Rude toddlers are a dime a dozen, whether it is unintentional or deliberate. But there are two types of rude toddlers and behaviors that you can work with, and also remedy.
Unintentionally rude toddlers
Now, let’s say that your toddler insults somebody without mal-intention. Toddlers are not knowledgeable about social cues and therefore them saying “Aunty you have a huge nose” is just an observation (and the truth too, they probably have a big nose, which is fine). Don’t take it the wrong way. They may say “oooh look a cute puppy” or “Yuck that dress is ugly” just in the same way without wanting to hurt anybody. But obviously for parents, this can be disconcerting and they may want to make sure that their toddler does not step on any toes. If so, here is what you can do.
- Make up a rule and tell your toddler that when they are talking about other people, they should keep their voice low and perhaps speak personally to parents only. They will not make remarks about other people in public.
- Talk about feelings. Explain that people come in all different sizes, shapes and colours and that nothing makes one person superior to another. Tell them the gravity of the word ugly and try and make them not use it at all.
- If the deed has been done and that aunty with the big nose is now giving you dagger looks, tell your toddler to apologize. Apologize to the person who was unintentionally hurt yourself first as the adult and cue your toddler to do the same. If they learn that they must also face consequences for being a smart talker, they will not repeat the behavior in future.
Intentionally rude toddlers
Oh boy!!! No parent wants to have to deal with this, but sometimes, it could be that your toddler is rather rude on purpose. You have to make sure that you work on this behavior without delay as it could really be negative even for the child themselves. So what can you do?
- Give them a time-out. It will only work if you act swiftly and give them the time-out immediately after the behavior.
- Remove your toddler from the scene that caused the outburst. If at a play date rude toddlers shout at you or at somebody near, simply pack up everything and take them out of there, sending them the message that if they don’t behave you both leave and they miss out on something they like.
- Stay calm and no matter what, remember that any emotionally aggressive reaction will backfire on you.
- Talk to your toddler and when things have cooled off, tell them why what they did was wrong.