homeschooling and character training and everything is planned and FREE!

    I also agree that consistency is key and managing our own emotions is critical. Though sometimes the greatest thing we can do is to ask our children to forgive us for our own sinful behaviors and show our need for Christ. We do have authority in our home given by God and we should let our children know that it is a GOOD thing for them to have a mommy and daddy to lead them and teach them and train them. And of course in our own lives showing that we submit and obey God will show our children that God is our loving Father who is worthy of our obedience!! 🙂

  33. Thanks for your post. I look forward to reading about your journey. I have a 7 & 11 year old and have been dealing with disrespect by them TOWARDS each other. I’ve really been seeking wisdom on how to deal with this issue. Plus, I tend to respond very emotionally and need to work on that myself. Parenting is definitely a journey – but one that is worth taking!!

  34. I needed this, thanks! So many times I hear disrespectful words from my children and I can literally feel my blood pressure rising. My responses are not always the right ones. Thank you for being willing to share your struggles and the encouragement you give.
    There is a book I just read called “You Can’t Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded)” by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias that is really helpful. Great strategies for dealing with strong willed children.

  35. Wow if you aren’t speaking straight to me! I have been struggling with this in our home as well for the past few months and basically have come to the same conclusion. Training is so much harder, takes so much more out of us but is NECESSARY for our children to grow into people who glorify God with their lives! Thank you for this word!

  36. I couldn’t agree more with the importance of training. The Bible says to train up a child, not just reach them. Teaching is only one element of training. It’s most difficult to train while we are in the midst of it, but we must not lose sight of the end result. Now I just need to repeat this to myself 20 more times today when I start to lose my mind. 🙂

  37. I can’t thank you enough for posting this! I have been struggling with this myself and have been at a loss as to what to do. Thank you for sharing your self and your struggles and helping those of us that are wondering how to handle this from a biblical perspective.

  38. This has been a big issue here…both our attitudes and emotions have been out of control and I’m so convicted because I’m training her not to do it but i still am. We definately have the stomping and sassiness problem here and its so frustrating somedays but you have encouraged me today.

  39. Reliance on God, His love and grace have been the best for me so far. I have four children, age range from eight to 27, and feel very blessed, even in the area of training, which I am not good at by the way.
    I can’t have a bunch of spoken rules in my home, as I wouldn’t be able to stick to them myself, and would likely just end up being a line for my kids to cross over. I thought of a few things I have done in the past to help my kids in this area, but it has been different for each child-so yes, going to God often is so important. Even when I have gotten to a place where I didn’t know what to do, or just didn’t see it as a problem, God would often take care of it. He never leaves us alone in this. In the same way, its important that our children never feel like they are left alone. I’ve noticed that my kids attitudes can change overnight when I am too busy, or not available for them when they need the attention. When children know they are loved, they want to please….. On a slightly different note, when kids are young they are testing, so I think that your advice is good and I have used those methods in the past myself with good results. Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us!

  40. I don’t have children yet, but this article is also a good reminder for ourselves too. We cannot be an example for others or live as Christ intended when we have strongholds of our own to deal with. The verse listed in the article is definitely a good reminder to tend to our hearts before a stronghold takes hold of us. Thanks for the reminder Courtney!!!

  41. You have no idea how much this article meant to not just myself but my husband as well I had him read it last night before bed! We have been doing many of the same things as yourself and suddenly our five your old developed attitude that is just insane since we homeschool and she has no outside influences besides family and ones we chaperone for her we felt we were failing and we were at a complete loss. It is so good to know a mother and father as wise and wonderful as the two of you struggle with this as well it lets me know I am not a complete failure but just facing the trails that come as well with ages . Thank you for restoring some of our confidence in our skills !

  42. Thank you so much for sharing this – just what I needed to hear. I tend to be a yeller when I want my kids to change their behavior and I don’t that ignoring bad behavior is good either. This will give me another tool to use. Thanks again!!

  43. I am a mother of 3 (ages 8, 5, and 9 months) and this is something I deal with on a weekly basis. More with my oldest then my middle child. I have been trying many different things to help curb this “mouthing off” behavior and this is what I have found works. My son is a very visual being. If he can’t see something, you can forget about it sticking. So this is what I did. My son gets an allowance every week for doing various things around the house and we sit down and do a “budget” with him on paper. When I pay him at the end of the week I make sure to use dollars and quarters. The quarters are then used as an “attitude payment” that comes out of his “play money” category in his budget. Every time he is being disrespectful or just plain nasty he has to pay me or his dad a quarter and then subtract that from his budget. We have been doing this for 2 weeks and last night my son looked at me and said “mom I’ve lost $2.00 because of my attitude. I don’t like that, so I’m going to work harder this week”. I was glad to see he was finally “getting it”. Another thing we do for temper tantrums is we make them go outside. Unless its frigidly cold, they go outside on the front porch until they calm down. It’s no fun to scream and cry when no one can watch you. This has worked really well. When I feel they are getting out of control I tell them once, like a warning, and if they continue it’s out the door they go. Tantrums have almost completely gone away!! I should add that once they come back in the house we then calmly sit with them and talk about the tantrum and better ways to deal with their feelings. Hope this helps! So far, this is what is working in our house! 🙂

  44. Wonderful post today Courtney! It goes so well with the Ephesians study from Good Morning Girls. I teach my 3 year old the rules and my 1 year old is learning the rules but I need to definitely work on the training aspect of things – thanks so much for bringing that to my attention! I pray often for you, your family and your ministry.

  45. Excellent post, and I agree with your points, but I also agree with the comment about spanking. The world has turned spanking into abuse when, in reality, it is not if done properly. We have found that it usually doesn’t take more than once. The only other suggestion I might add is to talk about it. My husband and I talk about attitudes A LOT with our children, and we comment on the attitudes of characters in books and DVDs as well. Our children know that the “bad” character has the bad attitude. (Of course, be careful in your DVD selection — even the “good” characters have bad attitudes now in some videos.) Thanks, Courtney, for starting the discussion. I’ve spent more time than I thought I would reading your blog, but it is time well spent!

  46. Courtney, I don’t usually take the time to comment but this topic is one I am passionate about. I have 12 children. 12. I didn’t know about child-training with the older children. I’m here to tell ya that child training makes all the difference in the world. I had one that WAS taught, knew God’s word front to back but lacked the tools to discipline herself and quickly became rebellious. Learning the importance of training and acquiring tools to equip ourselves as parents, we’ve had other children “cut from the same cloth” but because they were trained from early on, are content, self-disciplined (usually) but still have their strong spirits, just under control. We don’t claim to have it all “figured out” as each child is different and have toddlers through young adults is still a strange season for us, but I am grateful for folks like you who are not afraid to say TRAIN YOUR CHILDREN! Our culture doesn’t feel warm and fuzzy about that but those same people who don’t feel warm and fuzzy about child training are the ones with the annoying, whiny kids at the grocery store. Nuff said. God bless!

  47. Almost forgot! Resources we have used: Home-Built Discipline by Dr. Raymond & Dorothy Moore, To Train up a Child and other materials by Micheal & Debi Pearl, Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp, the If-Then Chart & Blessings Chart by Doorposts, The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo (for those trouble areas), the book of Proverbs.

  48. Thank you for sharing this Courtney! It’s so HARD to be a parent, isn’t it!? Praise the Lord for His wisdom and strength through the journey. Have you ever read “Grace Based Parenting” by Tim Kimmel? It has been both a challenge and an encouragement to me. You have been a sweet encouragement to me through your blog. Thank you for your ministry Courtney! May the Lord bless you with grace today.

  49. I am going through the same thing in my home. I’m reading “The five Love Languages of Children”, “Grace Based Parenting”, one that I forget.. it’s about raising boys to be boys and I just read, “How to talk so your kids will listen.” In that particular one it says to basically make the punishment fit the wrong doing. Have it be connected. If you are calling them for dinner and they don’t come because they are watching tv or playing video games then you take away one of those things for a couple days. That gets tricky though because a lot of times my son will come into the kitchen and just flat out say no. So I’m trying to figure out how to deal with his defiance. He’s 7 btw. I really like all the books I’m reading because it does put a lot of the responsibility on my own shoulders and gives me ways to change how I do things. They help me to relax and know not everything done “wrong” is something to get mad about. I also listen to podcasts with Gary Chapman and those help put things in perspective.. it helps me identify what my son is lacking and why he could be acting out, talking back, etc. It’s so nice to not be alone in this;).
    Great post, Thanks Courtney for sharing!

  50. I had a bad attitude as a child (many, many years ago). I wasn’t willing to hear that then, of course. I’ve often wondered how my parents could have helped me develop a better attitude, and this post was instructive. Thank you.

  51. Thank you so much for a wonderful post! I’m a mother of two young ones (2.5 and 4 months) and didn’t even realize that there was a difference between training and teaching!! This post was such a light-bulb moment for me! And your quote about children only being as disciplined and I am – very convicting. Thank you for your ministry, God really used this post to both encourage and convict me!

  52. This month’s Family Fun magazine has a great article about helping a child adjust their attitude. When a calm time was going on, the mother told a story of a driver and his choices of a bumpy road or a smooth road and how much more fun he had on a smooth road. Whenever her child became to have a break down, she would remind him of the story and how he can choose to have a smooth or bumpy road for the day. Over time, the child was able to really think about his emotions and start to control them. If you come across the magazine, I hope you get chance to read it.

  53. Dear Courtney,
    I never comment on these posts, but I am feeling that as an ‘older woman’ I am called to give wisdom and advice as God has given me over the years. I am married for 34 years this week and have raised three children. I did not do things perfectly either, but have learned much over the years. We raised our children just as you mentioned…”The children are well fed, well clothed, hugged and kissed, their parents have a strong marriage and we never miss a Sunday of church. We read the Bible regularly and they are homeschooled.”…and two of our children are following the Lord faithfully and He is using them to further his kingdom. One child went through a very rebellious stage and is now married with two children, but not attending church. However he is a very loving husband and father (and son) and speaks about the Lord frequently…still praying for this one!

    Anyway, my initial thoughts are as follows:

    Your comment…
    “My children have become slaves to their habits and they will not be broken through my teaching but through my training.” is enlightening.
    Yes, there are strongholds in everyone’s life…but they can ONLY be broken by the power of the spirit within a believer. When our children are unregenerate they have NO power to break them. And certainly…they will never be broken by US as mothers. My recommendation is to pray that God first of all, opens their eyes to who Jesus Christ is and they become regenerate Christians who then possess the spirit within, who can break the power of sin! If they are believers we continue to Pray, Pray, Pray for the spirit to convict and strengthen them. Yes, it is your responsibility as a mother to help them ‘peer’ into their own hearts as you study and teach the word with them…but it is ONLY God who can change the heart. I also would recommend “Shepherding a Child’s Heart”. It helps you to direct your child back to what is really in their heart when you see sinful behaviors.

    Your comment…
    “My children will only be as disciplined with their emotions as I am with mine.” is also insightful.
    Yes, children DO learn behaviors from us…a very keen insight! But be careful not to put so much pressure on yourself that you then blame yourself when your children make mistakes. They are responsible for their own actions and should not be allowed to ‘blame shift’ their actions on others. We need to let our children see that we also are sinful and when we DO sin we are forgiven because of what Christ did on the cross and, if needed, we ask forgiveness from them. This way they see that our dependence as mothers is on the Lord…as theirs should be.

    Finally, I agree with some of the above posts regarding parenting today. Discipline seems to be lacking. Spanking is a very needful thing, and should be administered properly…not in anger and always after the first evidence of disobedience. This may seem inconvenient…but my motto has always been “Parenting ISN”T convenient” We need to remember WE are the parents. We should state the expected behavior with a very calm, firm voice and expect that it will be followed….the first time….no counting to three….no waiting….just obedience as a matter of fact. There were many times when I felt that all I did was spank (one particular child)…but I spoke to myself saying…if I let him ‘win’ this one time the next time will be even harder. I also would recommend reading “Withhold Not Correction” . Young parents I meet feel this is too harsh, but we had a very loving home and none of my children (now grown and children of their own) would have every said our home was harsh. We never raised our voice, yelled, hit, etc. It was very loving and we had lots of fun times together…partly because the children were fun to be around…loving, respectful, etc. Disrespect, disobedience, just wasn’t allowed. It was taken care of as a matter of fact…as soon as it surfaced……immediately.

    All this to say, you are certainly to be commended for being a very conscientious mother. Thank you for provoking other young mothers in their very sobering task as mothers!

  54. Just had to come back today. Like the above comment mentioned we “older” women should help the younger women, Well, I have been married almost 20 years and I have 6 children – 14 years old down to 14 months old. Does this qualify me as “older”? 🙂 Anyway, I am still discouraged by some of the comments. If you have a 2 or 3 year old that is “out of hand” or a 7 year old that tells you “no” flat out and you are not promptly using proper biblical discipline – there is your problem. Yes we have to check our own hearts and we are sinners – but so are our children! They are sinners just like us, and they are in our care by the blessing of the Lord. They are His and he calls us to care for them discipline them according to his word. We can’t not discipline them just because we feel guilty about our own sin. No matter what – we are called to obey God. That is how children learn that there are no excuses. God is in control, but we have our responsibilities as parents. Children are instructed in the Bible to obey – more than once and it is stated plainly. “Feel good’ parenting will only get you so far and just scratches the surface. Biblical parenting will help you get to your child’s heart, which is where sin starts. We can’t fall in to the weakness around us like the world has. Don’t fail your children. Chastise them as God commands (yes – COMMANDS). I say again – spanking is not hitting or abuse and it should not include anger or yelling. Done properly and in love – it’s effective, and again – straight from the word of God. Don’t make excuses for yourself or your children – we are raising the next generation of believers in a fallen world – be strong and dilligent all in the beautiful name of Jesus!

    1. Ellen, it depends how you define spanking? With a hand? A paddle or belt? Bare skin? Is it biblical to inflict pain?

  55. I love this post as I think we all have times when attitudes need to be checked. I have a 10 and 5 year old and we have tried a few different things depending on the incident. But I do recommend Kevin Lehman’s books – love them. But some of the theings that we have tried are 1. Quietly whispering in the child’s ear “self-check” this doesn’t embarrass them if you are out in public, but does make them aware. 2. I have had my boys practice closing the door when they have slammed it, they must close it properly 10times before they can continue with what they are doing. 3. I sat my youngest on the back porch and then closed the door and went inside when he was in the middle of a tantrum (I live in a rural area – no one was going to kidnap him:) and told him when he was done he could come back and apologize and maybe he would be allowed in. 3. We do offer “redos” – the kids can ask for a redo if they realize that they have a bad attitude and need to try again.
    One thing I learned from Kevin Lehman’s books is that my kids shouldn’t have control over my attitude and therefore their poor attitudes shouldn’t be tolerated in my house. If they want to have a “stinky” attitude then outside because I don’t want stinky things in my house.
    We have watch the movie “Facing the Giants” with our boys. This has a great scene about attitudes and are we working for the Lord whole heartly. My husband will go up to the boys and pretend to sniff them (just like in the movie) and then go “Wow your attitude stinks!!!” Sometimes depending how bad the attitude is we will have them do the bear crawl around the house (similar to the death crawl challenge in the movie) it’s hard to laugh and be mad at the same time! Maybe these will help, but continue to press on and if you find something that works for one it might not work for the other.;)

  56. What a great discussion going on here!!! Check out “How to Break 10 Common Childhood Myths” at Amazon for ideas on setting boundaries and light-hearted, but effective, consequences.

  57. I am new on this site and just would like to thank all of you woman in advance for all your helpful posts. I have an uncontrolled, at times, 7 year old son. I need all the help I can get…So, THANKS SO MUCH!!!

  58. I have to disagree with your approach- here’s why. First, you mention certain “attitudes” are “unwelcomed” in your home. Attitudes are merely an expression of emotional turmoil. As adults, we have had many years to master the art of coping with big, sometimes scary emotions. Kids are still learning (and I can tell from the rest of your piece that you understand this). However- the message you send when you say attitudes are unwelcome is that some emotions are not acceptable. But you can’t exactly banish frustration and feelings of disconnect from the hearts of your children- not should the goal be to squelch them out. Being human, I am absolutely positive that your own negative emotions express themselves from time to time- how would you appreciate your husband saying “I don’t like how you said that. Try it again without the tone”. Not much, is my guess. Children are humans too, and need the same things we do as an adult- to feel as though we are accepted- bad days, attitudes, flaws and all. This doesn’t mean let them treat others with disrespect, but maybe a different approach would be healthier. Saying “I understand you’re frustrated, but the way you just said that is disrespectful and hurt my feelings. Can you take a deep breath and find a different way to express yourself?” It’s really saying the same thing you did- but it acknowledges their struggles, explains WHY you didn’t like what they said, and gave them the opportunity to calm down and try again- without the condescending, authoritarian tone. It may seem a trivial difference, but kids are incredibly perceptive and this simple difference can potentially make a huge difference down the road when they’re teenagers and less open to correction.

  59. Hi! I just saw this post and it really applies to my 6 and 5 year old. I see you wrote this back in 2012 so I was wondering if you have seen any progress in your training. I’m thinking of doing this very same thing but I was wondering if you feel the training you have done works. Could you do a follow up on this?

  60. You just gained a new follower! =)

    I pray with our kids that God would help ALL of us to have self control and not let our emotions always decide our actions. Just THIS MORNING I said to myself that I’ve totally dropped the ball on >training< the kids and that I cannot keep expecting behavior out of them that I do not show myself! Thank you for the timely words of encouragement!! <3

  61. I was having to deal with massive defiance and disrespect at home, I started implementing the “honor system” and some of the heat-based approaches from Turansky and Miller books, and I hardly believe I have the same child. I wrote a post about it on my blog that explains in more details this journey and the specific books I’ve read and things I’m doing for the training part. I added the link to my name here in case you are interested! Blessings to you!!!

  62. I know this is a really old post but it was something I needed to see. This has been an ongoing struggle in my home and an area where I am growing weak. I have six children and one more on the way, ages 8, 7, 6, 4, 2, and 1. The disrespect and ungrateful attitudes strike a nerve with me and I get very angry and I respond often times with anger. The day starts off with biblical training but ends up sometimes in a heap of ugly words, yelling and me crying. This was a great post, gave me encouragement. Thank you.

  63. Thanks for the advice and wonderful reminders! I believe in choosing your battles, but when it comes to disrespectful behavior we have to make a conscious effort to help children understand why their response to a situation is inappropriate. I know I have to remind myself constantly that my children are not little adults and they need training 🙂 We also use a consequence/reward jar which takes the emotion out of discipline. For more information check it out at http://abrowncaseofgrace.com/choose-a-jar/
    Grace be with you,

  64. We do what you wrote ( although, I will be implementing the slamming door issue as well). We did however just implement the “happy chair.” It is in a safe place away from TV and toys yet still in the main living area. My children ( almost 2 and almost 7) know when they have a bad attitude, they must sit there until they have a happy heart. This makes them decide how long they sit. They also must respond correctly once they’re out of the chair and apologize as well. Usually, this is only implemented after a couple tries of say it or do it correctly…. If that makes sense.

  65. I see the results of bad parenting everyday! I am a preschool teacher and I have students who walk all over their parents, are spoiled, and bully other kids. The parents expect ME to fix their kid! Fix your own kid, I didn’t make them like this, they did. Its a shame when young children have more respect for a teacher because they mean business and a parent who doesn’t know what they are doing. And, generally, the kids who are the most well-adjusted and polite have been in day care. In my experience, kids who have been at home are babied and have a hard time interacting with other children in healthy way. That is why I push preschool, even if you are a stay at home parent. Kids need exposure to other kids and adults who are not their family, and they have to learn how to stand up for themselves and deal with situations without mommy always being there to fix everything.

  66. An older post but a good read. My oldest is 7 and we’ve just recently been having a hard time with her attitude and respect issues… 🙁

    1. Yes Jenn I agree,

      Yes an older post but wow I have 7 pages of notes!! My one and only will turn 9 in Feb. this year…. and we started having issues with her really around the 1st grade when she was in the dual grade class 1st graders and 2nd graders….It worked out fine she really learned alot of good things that made it easier in second, however there was the I know everything attitute that started…and now in 3rd it is really here!!! So praying, praying for her and us to all do this together! We can all do this together. We love and put God 1st and we come next oru family!!!!!!!!!!

  67. We’ve just had a bunch of these attitudes show up over the last month!! Thank you for sharing this post again – much needed advice, and much appreciated.

  68. i believe in training children to use appropriate behavior but it is also important to get to the core of an issue. If a child slams the door and we make them open and close it until they het how to close it gently (now don’t get me wrong, been there!) we’re not getting to the issue at all. Why is the child angry? And how should/could we help her communicate about that in a respektfull manner? He or she slams the door to be heard, to be understod. Are we trying to understand? Trying to help them understand their emotions? Key questions should be: what happened? Why are you angry? Are u really angry or are you sad, disappointed etc. But expressing it through anger? Maybe you could have come to me and talked instead of trying to get my attention by slamming he door.
    Bottom line, we need to help them understand their emotions and listen to them. I doubt that any angry child that closes that door gently after the tenth try has learnt anything about their emotions, perhaps only guilt. They hardly built a more trusting relationship with the parent or to God. We need to meet them where they are – unable to handle or understand their emotions – and train them to feel confidant in communicating and in understanding their own response. Thank you Courtney, I truely appreciate you and your blog.

  69. I’m not a mom, or even married, but this is still incredibly good advice for me to tuck away for later. Never thought about how “teaching” and “training” are different aspects of parenting!

  70. A little help. My husband and my 12 year old daughter are my getting along. She has the typical 12 year old attitude and it is not jiving well with my husband. He is now threatening to leave if she can’t change. We also have a 5 year old and I don’t want her to love without her dad there. I know we are her parents and have to train her sometimes I feel like my husband just gets very angry and upset. He lets it get to him more than it should I feel like it should. What do I do!? Thank you for the post! Makes me feel like there is hope. Just need to trust in God. It’s just hard if I always have my husband telling me I’m not parenting right and threatening to leave. If I say something however he gets very offended. Thank you again

    1. Without much detail in your post, I still felt led to respond. It breaks my heart that your husband threatens to leave and puts the parenting blame on you. I am lifting your family up in prayers. I want to encourage you to stay focused on Jesus in His Word and continually praying for changed hearts for all in your family and know He entrusted you with your two beautiful children. We are all a work-in-progress continually being sanctified. None of us will get it totally right including your husband. Thank you Lord for your grace that is sufficient. Much love to your family.

  71. I am a grandmother currently with custody of my grandson. He is 14 Mos. and is already showing signs of extreme anger with regards to his parents. He throws extreme temper tantrums and is looking for negative attention. I am afraid I have no idea how to deal with these constant outbursts and always pushing to do things he knows is wrong.

  72. I have two sensitive sons, but they are sensitive in much different ways. My younger son is very extroverted, so people tend to miss his sensitivity, and then get frustrated when something happens and he doesn’t just go along with them. I have looked at both of these books before, but haven’t read either yet. I will read them now!

  73. I am a young mom (24) of two girls, age 4 & 2. I dedicated my life to Christ when I was in high school, but ended up falling out due to many reasons but none that are good enough to abandon my faith. I just recently rededicated my life, and am trying so very hard to be betters as a mom, and a wife. My oldest has a terrible attitude, and I know she learned it from me, and the hurt in my heart because it of is strong. Thank you for this article, and the scripture included. Because it has given me a lot.

  74. I just happened to pass by this website, and I don’t regret reading and being on this website. For sure God brought me here to learn what I need to learn. Though I’m not a mom, I’m just a teenage girl that’s why, your experiences and emotions helped me alot. Of course, expected times in terms of having kids of my own, I would definitely include those options you have. ???????? I don’t know you well, but continue in serving the Lord. You are a blessing????

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