How to Handle Impertinent Children

Impertinent children have attitudes that can sometimes make their parents uncomfortable. Next, we'll see how to stop impertinence in children.
How to Handle Impertinent Children

Last update: 29 September, 2020

There are children who don’t allow others to talk because they think they’re always right. What’s more, they don’t listen, they don’t accept reprimands, and their disrespect to adults or children is the order of the day. These little ones are a real challenge for parents. Therefore, let’s see some ways to stop impertinent children.

Some children show these attitudes in such an intelligent way that it’s hard to see the impertinence. For that reason, we don’t always direct their education well. We end up letting these attitudes pass and, with time, our children may become “the annoying child” for others.

Therefore, it’s important to identify these behaviors and put a stop to them. That way, impertinent children don’t end up being unwelcome. How? Let’s see below.

Impertinent children: Why?

Impertinent children are the way they are because of a failure to correct their attitudes or behaviors at the right time. When they’re young, we may find their clever and witty replies funny and be proud of the way they talk. However, what’s really important is to identify and guide these behaviors towards positive actions that contribute to society and the family.

How to Handle Impertinent Children

For example, a father is telling his four-year-old son something he hasn’t done right. But, instead of accepting that he made a mistake, the child responds by pointing out a mistake his father made.

At first, this may be funny to the father because of the child’s wit. However, if the father fails to correct this, the little one will develop a lack of empathy and recognition of his own mistakes. What’s more, he’ll end up being an inopportune and impertinent child that society rejects.

Children test how far they can go with their behaviors and attitudes before their parents scold them. Thus, they explore limits and test patience, reactions, and ways to deal with these unexpected behaviors from parents.

Tips to prevent your children from being impertinent

Many times, parents aren’t quick to act on bad behavior. This situation can lead us to do two things. On the one hand, we may let it go because it happened days ago. Or we can talk to children in an empathic way to explain that it wasn’t right, even if hours or days have passed.

The point is to learn with our children and look for the best way to act. With little ones, every day is a new challenge that we parents face. Therefore, we’re going to look at some advice on how to avoid those impertinent attitudes.

Always respect adults

Children must be educated to respect adults. They need to understand that they must respect adults with their words and deeds.

Be consistent in what you say and do to curb impertinent children

If you see a person who says one thing and does another, what do you think? You shouldn’t be incongruent with what you say and do. Otherwise, you lose credibility and respect. Be consistent and children will follow your lead; they learn from what their parents do.

Always take their opinion into account to show them how important they are to you

Ask for your children’s opinions whenever you can. That way, they can see that what they think is very important to you. In this way, they’ll understand that there are times when they can give their opinion and others when they cannot. It’s key that your children know when to be silent and when to express their opinion.

Encourage good manners

It’s clear that each person faces the same situation differently, depending on their experience or tastes. But it’s essential that you have a behavior pattern that represents your values and instills that in your children.

For example, behaviors like waiting your turn, knowing when you have to be quiet during a conversation that doesn’t involve you, respecting things that aren’t yours, listening carefully when someone speaks to you…

Tricks to stop impertinent children

There are some distraction tricks you can use if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation with an unwelcome response from your child. But don’t always use them all the time because your child will eventually learn them and they’ll lose their function. Let’s look at some of these tricks:

How to Handle Impertinent Children
  1. Use surprise. If a child misbehaves, play a joke on them or tickle them to distract them from their action.
  2. Change the subject in an unexpected way. If you’re playing, change the game or activity. Or, if you’re talking, change the subject.
  3. Make an unexpected noise or gesture. If you distract them suddenly, their mind will be distracted and you’ll be able to redirect them toward more positive behavior.
  4. Suggest limited options. When your child wants something that can’t be, you can give them a choice between two other options that seem right to you. This way your child will think they’ve achieved their purpose.

The importance of stopping impertinent children

Impertinent children can be funny at first because of their intelligent witticisms. But if parents don’t realize what’s going on, these little ones can end up being the typical impertinent and unwelcome children that society rejects. These tips and tricks can be very useful in uncomfortable situations.

It’s important to educate children with empathy and guide their attitudes toward positive actions that will lead them to a path that’s different from impertinence. And remember: Working on the education of our children reinforces their development.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Audrey, R. (1999). ¡No seas impertinente!: Un programa en cuatro fases para poner fin al mal comportamiento de sus hijos. Siglo XXI.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.