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Adolescence That fiery time prior to your child becoming a teenager. Their bodies are filled with hormones and turmoil. How are you coping?

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Old 06-14-2002, 07:07 AM
november_rain1972's Avatar
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Back Talk? HELP!

Okay, I am at my wits end, and hoping you all can offer suggestions, or just let me know that my child isn't a horrid monster!

She will be 9 in September. The only thing she EVER gets in trouble for is her mouth. I have tried to bring her up right. She never threw fits in the store, I don't condone lying, she is made to mind. But she has a mouth from H**L! It's not so much smart mouth as it is the constant arguing. Doesn't matter what you say, she will argue with you, or walk off running her mouth.

What's a mom to do? I'm ready to resort to popping her mouth- that's what my grandparents who raised me did to me, and I learned when to shut my mouth. But I also swore I'd never do that to my child. So.... HELP!!

People are always telling me how well behaved she is, and most of the time she really is a great kid! We have lots of fun together. I guess I should just take out her vocal cords, then she couldn't mouth anymore...

Anyway, thanks for reading my VENT, and I look forward to hearing how you all handle this problem.
Yes m'aam- it can ALWAYS get worse!!
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Old 06-15-2002, 08:52 AM
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Elizabeth Pantley wrote this article called "Arguing & Back Talk", maybe it will help a little!

Arguing & Back Talk

Question: I know my kid's going to grow up to be a lawyer! He argues whenever he's asked to do something. He debates his rights when he's asked to stop doing something. He pleads his case when I tell him he can't do something. He disputes every rule I create. How can I put an end to this?

Think about it: It takes two to argue. Your child cannot "argue" by himself. That's called "mumbling."

Say it once: Practice stating your case, then being quiet. Ignore your child's argumentative comments, and walk away if you must. Let your child get used to your word being "final."

Let 'em complain a bit: As long as it's respectful, sometimes let your child have the last word. Often a statement, such as, "Why do I have to do it?" doesn't require an answer, nor deserve one. Often, a child's mutterings really mean, "I'll do it 'cus I have to, but I don't like it."

Set rules for debating: Some children really do enjoy debating an issue. If your child is like this, set ground rules for when and how issues can be debated. For instance: no raising of voices, no name calling, quiet listening to the other person's point of view. This behavior provides excellent practice for learning how to negotiate in life. In addition, your child must understand that some things cannot be argued, that there are some things the parents must decide. Have a standard reply for when an issue cannot be debated, such as, "This is not open for discussion."

Offer choices: Get in the habit of offering your child choices, instead of issuing commands. Children who are argumentative will have less opportunity to practice the skill if you offer a choice. For example, instead of saying, "Do your homework, right now," offer a choice, such as, "What would you like to do first, your homework or the dishes?" (If the response is, "neither," you can smile sweetly and say, "That wasn't one of the choices. Homework or dishes?")

Question: My child talks back to me in such a disrespectful way it leaves me speechless. How do I put a stop to this?

Think about it: Back-talk is addictive, so must be handled as a serious offense. A child who talks rudely to a parent once or twice and gets away with it will continue the behavior, and it will progressively get worse. Most children will attempt back-talk at some point. When a parent responds calmly and with authority the behavior will stop.

Announce your expectations: If a child has developed a habit of back-talk it will take firm action to stop the behavior. Have a meeting with your child to announce that back-talk will no longer be tolerated. Decide on a series of consequences that will occur each time back-talk occurs. Consequences may involve losing a privilege, such as telephone use, television watching, or visits with friends. They may be an additional chore, or an earlier bedtime. Then announce the sequence in which the consequences will occur. "When you talk back in a disrespectful way you will lose your telephone privileges for the day. The second offense will cause you to lose your TV show for the night. The third will . . . Each day will start with a clean slate." After the meeting, calmly and firmly follow through.

Don't empower it: Whenever a child talks back, immediately stop the conversation and walk out of the room or walk away from the child. If the child follows you, calmly and firmly announce that you will not tolerate disrespect, then pointedly ignore the child. Later, when you have calmed down, decide on an appropriate consequence for the back-talk.

Use a quarter-board: Tape your child's allowance, in quarters, to a piece of cardboard. Tell your child that each time he talks back to you he will lose a quarter from his allowance as a "fine." He'll get what's left at the end of the week. If your child uses up all the quarters, begin to add a chore, or eliminate a privilege for each offense. Start fresh with each new week. This series of events is meant to be a temporary "training" situation. When the problem seems under control, let your child know that you appreciate his efforts to control the back-talk, and that you'll no longer be charging the fine. However, make it clear that if the behavior ever becomes a problem again, you'd be happy to head to the bank for a roll of quarters.

Teach: If a normally respectful child makes a disrespectful comment, look him in the eye and make a serious, firm comment such as, "That is back-talk and is not allowed." Continue the conversation as if the back-talk did not occur, expecting the child to comply with your request. Do not empower the back-talk by arguing the issue that triggered it.

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Old 06-15-2002, 10:14 AM
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Great atricle.

Thanks so much. I will try to use some of these myself.
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Old 06-15-2002, 08:36 PM
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I agree

I agree with most of suggestions above. My son (who is 5) is very argumenative. I have found that I just have to say "that's all I have to say" and hold up my hand. If he continues, I send him to another room away from me. He sometimes continues pitching a fit, but I have said (in essence) that I am not continuing this and if he feels he has to, then he'll have to do it without me.:mad:
wife & best friend to Donny
mommy to India, Taylor and Trinity
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Old 06-15-2002, 09:59 PM
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back talk

I have a step-son who is now 12 years old and I have had the same problem. I have to confess that I did not always use the best methods for handling this early on. I understand your frustration totally. I did lose it more than one time - I never hit him but I would yell. Needless to say this didn't accomplish much except for no communication for a short time. Finally I decided to withdraw from him when he displayed this behavior. In addition to his argueing he would use profanity often. I picked a time when we were getting along and let him know that in the future if he continued to use curse words when talking to me I would no longer talk to him. I was amazed at how effective this was. He really did clean up his language and I never had to quite talking to him. Using these words was quite a habit for him and it took some effort on his part. One day he slipped up pretty bad and then looked over at me with a concerned look on his face and asked if I was going to quite talking to him. I told him that I could tell he was really trying and since he had caught himself that I wasn't going to quite talking to him. This has also worked with the talking back or argueing. I do let him voice his opinion but when it gets into argueing for the sake of it I just quit talking and do something else. It takes some discipline to do this, believe me! We are so trained to be polite
and try to smooth things out. At first he would get mad at me and
huff off with a "forget it" under his breath, but later he would be back and we would be able to have a conversation about it. I do try to explain why I am saying no, if thats the case. I have been caught a couple of times with this. It makes me look at what my objection is and there have been a few times that I have realized that my objection really wasn't valid. If thats the case then I let him know that. I don't do this in a way that makes it look like I am just giving in, and I only do it after he has presented his arguements in a civilized manner. We still get into it from time to time but it has improved greatly and it happens much less frequently. He also has expressed his apreciation for the fact that I take the time to talk to him and explain things. Patience is the key. Good luck!
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Old 06-16-2002, 06:57 PM
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I thought your message was rather interesting. As a fourth grade teacher of mostly 9 and 10 year olds, I seem to see this more and more. Students seem to always have an answer and want to talk back. This past school year I had a group of boys who were really bad about this. I had a few girls who tried this from time to time, but my biggest problem was with the boys!! It really bothers me that a lot of children seem to do this. I don't know the answer, but I wish I did!

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Old 06-17-2002, 06:37 AM
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This idea stopped the back talking real fast at our house. We did it with our 5 year old daughter and our 10 year old son. We started small then increased the number as they got stronger, but push-ups work great. They can do them on the sidewalk, in the middle of a grocery store, at a playground, etc. The punishment doesn't have to wait. If they argued about doing push-ups, the number increased by 5 every time they opened their mouth. We didn't give up and enforced it. The push-ups in the grocery store stopped the arguing fast!
We started with 5 push-ups. My son got to where he was doing 30 because he wouldn't stop complaining about doing the push-ups.
It was amazing to see how strong they got too. It took about 2 weeks for the to remember not to argue. They really hated doing them in front of friends or other adults. We showed no mercy.
Now it takes just one time for them to remember.

Good luck!!
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Old 06-17-2002, 07:28 AM
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blushing Thank you!

Thanks for all the suggestions, tips, and just general "I know what you are going through" replies! I am new to this board, and really love it!

I am babysitting a friend of my daughter's from school. Of course her mouth is worse when the friend is here. I just sent the friend outside, and explained to my daughter that 1) she is not a lawyer, 2) my kitchen is NOT a courtroom, and 3) if she didn't want to do 5 pushups RIGHT NOW, she'd better learn what NO means and go play. I got "Yes Ma'am" and out the door she went. HMMMMM..... either this just might work, or aliens have kidnapped my daughter and replaced her with a more livable specimen... haha THANKS!
Yes m'aam- it can ALWAYS get worse!!
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Old 06-18-2002, 01:38 AM
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If there is ONE thing my children are sure of, it is following through with what I tell them I am going to do if their present behaviour continues! They need consistancy, and I need sanity! I remember one time telling my (then) 3 year old that if she asked for a treat at the store, we would be going home and she would be going to her room. I needd to return an item at the store and did not have the time nor money to purchase any extras that day - and I also did not want to ge into the habit of having a child whine constantly about 'wanting something' when we were out. Especially when I told her 'no'.
Well away we went and lo and behold, as I was doing the business of returning the item, my daughter stood watching the candy etc. that was at 'just her level'. (Don't tell me store merchandisers don't use our children for their gain!) She asked for the candy and I stated 'no, I told you before we came in that there were no treats today.' Well, she cried (I ignored) and then lay on the ground crying, asking for the treat. The lady that was waiting on me said 'oh, that poor little one, why don't you buy her the treat?' to which I replied something like "I don't think so!". I finished my business, turned around and picked up our daughter like a sack of potatoes and carried her to the car all the while she was screaming. I put her in her car seat and drove home (yes, I still had lots of errands to run - but I needed to follow through). By this time, she had settled down and asked where we were going - I told her 'home - you are going to your room' I did not dialogue with her any more - I just said 'don't talk to mommy right disobeyed and you have chosen to spend time in your room today."
To tell you this story is to just enforce the idea that whatever you choose to do to deal with the problems - follow through even if it is inconvenient etc. The results will pay off. Our now 12 year old is a delight. I do still deal with some talking back from our 8 year old which I do the 'hand up' and state that I am not arguing.
(Every stage is adventure!!! )
I can tell you that it is very easy to see which children backtalk their parents (I work in the classroom) - you see it every day. If they backtalk and act the way they do sometimes in the classroom I wonder at how they must act at home. Trust me, if you allow it at home - it will show up at other places.
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Old 08-24-2002, 04:11 PM
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BalkTalking Kids

Today at Walmart I took my screaming 5 yr old girl all the way through the store. People was looking at me like I was a terrible mother. I had told my dd that she could have 50 cents for the machines at the store today but that would be it. She asked for everything that she saw and was told "no". She cried every time. She was really having a fit when we left and I refused to give her the 50 cents because of the way she had acted in the store.

When I got home, I asked my 14 yr old son to finish mowing the yard. We have a rather large yard and I had mowed 3/4th of it. I had asked him to finish it three days in a row. He asked to do it later and I said "no". He mowed at 100 miles an hour. I ended up sitting in a yard chair watching him to make sure he did it right. The whole thing took 1 1/2 hr when it should of took 30 minutes.

I am learning to stick to my guns and they are learning to be more respectful toward me. It is a hard lesson for us but well worth it!!

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