Does Your Child Need An Attitude Makeover?

by | Oct 4, 2013 | Articles

“Have you thought (secretly of course) how much easier selling your kids on E-bay would be than raising them for one more minute? Do you sometimes feel as though you’ve become your kids’ ATM machine? If so, chances are your kid has a big dose of the Big Brat Factor.” — from Don’t Give Me That Attitude!

Outbursts from selfish, rude, and demanding children are symptoms of a rapidly growing epidemic that is sweeping the country. While experts differ as to how to label this behavior, most parents agree that overindulged, grandiose behavior is best referred to as acting like a “spoiled brat.” In fact, a national survey reveals 80% of adults think kids today are more spoiled than kids of ten or fifteen years ago. Moreover, two-thirds of parents admit that their own kids are spoiled. Consequently, parents and educators are left wondering why they are faced with this “spoiled brat” crisis and what can be done to squelch the sass, back-talk, and bossiness seen in today’s kids.

According to renowned educator and consultant Michele Borba, the underlying cause for the behaviors that create a spoiled and selfish kid is the highly contagious ailment commonly referred to as “bad attitude.” With DON’T GIVE ME THAT ATTITUDE!: 24 Rude, Selfish, Insensitive Things Kids Do and How to Stop Them (Jossey-Bass/a Wiley imprint; $14.95/paper; April 9, 2004), Borba offers a comprehensive, no-nonsense plan to help parents diagnose and eradicate their children’s bad attitudes.

In this book, Borba addresses the most prominent of bad attitudes, examining their roots, and the ways in which well-meaning parents can actually be responsible for their child’s most irritating qualities. Borba details strategies and antidotes for parents whose child is: arrogant, bad-mannered, bad-tempered, a cheat, cruel, demanding, domineering, fresh, greedy, impatient, insensitive, irresponsible, jealous, judgmental, lazy, manipulative, narrow-minded, noncompliant, pessimistic, poor losers, selfish, uncooperative, ungrateful, or unhelpful.

According to Borba, “Behaviors are a child’s way of coping with the world. Behaviors are here and now; attitudes will determine her destiny.” She explains that the spoiled kid epidemic facing most parents goes beyond just bad behavior to the underlying cause of bad attitudes:

Bad attitudes are a bad way of looking at life: Kids who see the world as a cold and cruel place are selfish and insensitive. And because they do believe it’s acceptable, they treat others with meanness, rudeness, and intolerance.

Bad attitudes are usually made up of bad behavior habits: Kids with bad-tempered attitudes usually start out by displaying their anger in unhealthy ways, such as biting, hitting, tantrums, or fighting. If not corrected, those bad behaviors turn into bad habits, and soon the child develops one big attitude that says to the world, “I’ll use my anger to get what I want.”

Bad attitudes are often hidden and hard to figure: Kids who are insecure, fearful, and anxious may conceal or compensate for their feelings with attitudes of pessimism, jealousy, and cynicism.

Bad attitudes run deep and can last a lifetime: Kids who have moms or dads who always pick up the pieces may face a lifetime of dependency and manipulation.

Bad attitudes are the foundation for bad character: Kids who have learned how to get away with being irresponsible and uncooperative often end up as adults with a skewed moral compass.

Bad attitudes can lead to a lifetime of unhappiness and social isolation: Kids who are spoiled, self-centered, arrogant, and disrespectful may never form lasting attachments or find personal fulfillment.

Complete with specific research-based strategies, guidelines, in-depth advice, short and long-term projects, questionnaires, self-tests, checklists, and other resources, this book offers a brilliant plan for parents wishing to makeover their child’s bad attitude. As the first book of its kind to address “attitude,” DON’T GIVE ME THAT ATTITUDE! will resonate with both parents and educators for its effective, hands-on approach to solving the universal problem of moral intelligence and internal character in today’s youth.

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About The Author:

Michele Borba, Ed.D., has worked with more than 750,000 parents and teachers over more than two decades. A dynamic and highly sought-after speaker, she has presented hundreds of keynote addresses and workshops throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific on enhancing children’s character development, self-esteem, achievement, and behavior. Her down-to-earth speaking style, inspirational stories, and practical strategies appeal to audiences worldwide.

Borba is the author of nineteen books for parents and educators, including Building Moral Intelligence, selected by as “one of the top ten parenting books of the year,” and cited by Publisher’s Weekly as “one of the most noteworthy of 2001”; Parents Do Make a Difference, selected by Child Magazine as an “outstanding parenting book of 1999”; and Esteem Builders, used by over 1.5 million students worldwide.

Borba appears as a frequent guest expert on television and National Public Radio talk shows, including The View, Fox & Friends, The Parent Table, and The Jenny Jones Show, and has been interviewed in numerous publications, including Newsweek, Parents, Redbook, First for Women, Family Life, Working Mother, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Daily News, and serves as a columnist for Oxygen Media and as honorary advisory board member for Parents magazine. Her numerous awards include the National Educator Award, presented by the National Council of Self-Esteem.

Borba and her husband were partners in a private practice for troubled children and adolescents in Campbell, California. She received her doctorate in educational psychology and counseling from the University of San Francisco, her M.A. in learning disabilities, and her B.A. from the University of Santa Clara.

To contact Borba regarding her work or her media availability, or to schedule a keynote or workshop for your organization, go to or Her work can also be reviewed at