Mar 1

How to Handle Back Talk

Back talk is such an interesting change from the sweet, innocence of toddler talk.  People say it’s the “terrible two’s”, but that’s a myth.  It’s really the three’s.  And they aren’t so much terrible, as they are frighteningly demonic.  The only thing missing when I tell my son he can’t have a “treat” is the head spinning around.  Everything else reads pretty close to demon possession.  He voice changes, he goes from happy to evil angry, he damns me with his air punches, and then he storms off, revoking all love (sometimes it’s a “you’re not my friend anymore”, or maybe “I’m not snuggling you”).

Now, I’m as cool as the next guy with changing into a demon.  That’s his right.  What I’m NOT cool with is the back talk.  Some of my least favorite phrases after I’ve asked him to put something down, denied him something, or asked him to stop doing something are :

  • Don’t talk to me like that!
  • Stop it!
  • You’re not allowed to say that to me!
  • Stop talking to me!
  • You’re not the boss!  I’m the boss!
  • (My all time least favorite) Shut up!

After writing these down, some of them don’t seem as bad as they are.  Those of you with kids will know that when you read these lines screaming, throwing a fit, and with all kinds of snotty behavior, they become extremely difficult to handle.

So how to handle the back talk?  I usually drag my son outside, tie him to a tree, and have a priest squirt him with holy water until the demon leaves.  Then we all go inside for ice cream as if nothing happened!  LOL.  Just kidding…it’s way too hard to get a priest on such short notice.  Right now we tell Noble that what he’s doing is called back talk, and that he’s not allowed to talk to us that way.  This has transformed Noble into the household expert on back talk.  Pretty much any time I say something he doesn’t like, I’m informed that what I’m doing is “Back talk” and that if I don’t stop, he’ll send me to my room.

So I’ve discovered a 4 step process from  Parents.com that I will be attempting. It’s sort of how we are handling it now, but the consequences are more immediate.   The link will send you to the full article, but here’s the exerpt:

1. Plan ahead. Decide on a consequence that you will implement if your child talks rudely to you. “You should withdraw something that he enjoys that would normally take place in the next 24 hours,” says Ricker. Examples include watching a favorite TV show or going to a friend’s house.

2. Respond decisively. When your child speaks rudely, say “That language (or tone) is not acceptable. As a result, I am not going to take you on a playdate to Jimmy’s house.”

3. Follow through with no further discussion. Do not offer a second chance. Do not negotiate. Avoid the word “if” (as in “If you do that again, I’m going to…”). It makes you sound weak instead of decisive and your child will pick up on that. “Parents tend to over-talk. Taking action is much more effective,” says Ricker.

4. On a related note, ignore any back talk associated with the consequence. Don’t get drawn into explaining or justifying your position. On the other, don’t punish your child again if he gives you back talk when you enforce the consequence. Treat it as one incident.

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