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Old 10-18-2005, 01:36 PM
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Arguing & Back Talk (article)

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. About the Author
Elizabeth Pantley is author of Perfect Parenting, Kid Cooperation, and president of Better Beginnings, Inc.


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Old 10-23-2005, 08:17 PM
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I always say " When you are ready to sit and talk about 'whatever' in an indoor voice we will talk. If you are gonna yell, don't even think about coming out of your room. " I always win.

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Old 11-29-2005, 09:03 AM
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I really needed to read this-thanks!! My almost 9 yr old son has really had an attitude lately and I know I don't help-we know how to push each other's buttons! I love the quarter idea-I'm gonna have to try that one.
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Old 11-30-2005, 05:04 AM
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Here's another quarter hint-
Every morning I give Miriam a quarter, if she can go all day (when she's home form school) without fighting with Maddie she can keep the quarter to use in the student store at school. If she does fight with maddie she has to give Maddie the quarter.

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Old 04-21-2007, 04:47 PM
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This might be a silly question, but what advice do you have for the chidren that act the opposite way?
My step-children are 7 & 8. They don't as much talk back as they smart off every chance they get. If I say the sky is blue I'm corrected that it's LITE blue etc. When I or their father try to correct them in any way it's met with sarcasim and attitude over the littlest thing. For instance, today we were at my mother's house with the children and they were playing with my cousins go-cart. After telling the oldest to stay out from in front of it while her younger sister was riding, she immediately jumped out in front of it and it clipped her ankle. She didn't get hurt or anything, but her dad immediately told her not to do it again and explained to her that she could really get hurt. That's what triggered her tantrum. But she prefers the silent treatment to the point it doesn't matter who say's what, she ignores them and smarts off. We've tried everything to stop this behavior, but it's obvious that it's something their mother encourages. With me their not too bad because I tell them under no uncertain terms am I going to accept it, their father on the otherhand gets treated like dirt because that's how they see their mom treat him. Kind of feels like I'm caught in a catch-22 here because I demand and get respect from them whereas their father has lost the battle before it's even begun because their going to do and act like MOM wants them too, regardless of whos house their at.
Last tantrum we tried time out... doesn't work. They would much rather be left in another room where they don't have to listen to anyone, same with sending them to their room. When it's time to apologize... they WILL out wait you and you'll not get an apology until you tell them ten or twelve times. More or less, when their at home with their mom THEY are the parents verses when their here with us, WE are the parents. But how do we get that point through to them when their mother expresses GOD knows what about their dad? (whatever she tells them has made them stop calling him dad and they call him by his name now... which I H8)
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Old 04-21-2007, 04:57 PM
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As for the kids calling their dad by his first name, UH UH! Tell him to refuse to speak to them until they politely say dad.

You might be able to try this...
put some pennies in a jar and have a spare jar. When they do something inappropriate like smart off, take a penny from the jar and transfer it over to the other one. They may soon realize that its not acceptable to be smart mouths. If they do something acceptable without a lecture put a penny into the good jar. (don't take any from the naughty jar). When the good jar is full, count the money, tell them they deserve a trip to the ice cream store, dollar store, etc.
Works wonders here. My dd's are always trying to earn pennies here and there for various things. They are almost 5 and 9.
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Old 06-23-2008, 02:29 AM
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My DD tries to be the parent with me, as hard as I try to explain to her that she is the child, I am the parent. She gets her little attitude going (with hand on hip and pointing finger, the whole 9 yards) and tries to tell me what to do. If I ask/tell her to do something, she either ignores me or tries to "debate" the issue. I told her I do not appreciate the way she is talking to me, and she needs to treat me nicely and ask me if she wants something, she cannot tell me what to do. She will appologize to me as my dh pulls in the driveway and beg me not to tell him how she has acted. I have tried to discipline her the way he does (sending to her room), but she wont listen to me, no matter what I do. I am at my wits end with this. She only does this with me, no one else. Everyone says they do not have that problem with her. My husband blames me and says I do not discipline her. He is not here to see what I do, and by the time he gets home I am ready to give up. I am sorry this is so long, but need advice. I should not have to threaten to "tell daddy" if she does not behave. I am about ready to get counseling for myself and my sanity, but DH is against me doing that, saying they dont help. Please!!! Any advice?
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Old 06-23-2008, 04:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmz2005
I am about ready to get counseling for myself and my sanity, but DH is against me doing that, saying they dont help. Please!!! Any advice?
I think I have found some articles that may be helpful to you. Here are some links:

The 7 Biggest Discipline Mistakes:
You May Be Surprised at What You're Doing Wrong


Parenting the Argumentative Child

Parenting with Style: Why You Might Clash with Your Child

When Parents Disagree on Discipline

I hope some of these links are helpful to you. Parenting is not an easy job, so don't feel like a failure. The important thing is to correct the problem and get back in control before she reaches the adolescent years. Gaining her respect by proper and loving discipline is imperative to your relationship with your daughter.
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Old 07-02-2008, 03:24 AM
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Thank You so much for sharing this. They have some really helpful advice.
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Old 07-02-2008, 04:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmz2005
Thank You so much for sharing this. They have some really helpful advice.
You're welcome jmz, happy to help We are always here to help!
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