Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Talk about rude body language.

What you can do

Point out to your child how he’s showing his disrespect through his posture, eye contact and other body language. Talk about how these things can create friction with an authority figure. Practice together more appropriate ways to convey his displeasure.

What you can say

“Jacob, when you and I had our conversation yesterday about how you needed to do your chores, you didn’t say anything. But you gave off a negative and disrespectful attitude through your body language. You wouldn’t look me in the eye very much. And when you finally did make eye contact, you rolled your eyes and then looked away.”

“You had your body turned away from me for most of the time I was talking to you. You also started to walk away before I finished speaking. What message do you think you were giving me? If you’re unhappy about something, I know you can come up with an appropriate way to tell me.”

“For example, you could have looked me in the eye and said, ‘Mom, I know I’m behind on my chores. But you know how much I love basketball, and I got caught up watching the tournament. This is a special case, so would you consider cutting me a little slack this week? Can my chores wait until after this next game is over?’”

Why this will help

As kids get older, they need to be mindful of the nonverbal messages they’re giving off. Very often they are not aware of what their body language is saying.

That’s why it’s important for you to point out inappropriate body language when it happens. Always try to give your feedback in a positive manner so your child feels you’re trying to be helpful and not critical.

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