You spend 8 to 24 months excited for those cute first words – and then 17 years regretting you ever wished that.


Ahhh the joys of parenthood. It seems like the minute they learn how to string a sentence together – they are shouting demands.   Get me… Give me…

Tired of your kids shouting out demands with no please or thank you? Try these 4 quirky ways to turn that behavior around without ever having to correct them!

Not to worry – it is our job to help our children learn how to talk to us – and those around them. They don’t come out of the womb talking nicely to you!


As parents we have to pick our battles. If we are constantly disciplining and over-processing every behavior – our children might tune us out.


Learning approaches that help your child learn positive behavior – without long winded discipline – will help you be more effective and less burned out in the end!  


Here are 4 quirky tips to get kids to talk nicely and to turn those little demands into polite little sentences…


1. When your child demands something or talks to you in a disrespectful manner – simply state how you would like to be talked to:

Child:   Give me milk!

You:      Mom, can I have some milk please?


Do not discuss how your children talked to you or discuss the issue in any way. Just talk for them exactly how you would like them to talk to you.


Child:    I want my milk!

You:      Mom, can I have some milk please?

Child:   Fine – Mom can I have some milk please?

You:      Why sure honey. Thank you for asking so nicely.


2. Do not give your child what they want until they respond in a kind, respectful fashion.


When our children get what they want after they rudely demand it – the behavior is reinforced. No matter how much correcting we do before or after the demand – if the demand is met – the behavior is reinforced.


Repeat how you want them to ask you in a calm voice.  You can try to lighten the mood with humor and be silly as you do it.


Your child will either get annoyed and walk away or will restate their request.   Trust me – this will get annoying for them fast. Kids will want to avoid this whole irritating banter and they will eventually start talking to you in the way that you are requesting.


Eventually, these manners will become ingrained and will be a natural part of how your children speak. This may take time – so patience is key.


3. Be consistent. Do not let poor tone or attitude slide.


You do not have to discipline every demand and disrespectful sentence – that could get exhausting! But you do not want to reinforce the behavior either.


Be consistent. Watch how your children talk to you. If they talk to you in a disrespectful manner – they will probably talk to others that way too.


4. Watch how you talk to your child.


There is nothing worse than a “Do as I say – Not as I do” parenting style. It becomes hard to require that your children talk nicely to you – when you do not talk nicely to them.


We model behavior for our children. If we are rude and disrespectful to our children, our spouse or to those in customer service – they will see that as acceptable behavior.


This whole raising kids gig is tiring – right?! The most important thing is that we are all trying to be the best parent we can be.


No one is perfect – and we will all have those days that we would love to rewind. I always tell parents (and to myself – yes, I talk to myself) – you are human. You will mess up. I mess up. As long as you have good intentions and reset when you falter – you are doing okay.


Now let’s go get those kids talkin’ nicer.


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Here are some books on the topic:




Some wall art as a good reminder: