Monday, August 18, 2008

Parenting post: dealing with back talk

Because of the title of my blog, I feel obligated to throw out a parenting post once a while.  Tonight on one of the forums I visit, I replied to a post about back talking and how I handled it.  I thought I would copy and paste it here.

My son had a rough couple of years between 11-13. He gave me a lot of lip back then. I tried several things depending in why I thought I was getting the lip.
  • Sometimes I sent him to his room for down time (and to keep me from killing him).
  • Sometimes he got squirted with a water bottle or a shot of vinegar/lemon juice into the mouth (sour mouths deserve sour drinks).
  • A couple of times he got popped in the mouth.
  • A few times, he was sent to take a walk and cool off.

Every time he was told that no matter how rotten he felt, he had no business speaking like that to any human being, especially not the person who bore him. His crabby feelings were his problem. Making it mine would result in discipline. He was free to be crabby alone or quietly in the company of others. I explained that I was willing to listen to him explain, not yell, his feelings and what he thought would correct the problem. I also told him that even if I could not fix what making him crabby, I did understand and still loved him. Even so, he had to handle his emotions rather than disrespect me or others. Of course, the key is to be as unemotional as possible when giving out the discipline and reminders of how to treat others. Yelling, crying, or throwing my own attitude into the mix would simply exacerbate the situation.

Something that helped was to remind him periodically that "no one has the right to verbally poop on another person whether they were 10 or 100 years old." That little visual helps inject humor and get the point across.

I am blessed that I am a single parent so I don't have an uncooperative father making things worse or sending out mixed signals. If I had to deal with someone sending mixed signals, I probably would have committed murder Big Grin 

I can honestly say that I enjoy my son more at 17 than I did at 12.  The terrible twos were even better than 12.  There is just something rotten about the age 12.  I recall being a major brat when I was 12 too.  Sorry Mom! Big Grin

I would love to say I handled things perfectly every time, but that would be a HUGE lie.  I made lots of mistakes (doesn't every parent), but I did try to remain calm and be rational which is really hard for a highly emotional person like me.

A favorite saying of mine is:

It's not always what you say, but how you say it, when you say it, why you say or where you say it. 

Also, my comment about my being blessed to be a single parent is something I truly believe.  While it has it's negatives, it has many positives as well.  I realize that someone somewhere could and might take offense or disagree, I am not going to argue the point.  I would have lost what little sanity I have if I focused on the negatives more than the positives of my situation.


Quilldancer said...

Kids learn more from our example than our words. Yelling at them for yelling, or cussing them for cussing sends a mixed message.

Great post.

Minkydo said...

Quilly, I totally agree. It's rough in our family because we are mostly loud by nature :)