Picking up bad habits from cousins

What to do when your kids come up with bad habits they've picked up

Q: My kids’ cousins have bad manners and play very rough. After a visit, my six- and eight-year-old pick up these habits and are poorly behaved for quite a few days. What can I do?

A: That is such a challenge. When the cousins come to your place, sit them down with your kids and remind all of them about your house rules. Let them know that if they can’t play nicely, they will need to go home. If their parents are with them, sit them down anyway and explain it’s for all the kids, as they get excited and forget the rules.

When your children come home from playing with their cousins, you need to be clearer than usual about the house rules and the consequences, and be vigilant about catching them when they are misbehaving. Don’t be critical of the cousins, or your kids will feel compelled to defend them.