In the past few months, some attitude has arrived in my home that is very unwelcomed!
So I’ve thought about what I’m doing right – my 7 year old daughter is well fed, well clothed, hugged and kissed, has a good stable family unit, routine, house rules and boundaries are in place, she gets rewarded and praised for good behavior, I always have a listening ear, she understands she needs to help out to get her pocket-money and gets plenty of toys and sweets!
I have been racking my brains thing where I have gone wrong, where the attitude she has picked up comes from and how she has been taught this stinking attitude; this includes being cheeky, back-chatting, storming about & sometimes even disrespect and lack of gratitude.
I started paying attention to our habits and routines and noticed a lot of the shows my daughter watches. Particularly the shows on Disney Channel including; ‘Jessie’ ‘Hannah Montana’ ‘Good Luck Charlie’ ‘Suite life of Jack & Cody’
For those of you who have limited to no knowledge of these shows, they are filled with the most self-absorbed teenage characters ever who are constantly dealing with dramas and relationship problems…issues inappropriate for children of their age. They are built on smug overacting characters and a constant stream of witty, sarcastic one liners.
Most of the characters on these shows get anything and everything they want, have no respect for their siblings or parents, use and disrespect their friends, constantly cheat and scam others, and are (most of the time, if not always) very shallow.
Thus came the first decision to solve my dilemma;
Disney Channel is Banned from our home!
I sat my daughter down to explain why she couldn’t watch the channel anymore. She wasn’t happy about it, but I explained the behaviors in these programme’s aren’t real and aren’t the way she is supposed to act.
I explained the affect it has on her life if she mirrors the behaviors and attitudes of these characters, for example: If she back-chats or disrespects me with a witty comment- my feelings get hurt – She gets into trouble- she gets punished and loses privileges.
So because we want to have a happy house, we need to learn to not copy these type of behaviors whether they are on the TV or at school etc.
Another issue I feel I needed to address is negative attitude:
“. . . nobody likes me . . . nothing good ever happens to me . . . it will never work.”
Parents should encourage & provide good, strong examples of self-confidence:
Believe in yourself and what you can accomplish.
Compliment yourself and others.
Don’t be afraid to make a mistake — point to it as a natural learning experience.
When you feel angry or sad, don’t keep those feelings very long.
I went through each of the above with her and gave her examples of being positive and the affect positivity has on your life.
I decided an activity would be the best way to address some of these issues, as talking to much often results in going in one ear, out of the other.
I gave her a piece of paper and a pen and asked her the following questions, one at a time.
- Write down the name of someone you think typically has a good attitude. Why do they or what about them makes you think that?
- Write down the name of someone you think typically has a bad attitude. How do you know they have a bad attitude?
- When you think of the person with a bad attitude, what things (or who) does that person usually blame as the reason they are in a bad mood?
- Do you have to have a bad attitude if things aren’t going your way or do you think it’s possible to have a good attitude even when bad stuff is happening? Tell me why.
- Are there things in your life you’d like to change to help you have a more positive attitude?
- If negative stuff is happening to you, are there things you can do to keep positive & happy? Name a few of them.
Whilst answering these questions, it makes a child look at how they react to things, can make a big difference in her attitude and the way she feels.
I then gave her another piece of paper asked her to write these columns:
School, Family, Home, Myself
I then asked her to think about any problems she is having in any of these areas. Once she has an idea, she should list it in the correct column (For example, “My sister keeps teasing me.” or “I hate doing maths” or “I don’t like getting my hair done”)
Once she has the problems that affect her attitude listed, we went through each one individually and asked her:
- How do I feel about this?
- Is there a way I can solve this problem?
- Have I been blaming other people for this problem?
- What will happen in the short-term if I don’t solve this problem? What about the long-term?
- What little things can I do to work toward solving this problem?
- How do I have to change my attitude to solve the problem?
- What will happen once this problem is resolved?
We used coloured paper & bright pens to make this exercise more fun and after, we took some time to reflect on these issues.
I gave my daughter lots of praise for co-operating and making an effort to change the attitude that keeps getting her into trouble and preventing her from a positive happy life.
Now, I know It’s not always easy to see the positive things in life, especially for kids, but having a positive attitude and outlook on life makes solving life’s problems much easier. Teaching her how to turn a negative attitude around will hopefully help teach her some important coping skills she’ll need in her life….and will hopefully bring some peace to our home!