"So what? All the other kids get to do it!"
Few behavioral problems challenge and frustrate parents, caregivers, and teachers as does verbal rudeness in children of any age. Reinforced by the wise-cracking kids on TV and in the movies, backtalk has become all too common among today's youngsters. But there is nothing cute about this behavior. Remarks like "Yeah, right," "Big deal," and "Make me" -- form children as young as three -- get in the way of real communication between parents and kids, and can also be detrimental to a child's social and intellectual development.
Now two experts in the field share their simple and specific four-step program for ending backtalk and restoring balance in relationships between parents and children, from preschoolers to teens. You'll learn how to recognize backtalk, how to choose and enact a response that will make sense to you and the backtalker, and when to disengage from the struggle and move forward. Full of advice and encouragement as well as suggestions on how to keep track of what works and what doesn't, Backtalk can be put to use immediately, before you hear another "Whatever."
Ricker, a teacher, and Crowder, a psychologist, present a compact plan for dealing with backtalking kids. The authors define their topic as including such phenomena (common among teenagers, but quite likely to strike much earlier) as sudden rudeness, nasty tone, inflected syllables, hostility and bullying control of the conversation. They make clear that their advice pertains only to mentally healthy children and not to those with serious neurological or psychiatric disabilities. While allowing that respectful disagreement or assertive communication in kids is appropriate, the authors suggest that parents nip backtalk in the bud. Their four deceptively simple steps include recognizing backtalk when it occurs; choosing a logical consequence; enacting the consequence; and disengaging from the struggle. If a child is rude at dinner, for instance, one "logical consequence" is to remove that child's dinner. They claim that if parents refuse to give in to backtalk, their homes will soon be characterized by positive communication rather than by sullen faces, eye rolling and angry sarcasm. Peppered with realistic dialogues and case histories, the book, while hardly eye-opening, will be useful for parents who want to maintain a mutually respectful dialogue with their growing children.