Q&A: What's the best way to handle that attitudes and and back talk?

Hey DeAnza! In your opinion, what is the best way to handle that dreaded attitude and back talk? My son is only 7.. I feel like I have tried everything! Even sitting down and talking to him seems to frustrate him😭 Thanks so much!
— Brittany

Thanks Brittany for your great question! Here are some thoughts to consider. The words you used that caught my attention were “dreaded attitude and back talk”.

Frustration and reactions are one thing. We know this involves LEARNING self control, finding solutions to problems, conflict resolution, and instilling an overall optimistic perspective that things will get better if we are patient. This is a never ending process of maturing, even for adults. But the journey begins with dialogue and guidelines from the earliest age.

It is a very different thing when your child is directing disobedient and negative feelings toward you as a parent.

My philosophy is pretty cut and dry when it comes to RESPECT.  A child is taught respect through a healthy understanding that there is never a reason or excuse to show disrespect to parents. This must be a clearly understood NON-NEGOTIABLE. The crucial part of this clarity is a clear definition and understanding of disrespect, including:

1) Rolling your eyes to communicate negative feelings or attitude
2) Body language expressing disgust, sarcasm or irritation
3) Any words that are full of anger or defiance or disrespect
4) Disobedience and disregarding a parent’s instructions.

Establishing the reality of an authority figure is a good thing. Learning to obey is a blessing to our children. A loving, sensitive mom or dad, who teaches and rewards respect and obedience, provides a foundation for their child’s positive attitude and security.

The challenge is real, for several very real reasons.

First, feelings and emotions are normal and healthy, if not allowed to become toxic and to control us.  Disappointment really can be painful at any level of maturity. Being treated badly by someone else creates an emotional “pushback” at any age. Irritations, being misunderstood, being left out, being ashamed of our actions, or even being jealous are just some of the inevitable, and tough, parts of life.

Secondly, children have to learn self-control and what defines unacceptable behavior.  A patient, consistent and discerningly firm parent is key. This is a real challenge in most families, and especially with strong willed children.

Wise parents speak words of encouragement and faith in their child making right choices and choosing good attitudes. They sympathize and even identify with negative feelings, reassuring the child they too had to learn to obey and not have bad attitudes. But, debate and repeated eruptions of yelling, screaming fits and tantrums are not healthy and not allowed. Period. Step One is usually stopping the words.  Telling your son “No more talking. NOT ONE WORD” will help you get control back. If he can keep you engaged in debate or dialogue, the confusion is endless.

The bottom line is this: there is no option to obeying with a good attitude, and there will be consequences to disrespect and disobedience. But, there will be great rewards to obedience (so be creative! Make it obvious that making the right choice pays off!).

Be encouraged parents. Be merciful and gentle! Discern confusion or fear, and walk it out with your  child. We must coax, cuddle, distract and try to guide our little “angels” to be nice and obey. But WIN! Your child loses if you let them control the atmosphere of your home, if they are out of control and disregard your words.

Use your clout!!!!! “Stop the Train” when you have to…. meaning don’t let it slide and things go on as usual. “I’m sorry, until you learn to obey and have respect, there will be no more tv, movies or cellphone games today.” Younger children only need shorter “consequences”, for example, 5 minutes of sitting still may get the point over to a little one. It might take 30 minutes for a 7 year old. Be flexible and sensitive.

But, whatever the age, they must know it is real, you are serious and there are no options.

I hope this helped. There are many factors and alot more to be said on this subject! As I have said repeatedly: I’m not an expert, but I am experienced!!

Stay positive, keep believing in your little guy and CELEBRATE LIKE CRAZY EVERY GOOD ATTITUDE AND ACT OF OBEDIENCE! Make choosing to obey the definite best option available!

Thanks again, for your question and for being apart of The BEST BUDDIES Family!! God bless… and remember, NEVER GIVE UP!

DeAnza DuronComment