86 Views

It is a stage of development that every child enters, and every parent dreads – the start of Talking Back! It is important to note that though it is a normal developmental stage, it is important that it be addressed and not tolerated. A quick search of parenting strategies produces many different views and approaches. Vicki Giebocki of Parents Magazine tried out 5 strategies and rated them. Here’s what she tried:
Set Ground Rules
When Joan Munson, Ph.D., a psychologist in Boulder, Colorado, suggested I make a chart, I wanted to sass back at her, “No. Go away!” Putting stars on a “nice-talk sticker board” was too much work, what with also having to, you know, feed my kids and take them places and stuff. Dr. Munson understood. “This isn’t a behavior chart,” she reassured me. “It’s an expectation chart.”
So I tried it. On the top I wrote “House Rules” and under it “No Mouthing Off to Mom and Dad.” I included a consequence for each kid. My 9-year-old would lose Minecraft for a day; my 7-year-old would lose her next karate class; and my 3-year- old would lose dessert (I drew an ice-cream cone with an X through it, since she can’t read). I read it aloud, then posted it on the fridge. “That way, when a child mouths off, all you have to do is point at the chart,” says Dr. Munson.
Keep Your Emotions in Check
I realize a kid’s job is to push boundaries, but it’s tough not to take it personally when a 3-year-old calls you Bad Mommy because you won’t give her a piggyback ride (particularly when Bad Mommy just took her to a playdate, where she wore the cute tutu that Bad Mommy had bought for her). But pushing back signals to your child that she’s getting a rise out of you. Instead, I should simply point out that her words aren’t working, advises Jay Heinrichs, author of the best-seller Thank You for Arguing. He used this script with his kids: “You’re going to have to do better than that to get what you want.” His goal was to get them to replace back talk by learning how to make a persuasive argument, a skill they’d use all the time as grown-ups.
Follow Through
I had to let go of another one of my failed back-talk methods: the second chance. “It isn’t effective to tell a kid, ‘If you talk to me like that one more time, you won’t get to…'” says teacher-turned-therapist Audrey Ricker, Ph.D., who cowrote Back Talk: 4 Steps to Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids. The way to let your child know that you mean what you say is by enforcing it. “You only have to carry out a consequence once or twice before she changes her behavior,” Dr. Ricker claims.
Try a Little Tenderness
Megan Oesterreich, director of parenting education at the Center for Connection, in Pasadena, California, says the way I respond to my kids’ cheeky rejoinders can have a huge impact on their emotional intelligence. Her solution: Disarm their rudeness with kindness. “You have to take the power struggle out of these moments,” she says. When my girls give me lip, I should take three breaths to chill out, then sit at their level, get close, and say, “Wow. I can hear in your voice that you’re frustrated. Can you tell me what’s going on?” “This will help calm your child down,” Oesterreich says.
Give Props for Nice Talk
My kids actually do behave lovingly and respectfully a lot of the time. But I rarely point it out. “Parents tend to pay attention to the negative things and ignore the good ones,” says Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., director of the Yale Parenting Center. I need to focus on how I want my girls to talk to me, rather than on their back talk. When one responds to a request in an appropriate way, I should say, “The way you answered me was very nice,” and then touch her gently on her arm.
Set Ground Rules
When Joan Munson, Ph.D., a psychologist in Boulder, Colorado, suggested I make a chart, I wanted to sass back at her, “No. Go away!” Putting stars on a “nice-talk sticker board” was too much work, what with also having to, you know, feed my kids and take them places and stuff. Dr. Munson understood. “This isn’t a behavior chart,” she reassured me. “It’s an expectation chart.”
So I tried it. On the top I wrote “House Rules” and under it “No Mouthing Off to Mom and Dad.” I included a consequence for each kid. My 9-year-old would lose Minecraft for a day; my 7-year-old would lose her next karate class; and my 3-year- old would lose dessert (I drew an ice-cream cone with an X through it, since she can’t read). I read it aloud, then posted it on the fridge. “That way, when a child mouths off, all you have to do is point at the chart,” says Dr. Munson.
Keep Your Emotions in Check
I realize a kid’s job is to push boundaries, but it’s tough not to take it personally when a 3-year-old calls you Bad Mommy because you won’t give her a piggyback ride (particularly when Bad Mommy just took her to a playdate, where she wore the cute tutu that Bad Mommy had bought for her). But pushing back signals to your child that she’s getting a rise out of you. Instead, I should simply point out that her words aren’t working, advises Jay Heinrichs, author of the best-seller Thank You for Arguing. He used this script with his kids: “You’re going to have to do better than that to get what you want.” His goal was to get them to replace back talk by learning how to make a persuasive argument, a skill they’d use all the time as grown-ups.
Follow Through
I had to let go of another one of my failed back-talk methods: the second chance. “It isn’t effective to tell a kid, ‘If you talk to me like that one more time, you won’t get to…'” says teacher-turned-therapist Audrey Ricker, Ph.D., who cowrote Back Talk: 4 Steps to Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids. The way to let your child know that you mean what you say is by enforcing it. “You only have to carry out a consequence once or twice before she changes her behavior,” Dr. Ricker claims.
Try a Little Tenderness
Megan Oesterreich, director of parenting education at the Center for Connection, in Pasadena, California, says the way I respond to my kids’ cheeky rejoinders can have a huge impact on their emotional intelligence. Her solution: Disarm their rudeness with kindness. “You have to take the power struggle out of these moments,” she says. When my girls give me lip, I should take three breaths to chill out, then sit at their level, get close, and say, “Wow. I can hear in your voice that you’re frustrated. Can you tell me what’s going on?” “This will help calm your child down,” Oesterreich says.
Give Props for Nice Talk
My kids actually do behave lovingly and respectfully a lot of the time. But I rarely point it out. “Parents tend to pay attention to the negative things and ignore the good ones,” says Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., director of the Yale Parenting Center. I need to focus on how I want my girls to talk to me, rather than on their back talk. When one responds to a request in an appropriate way, I should say, “The way you answered me was very nice,” and then touch her gently on her arm.