5 Ways to Change Bratty Behavior

Does your child act like a pill? Mighty Mommy has 5 expert tips on how to help your child turn the bratty negative behavior into something positive. 

Cheryl Butler
6-minute read
Episode #186

You’re in the checkout lane at your local grocery store after a long day at work and your 3-year-old decides to swat you with a handful of magazines that are on display because you’ve told him he cannot get a king-sized candy bar. Yesterday, he flushed a large puzzle piece down the toilet, causing it to overflow. The list goes on and on, and you’re wondering how on earth your sweet baby boy turned into such a pill!>

5 Ways to Change Bratty Behavior

Don’t fret just yet. Once you have a better understanding of why kids turn to such negative behaviors, there are relatively simple strategies you can put into place to bring out their positive side instead.

Unless your child is dealing with some type of medical issue, the truth of the matter is that the main reason children act out is usually because they are desperately seeking your attention.  

Although we are in our children’s presence much of the time, because of the fast-paced world we all live in today, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have our undivided attention. Here are 5 tips to cultivate the positive attributes that our kids really do desire to show us:

Tip #1: Remember The Golden Rule

When children are raised in a respectful environment, they learn respect. For example, if you’ve overslept on Monday morning and the kids are not moving as fast as you’d like, screaming at them angrily to hurry up is teaching them that you don’t respect them. (It was you who overslept, remember!) If they know that you will treat them poorly under stressful circumstances, you shouldn’t be surprised if they cause a scene when they are feeling tense. The Golden Rule—treating others the way you want to be treated—models your love and respect for them and when practiced regularly in your own home, your kids will live it in their lives as well.

Tip #2: Handling Back Talk

Back talk and parenting go hand in hand, but it doesn’t have to be a regular scenario in your home if you can tune in to where your child is coming from emotionally. Is your daughter giving you flip remarks because she’s cranky, exhausted, or really hungry? If you’ve just picked her up from soccer practice at the end of a long day, the reason she might have just snapped at you could be because she’s overtired, overscheduled, and just can’t hold it together any longer. Kids usually save their worst behavior for the people they love and trust the most—their parents.

This does not mean that back talk is ever Ok, but most kids can be quite good at it, especially if you respond angrily. Try to respond calmly but sternly by saying...


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.