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Copying negative behaviour from the bigger boys

Hi Betty. We have a 4 year old boy who attends daycare 3 days per week. Lately he has been copying some of the negative behaviour of some of the bigger boys and we have had trouble dealing with it. For example, telling us and others to "shut up", saying "I don`t care" to everything" or "whatever". He has also taken to picking his nose which he thinks is hilarious and we can`t seem to get him to stop it. Again, I`ve noticed the other boys doing the same at daycare. How do you suggest we deal with this behaviour at home, and do you think we have any chance if he continously sees this behaviour at day care?
Regards, Louise

Answer: Dear Louise, The joys of older influences! If you can quietly and calmly (this is the most important part of this sentence) tell him that you don`t beleive his words or nose picking are nice (use your own words here from your values or what you think is important). If you can calmly accept your son but stay calm though disappointed with his undesireable behaviour (which as adults we have loads of!) he will learn over time that he probably should leave the nosepicking at daycare (FYI kids love picking their nose - they do it without thinking. Encourage them to use a tissue). Give as little attention to the undesireable behaviour not by pretending to ignore it (this is actually giving him lots of non verbal attention), but by changing the subject to a more engaging topic based on what you want to do, eg, lets go for a jump on the trampoline or lets read a book or help me dry the dishes...Betty
Answered: 01 Nov 2007