5 minor behavioural problems parents should never ignore

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Find out which little misconducts parents can't afford to overlook, and how to correct them with the help of experts!

Parents have a lot on their plates, and sometimes that can lead to them making some important oversights. Obviously, mums and dads aren’t expected (and probably shouldn’t) micromanage every little thing their children do, but there a quite a number of little conduct mannerisms that should never go unnoticed when rearing a child.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at 6 of these minor problems that parents can’t afford to ignore, and how to address them properly: 

1. Showing some attitude

When children show their parents a little bit of sass, they’re displaying a small lack of authority towards you and possibly other authority figures. You may think your child mimicking you, rolling their eyes, or snapping back at you is simply a phase, but if you don’t address it as soon as possible, this attitude could soon develop into a long-standing trait. 

Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of Don’t Give Me That Attitude!: 24 Rude, Selfish, Insensitive Things Kids Do and How to Stop Them, says, “Some parents ignore it because they think it’s a passing phase, but if you don’t confront it, you may find yourself with a disrespectful third-grader who has a hard time making and keeping friends and getting along with teachers and other adults.”

A great way to counteract this behaviour and nip it in the bud is to deny your children a reaction from such behaviour. If they, for example, mimic you when you tell them to do something, you can walk away. Or, you can tell them something along the lines of, “I can’t hear you when you talk that way. Why don’t you say something more constructive if you want a response.”

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2. Interrupting you when you’re talking

Even if your child is just ignoring you because they’re excited to tell you something, parents should ignore it when they’re children interrupt them. By allowing your child to develop the habit of interrupting you, you’re nurturing a habit that teaches them it’s okay to be inconsiderate of others. Psychologist Jerry Wyckoff, Ph.D., coauthor of

Psychologist Jerry Wyckoff, Ph.D., coauthor of Getting Your Child From No to Yes, says “As a result, [your child will] think that she’s entitled to other people’s attention and won’t be able to tolerate frustration.”

If you find your child interrupting you at any point and time, be sure to let them know that they must wait their turn to speak. Tell them that you weren’t done speaking and that it’s rude to not let you (or anyone) finish their thought before they butt in. Be sure to let them know that interrupting you won’t get them anywhere and that you won’t accept such behaviour.

3. Horseplay

Children are bound to play boisterously or get a little out of hand from time to time. However, there is still a limit with how rough parents should let them play. Furthermore, if their children are playing too roughly, they should step in and not ignore such behaviour. It can lead to bad habits, and to aggressive behaviour. "If you don't intervene, rough behaviour can become an entrenched habit by age 8. Plus, it sends a message that hurting people is acceptable," says Dr. Borba.

"If you don't intervene, rough behaviour can become an entrenched habit by age 8. Plus, it sends a message that hurting people is acceptable," says Dr. Borba.

Whenever you see your children displaying aggressive, rough behaviour, you should aim to confront them immediately. Teach them the importance of "The Golden Rule" (i.e. treat others the way you'd want to be treated). Also, make sure they know that playing roughly isn;t acceptable and it can lead to them hurting others.

Teach them the importance of "The Golden Rule" (i.e. treat others the way you'd want to be treated). Also, make sure they know that playing roughly isn;t acceptable and it can lead to them hurting others.

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4. Pretending not to hear you

If you find yourself repeating yourself as a result of your child pretending he/she can't hear you, don't let them get away with ignoring you. In the long run, what you're supporting is the idea that it's okay to disregard your commands or wishes.

"Tuning you out is a power play, and if you allow the behaviour to continue, your child is likely to become defiant and controlling," psychologist Kevin Leman, Ph.D., author of First-Time Mum: Getting Off on the Right Foot -- From Birth to First Grade. "Reminding your child again and again just trains her to wait for the next reminder rather than to pay attention to you the first time you tell her something."

If your child is ignoring you as you give them a command from one room over, try walking over and directly confronting them. Also, demand eye contact when you're talking to them in order to ensure that what you say is being heard and understood. If they still refuse to listen, offer a consequence for their misconduct.

5. Exaggerating the truth

Children exaggerating the truth happens more than you may know. For example, if you tell your kid to make their bed and they say they did, when it's quite evident that they put minimal effort into the given chore then they've exaggerated the truth.

Such a minor misbehaviour is disrespectful to parents, and it can even foster further dishonesty, like lying to peers. They may have already begun to exaggerate or lie to his friends if you've yet to fix this bad behaviour."Lying can become automatic if your child learns that it's an easy way to make himself look better, to avoid doing something that he doesn't want to do, or to prevent getting into trouble for something he's already done,"

"Lying can become automatic if your child learns that it's an easy way to make himself look better, to avoid doing something that he doesn't want to do, or to prevent getting into trouble for something he's already done," Dr. Wyckoff claims.

To fix this behaviour, try to set the record with your kids whenever applicable. Sit them down, and tell them that you know the truth and that they should just outright admit the truth as well. Be sure to teach lessons like "The Boy Who Cried Wolf", in order to let them know that if they develop a tendency to lie, people won't believe what they have to say. From this point on, if you're able to call their bluff, make sure they admit the truth and rectify the situation.

From this point on, if you're able to call their bluff, make sure they admit the truth and rectify the situation.

This article was based on a post published by Parents Magazine.