Sometimes it is the little things that go under the radar that we should be really concerned about. We tend to deal with in your face arguments, temper tantrums, out and out lying, but attitude, now that is another thing. Attitudes are hard to define; they are hard to put a finger on. But if we don’t deal with the attitudes (what is in the heart) then we will only deal with external behaviours – and they will never change.

Defining Attitude

Do you have a child who

  • Makes decisions for themselves; “I’m just gonna do this”, or they delay obedience till they’ve finished what they are doing and they feel justified to do so. There is a place for working with your children and respecting what they are doing, but there also is a place for obedience.
  • Asks questions about your life; what you are doing, what you are talking about, who you are talking to? They don’t really need to know these details, they just like to know everything about everyone – it gives them control.
  • Bossy to their siblings; they take over your responsibility, on the surface it looks helpful but they are taking an authority that isn’t theirs.
  • Hangs around to listen to adult conversation; they just listen to collect information or they add little comments on the side.  Though I don’t believe in children being seen and not heard, there is a place for adults to have adult conversation.
  • Corrects you in your conversation; often in this situation the child is drawing attention to themselves, and elevating themselves to being a peer in the conversation.
When we deal with the attitude in the heart our children will change their behaviour.  It starts with seeing attitude for what it is.
This child has a wise in your own eyes attitude. My Grandad would have said they were too big for their britches!

The Bible says:

Be not wise in your own eyes;
reverently fear and worship the Lord
and turn [entirely] from evil
Proverbs 3:6

Dealing with Sneaky Attitudes

These behaviours are sneaky – we don’t always catch them, and we don’t always assess them as a problem**. But if we look at what is going on in the heart when these things take place we would be more alert.

  • I am the boss, I don’t need anyone else
  • I am as mature as you, I can therefore do the things you do
  • I am more mature than these other kids, I can tell them what to do
  • I am more able than anyone else here, I’ll take control
  • I am old enough to listen to this conversation,
  • I know more than these people

Ultimately there is an attitude where these children are elevating themselves to positions of authority and maturity, an elevation that they have yet to earn. How do we earn positions of authority and maturity?

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

What does it mean to fear the Lord? The second part of our proverb tells us; worship the Lord and turn [entirely] away from evil.

The reverent fear and worshipful awe of the Lord [includes] the hatred of evil,
pride, arrogance, the evil way, and perverted and twisted speech
Proverbs 8:13

This wise in your own eyes attitude drips of pride and arrogance, of self focus and self centered thinking (evil ways).  We need to teach our children to put others first: to show love, respect, consideration.

One of the phrases we used to say:  It isn’t about you.  This sounds harsh but we all need to learn this.  Life isn’t about us.  We aren’t the center of every activity or every conversation.  Our children need to learn this.

God tells us that our children have value as people – they aren’t to be shoofed to the side, but the Bible also tells us that there is to be order in how things are done, with respect for each other.

Help our Children Change their Attitude

Once we actually see the heart attitudes behind what our children are doing the next step becomes clearer.

Luke 6:45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.   What you say flows from what is in your heart. 

The Bible teaches us that what is in the heart comes out in our actions.  So we need to change our children’s heart – change their attitude and their behaviour will change too.

When my children started to be arrogant or show pride I would send them to their rooms to reflect on what was going on in their heart.  When we started this process they were quite young and I would go with them and talk them through thinking and reflecting on what they did and teaching them another way.  As they grew older they were able to understand their heart and remember a better way, and decide to change their attitude.  Often this would result in them apologising for their previous choices – and then they would go on and do better.  I always knew if they had truly dealt with their attitude by their actions after their time of reflection.

Remember, training our children to see issues in their heart is a process;  it is a process of teaching them what is good, true, honourable, and then teaching them to act accordingly.  We need to teach them to resist selfishness, and choose wisely.  We need to teach them how to be honest about what they’ve done, and what is in their heart.  When they get to this place we can expect them to reflect on their heart and be self-motivated to change – until then, we have to sit beside them and help them (sometimes teaching, sometimes questioning helping them own their heart).

Attitude is simply the beliefs we hold in our heart that comes out in our actions – we can choose to be respectful, loving, kind or we can choose to be self-focused, arrogant, demanding, bossy and nosey!

As parents we can teach these things to our kids.  It is too easy to tell them to ‘change your attitude, boy!’ and yet if we haven’t told them a) What an attitude is and b) How to change it we really aren’t helping them.

–0–

**It is always hard to write a clear list of ‘attitudes’ because in the right context these behaviours would be appropriate.  We want our children to make choices for themselves, we want them to join in adult conversation, we want them to take responsibility – so it is really up to parental discernment.  If your child has difficulty obeying you, or being respectful to you or other adults – then this ‘wise in your own eyes attitude is one to consider.

Do you need help in your Family?

Hi! I’m Belinda

About Me

Belinda and her husband, Peter, live in the far north-west of Australia on a small farm. They have four adult children whom they homeschooled from prep-year 12. Over this time Belinda has taught and supported women both face to face and online. Her heart is to encourage families to be intentional, relational and heart focused in all areas of family living. She continues to do this in her new season of life – as her kids leave home one by one leaving her with more time.

Certified Life Coach

Over to you:

Any tips on dealing with attitude?  How do you recognise it?  How do you help your kids recognise it?  

2 Comments

  1. Amu

    This pinpoints our families biggest down fall, I believe.

    Reply
  2. Paula

    OUr family would do well to work on this. I have a boy of 9 who is the reason I clicked on this article. His attitude to anything that He is not keenly interested in is a challenge to me/us. But I had not considered my 11 yr old daughter as having an attitude that need addressing. She is constantly listening to my conversations, wanting to know who’s on the phone, and, to my great frustration, grabbing my phone when it pings with a message/text. I get that she is growing up and maturing into a woman. Thankyou for your insightful article.

    Reply

Let me know your thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Further Reading:

My Go-to Consequence:  My go-to consequence is a timeout where children can consider their heart and prepare to go back and do the right thing.
Obedience:  Will I or Won’t I?  Obedience comes when our child makes a choice – when we give an instruction we need to give them time to make that choice.
Asking Questions Helps your Child Learn:  Asking questions when you talk to your kids helps them think for themselves which leads to deeper learning. Learn how and why asking questions works whether you are teaching heart stuff or knowledge.
Significant Ways your Children can Show Respect to People:  Respect is the basic virtue that drives so many choices – both attitudes and actions. Here is a list of the many ways respect is played out in life.
Parenting well with positive discipline that reaches the heart is hard when kids have bad attitudes.  It starts with seeing attitude for what it is and having some positive solutions or tips to help you help them. #parentingtips #heartfocusparenting #positiveparenting #kidswithattitude #discipline
How to see attitude for what it is
Individual Education Planning Worksheets - brainstorming every area of your child's life.

Get your Planning Worksheets

I will email you the download link so you can start looking at all the different spheres of your child's life before you make any curriculum choices. 

The download link is on it's way.

An Alternative to Chocolate

An Alternative to Chocolate

Not that I have anything against chocolate - but these jelly beans can help your kids share the message of Jesus, his love, death and resurrection at Easter time.  

The download link is on it's way.

Parent Guide: How to make your Family Bible Study Really Work

Family Bible Study is Tricky with all the Different Ages

 

But there is a way to make this a rich learning and bonding family time.  This Guide includes tips, planning worksheet, and discussion prompts.  

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download yourCharacter Certificates

Though true character is driven by internal motivation, our children will appreciate when we see that they are growing in character.

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download your Character Certificates

Though true character is driven by internal motivation, our children will appreciate when we see that they are growing in character.

The download link is on it's way.

Download your Cheat Sheet

 

A quick reference to help you discern between a heart attitude and a lack of skill for when your child loses it!

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on its way.

Three things for parents to pray for in the Moment.

Make God your First Response

Print out this parenting reminder to call out to God in the middle of the moment.

I'm excited to share this download with you. Watch your inbox.

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Download Grow in Character Worksheets

You will receive an email shortly with the details. Watch your inbox.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Download Parenting Poster

Download Parenting Poster

Learn to respond to your child in a way that changes their heart.

 

I will email you the download link.

The download link is on it's way.

Download Parenting Poster

Download Parenting Poster

 

Learn to respond to your child in a way that changes their heart.

 

I will email you the download link.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Our children hear different words when we react to when we respond. Do your children hear blah blah blah when you correct them? Includes a parenting poster.

Download Parenting Poster

 

When we Respond instead of React we find a way to deal with the heart not just behaviour.

 

I will email you the download link.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Download Character Lesson Guide

You will receive an email shortly with the details. Watch your inbox.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

When family relationships get tense - look for the niggles.

Heart Focused Parenting Resource for the Intentional Parent

 

Your download will arrive in your inbox shortly. 

Print it out and use to teach the hearts of your kids.

Thank you for being here - your download link will arrive shortly.

Hearts: Heart focus homeschool

Email Course

Daily emails  (6 days) to help you walk towards being a heart focused homeschool family!

You have joined the email course. Watch your email inbox!

Find ways to Re-engage your Student

Download this checklist and stir your child's curiosity

Watch your Inbox - the Checklist is on it's way!

Stay Heart Focused

 

When you parent the heart, the tone of your family will change. 


Weekly Heart Boost emails with practical and encouraging ideas to be heart focused in all areas of family life.

Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your family journey. I'll be in touch.

FREE Parenting Worksheet

This worksheet will help you move from addressing behaviour to really parenting the heart, one issue at a time.

 

 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Parenting Support Library

Join now for extra and regular heart focus family living support.
Weekly emails and bonus content straight to your email inbox.

 

 

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Become a Better Parent

Personal growth starts with an honest assessment

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Give Effective Consequences

Think before you React

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

 

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

One Another Verses

Be Intentional in the Teen Years

Use this Cheat Sheet to remind you of how you can love your teen.

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Devotion Response Kit cover

Download your Devotion Response Kit

5 prompts to encourage the heart of your child as they learn to respond to God's Word

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Prepare a Heart focused Christmas

 

Free email course

Thanks for being here! The download link is on it's way.

Download your copy

Download your copy

Blending Life and Lessons - and start your journey of changing your thinking about education.

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Download: One Another Verses pdf

Download: One Another Verses pdf

Download this list of One Another verses and teach your children how to love others.

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Raising Kids with Character

ATTEND LIVE : FREE PARENTING WORKSHOP

A bonus for Heart Booster readers:  Learn how to teach character to your kids so that they can live their lives making values-based choices.

 

Live Session:  5th May 2021, 6.30pm AWST

Replay available until 16th May 2021

 

I'm so excited about this workshop - thanks for joining me!

Raising Kids with Character

REPLAY OPTION : FREE PARENTING WORKSHOP

A bonus for Heart Booster readers:  Learn how to teach character to your kids so that they can live their lives making values-based choices.

 

Replay available from 6th May until 16th May 2021

 

I'm so excited about this workshop - thanks for joining me!

Raising Kids with Character

WAITLIST

 

The Raising Kids with Character parenting workshop will be offered again this year - details yet to be confirmed.  Join the waitlist so you don't miss out. 

I will keep in you in the loop as soon as decisions have been made!

Join Heart Boost and gain access to de•vot•ed free for 1 month

 

Connecting everyday living with the Word of God

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

Bonus Reading list

 

Sharing my Homeschool Belief File

Knowing what you believe and why about education and homeschooling helps you make good decisions.

Thanks for being here! Your download link is on it's way.

%d bloggers like this: