How to Survive Your Kids Attitude

by Brie Tucker

Do you secretly watch those “memories” videos, photos, or old posts that pop up on your phone? If you don’t do it in secret, then you probably don’t have a moody tween or teen in your home currently. 

I miss those days. Currently, I have two kids on the verge of becoming teens and both are flexing their “attitude muscles” every-single-day!  Every day my patience is tested along with my ability to tolerate their various skills in the area of “giving attitude”. However, I know that I’m not alone.

READ: Four Steps to Deal With your Tween’s Mood Swings

Which of these lovely highlights do your children show you daily?

The Eyeroll

With this one, you wonder if they roll them enough…could they actually get stuck? 

I remember my parents warning that if I crossed my eyes, they could get stuck that way. I think it might be a fair consequence of them to roll their eyes and have them get stuck there just long enough to freak them out sometimes. I’m kidding…well, sort of. 😉

The Crossed Arms

This is an old favorite. They act like crossing their arms will deflect any requests you give them or anything you say. Sometimes I wonder if they see their crossed arms like some sort of shield that deflects any parent request or responsibility. 

The Cousin Itt

This one may be unique to my kids, well, specifically my daughter, but it is her go-to display of attitude. I liken it to when toddlers cover their eyes in an attempt to ignore you. 

Whenever she gets angry or annoyed with us (her family), she pulls her long hair forward to completely cover her face. She then refuses to communicate any further and just sits there. I swear…she looks just like Cousin Itt from The Addams Family when she does this…thoughts?

The Tone

I don’t know if I really need to describe this one. Every parent knows what “the tone” sounds like. It varies between kids…but to me, it sounds a lot like the most annoying sound in the world.

This tone of voice has magical abilities to make me go from happy-go-lucky-mom to on-my-last-nerve-really-frustrated-mom in 2.5 seconds! 

READ: How to Deal with Tween Moodiness

Here’s how to keep your cool so you don’t do nuclear.

Ways to help you survive the ATTITUDE:

1. Give them space.

Have you ever said “Just give me a minute”, when you were upset about something? Sometimes when we’re angry or frustrated by a person or a situation, we need a moment to collect our thoughts and even calm down a little. 

It’s normal. Teach your kids to take a moment and even count to 10. Then, it’s up to us to allow our kids the time they need to do this.

2. Try not to take it personally.

Being a teen and sometimes feeling upset at others is normal. When I was that age,  I had NO IDEA why I was so angry, frustrated, or just plain crabby. I just was. 

Most people didn’t get to see my “attitude” either, that was most often reserved for those I knew could handle it. They’d still be there even if I treated them poorly.

Remember that a lot of the time you are “getting attitude”, it’s because you’re always there for your kids so they feel most comfortable with you. That doesn’t mean they have a free pass to treat you like their own personal emotional punching bag though.

3. Can We Talk?

By this, I’m saying to keep talking to your kids. 

It’s okay to tell your kids that their words and/or actions are frustrating to you, or hurt you, or even flat out confuse you. 

Furthermore, it’s perfectly acceptable to give your kid an outline of what you expect from them. Something along the lines of, “Hey. I can tell that you aren’t feeling so happy right now, and that’s fine. But It really hurts my feelings when you roll your eyes when I ask you to pick up your things. I don’t roll my eyes at you, and ask for the same respect.” 

4. Break out those rosy-colored memories!

Those days and times where you feel knee deep in eye rolls, snappy comments, and a “tone” that never seems to improve….remember those “good days”. 

It could have been a year ago when you guys had a great family trip somewhere or even 2 days ago when your kid helped you with something and actually smiled (gasp!)! While it seems like the attitude never ends…it indeed does. 

When you feel really overwhelmed, just reflect back on those good times to help keep moving forward. This is a phase and you will eventually get past it. In the great words of Dory…

Just keep swimming….just keep swimming… 

Brie Tucker

COO/ Podcast Producer at No Guilt Mom
Brie Tucker has over 20 years of experience coaching parents with a background in early childhood and special needs. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Central Missouri and is certified in Positive Discipline as well as a Happiest Baby Educator.

She’s a divorced mom to two teenagers.

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One Comment

  1. This is such great advice! We’re just now entering this phase with my oldest. Thanks for making me laugh but helping me realize I’m not alone!!

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