As parents, we always try to explain why we are upset with our kids to them. We want them to know if they are behaving in a way they shouldn’t behave or if they didn’t do something they should have done or something in between. However, there are times that no matter how plainly I feel like I’m explaining why I disapprove of Ella’s actions (or inactions) that it doesn’t seem like she “gets it.”
Recently when she was throwing a fit about something (I don’t even remember what), I asked her, “Are you having a good attitude or a bad attitude?” I could see the light bulb go off in her head. She got it. She understood that she was having a bad attitude about the situation and that wasn’t acceptable. I asked her if she should have a good attitude or a bad attitude and she immediately responded with, “good attitude.” Throughout the rest of that day, I reinforced the good attitude vs. bad attitude concept. When she was acting contently and behaving appropriately, I’d remind her she was having a good attitude. I’d also remind her if the opposite was true.
Since that day the good attitude vs. bad attitude concept has really worked well in getting through to her when her attitude is off whether it is when it is time for us to leave a place she doesn’t want to leave or if she doesn’t get to do something right away. It doesn’t always ward off a bad attitude, but she is immediately able to recognize the way she is acting is wrong, and that she needs to fix it. I’m thankful that I’ve figured out a way to communicate with her in these tough situations when she isn’t always apt to listening like she should because her emotions are running high.