Make Sure You're Not Raising a Brat
Take our quiz
You're visiting your sister. When she tries to hug your toddler, he yells, "I don't like you! Stop it!" You:
A. Shrug and chalk it up to his being little and not understanding how to act.
B. Punish him with a time-out for talking like that.
C. Apologize to your sister, and then explain to your toddler how you want him to behave.
It's up to you to draw the boundaries of acceptable behavior. A little kid can't control his emotions all of the time, but he should know what you expect of him. If he acts disrespectfully to others, get down to his eye level and explain that, for example, "We don't talk to Aunt Kate like that. She's my sister, and I want you to talk nicely to her." It may also help to prep your child before he gets to a relative's house ¿ especially if you don't see her often. Tell him that she will probably want to cuddle with him.
Everyday life is filled with opportunities to show your child the effects of being civil. What's the underlying lesson? "Manners aren't just about saying the right words at the right time," says Cindy Post Senning, co-director of the Emily Post Institute and coauthor of The Gift of Good Manners. "They're about showing respect for others as well as yourself."