Overcoming Negative Attitudes

"I Can't or I Won't or PreTeen Attitude"Top of Page

"I Don't Care", "whatever", and "so"....

When those words come out of your child's mouth, what he is really saying is I don't think you do care or that you should care.  When this happens, it's easy to become very upset at the illogical thinking your child is engaging in.

However, it is extremely important to remain calm and remind yourself that you are the parent and more mature than the child standing before you.  Here are key points for you to stress:

You do care and it's your job to care:

Your children, although an immature yet independent person, are a part of our family unit and their choices and behaviors impact the rest of the family.  Sometimes, your children just want to hear I love you no matter what and get a big hug.  Kids have short attention spans and need to be reassured that they are loved unconditionally.  This helps children learn love for them unconditionally.  But as a family you also need to define, sometime literally and publically (like a chart or contract) what the family expectations are or code of conduct for your family. This would include morals, values, expectations and goals.

Push for the best:

Your children want to know you want the best for them and your family compact is a great start in defining what "the best" means in your family as defined by all family members.  They need to hear your beliefs and goals for them and how you will guide them to be successful adults.  This is where you encourage them to always push themselves to do their best and the pay off that will bring throughout their life.  This may be a good time for them to identify five concrete things that they are willing to commit to do to be their best.  Parents should commit to five things as well.  This is also good time to discuss personal responsibility and what it means.

Recognize independence:

Children will test your limits.  That is a normal stage in the developmental process. As students achieve new skills they look for new opportunities for independence.  They begin to spend less time with you and more time creating their own identity.  Recognize and celebrate that they are their own person and their budding interests.  Encourage their interests and modes of self expression.  Help them research ways to positively develop their own style and identity.

Expect respect:

As part of the family compact create a contract regarding behavior, responsibilities, appropriate ways to disagree, expectations and outcomes.  Be specific and detailed.  Also discuss rewards and consequences.  Be sure everyone helps create the contract.

Family Compact

       List here in detail the core values, expectations and long and short term goals that the family as a whole agrees to (expectations in code of conduct, achievement, aspirations, self expression, independence etc.)



As a child in this family I will:

List here in detail what; based on age appropriateness each child is willing to commit to as part of the family to help attain the family goals and aspirations.  What are their roles and responsibilities in the family?  Be sure they are clear, measurable and realistic.



As a parent (or adult) in this family I will:

List in detail what; each parent/adult is willing to commit to as part of the family to help attain the family goals and aspirations.  What are their roles and responsibilities in the family?  Be sure they are clear, measurable and realistic.  Please include the adult's responsibility in helping the child achieve their goals and aspirations in a clear, measurable and realistic way as well as their own aspirations.






 _______________________________________                                                                   ______________
Parent(s)/Guardian(s)                                                                                                                         Date

_________________________________________                                                                   ______________
Children                                                                                                                                               Date

Next Date for modification and review

Behavior Contract

       Children with parents identify rules, responsibilities, behaviors, chores expectations ect….  They write what they will do and what they won't do and what will happen if they do what they are suppose to do and, what will happen if they don't do what they are suppose to do.  All behaviors should be specific, detailed and measurable.  This should be a few target behaviors at a time so everyone can get acquainted with and remain consistent with the process.  When a violation occurs everyone remains calm and refers to the contract and it's agreed upon consequences and proceeds accordingly no lecture no yelling just repeating the contract if need be like a broken record until you reach compliance.

I will:



I won't:



If I do:




If I don't"



_________________________________________                                                                   ______________
Parent(s)/Guardian(s)                                                                                                                         Date

_________________________________________                                                                   ______________
Children                                                                                                                                               Date

Next Date for modification and review