Q: What should I do when a child is rude and his parents aren’t there?
A: If you know the child well, it’s okay to make a simple correction or give an explanation, as long as you do it in a way that doesn’t embarrass the child or critisize his parents. It would be fine to say, “Kyle, we don’t use language like that in our house.” If the child happens to be your grandchild, and it’s just the two of you, you might say, “It’s so much nicer if you chew with your mouth closed, Rebecca.” You don’t need to mention the behavior to the child’s parents unless it’s especially disruptive or outlandish. If the child’s parents are present and don’t say or do anything about the rude behavior, it’s best to bite your tongue. If you feel compelled to say something, say it pleasantly: “I really don’t appreciate the way you’re speaking to me. Could you use a nicer tone?” Model the manners that he should be using.