Friday, February 18, 2011

Reader Requests 2011 - Post 3

Our reader request this week deals with children talking back. Check out what our reader had to say:

"How do you curb talking back from children? We make every effort to teach respect, but my 5 year old (though she is mainly respectful to others) has gotten into the habit of sassing my husband and I or just using an inappropriate tone of voice. Ideas would be much appreciated."

Let's help her out!

How do you teach respect to your children?

How do you distinguish between how we speak to family members and how we speak to others outside our homes?

How do you deal with talking back when it happens?

P.S. We are always looking for more reader requests! Remember, you can ask questions in any area of parenting or family life--we take them all!


Alyssa Harper said...

In my dealings with young kids, I find that children usually become disrespectful or rude when they're wanting attention. Of course, that doesn't make it appropriate for them to behave that way, but keeping that in mind, I'd recommend:

1) Stopping what you're doing. Bending down to talk to her at her eye-level, and softly asking her to say it again by explaining, "Mommy's feelings get hurt when you talk like that. Can you say it again nicely so Mommy can understand?" And really listen. Young kids don't always say exactly what they're meaning when upset.

2) If intently listening doesn't work, (a.k.a. the child's a little too worked up to speak calmly) nip the problem in the bud. ALWAYS respond with the exact same consequence. Time out. Sitting on mommy's lap without talking for a few minutes. Whatever works for your child. She can get out when she can speak respectfully to you. The most important idea to get across to her is that talking back WILL NOT be tolerated. No matter what. This may take a couple weeks or even months to start seeing some real effects, but stick with it. It'll sink in. Respect is something that learned over a lifetime.

I've found that older kids (ages 5 and above) may benefit from a consequence chart. Keep it simple. Mostly pictures. But it lists major offenses and the consequences that result from it. That way, there's never a question about what will happen when the child acts out inappropriately. Plus, it takes a little of the "bad guy" out of mommy and puts it on the chart. Win-win, right?

Delia said...

I know every child is different but for us we try to focus on the behavior we much as we can anyway. It doesn't mean I never say, "we don't talk like that...." etc. I just try to immediately give him a chance to say it again and I prompt him with a more appropriate response. I often say something like, "Say...Mom. I feel sad when you..." I give him the words and tools to still express himself but in a more appropriate manner.

Another technique is to recognize the feeling before addressing the behavior. "I know that you are upset because..." Then..."But talking like that is not appropriate. Now please tell me nicely what is bothering you." Or if the talking back is really nasty, I send them to their room. I don't give a time limit. I simply say, "When you are ready to talk nicely you may come out and talk to me." Sometimes they come right back out storming mad. I simply repeat myself and send them back in. After they calm down it solves about 98% of whatever was bugging them and we quickly fix the other 2% with a conversation and a hug and a kiss.