31 answers

I Need Help with My Seven Year Old Son and Back Talk.

My son is typically a really good kid. He helps (most of the time)when asked to do simple things and plays wonderfully with his little sister. My problem is that lately he is the master of disrespectful back talk when I tell him it's time to get ready for school, or turn off his computer game etc. It's gotten to the point that when I come down in the morning (on school days) I'm now greeted with "NO! I'm not getting ready for school!!" before I've even had time to say good morning. It's happening whenever he's told it's time to begin stopping an activity and move onto a responsibility. I would never think to talk to him with such disrespect, but he seems to think it's an appropriate way to speak to his mother. I feel I'm good at sticking to my ground and not giving in, and then I have to deal with "looks" from him that are filled with such anger and what seems like hatred it really gets me mad and then I do raise my voice.
I want the discipline to fit the "crime" and for him to stop the behavior because he sees that it's wrong and not just because he'll lose something he loves, but I'm at a loss as to the best way to teach him that this is simply not the way it's going to be.

Any and all advice is appreciated.

Thanks
W.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I have a suggestion I haven't seen so far. My 7 yo is in the same phase, and it is really hard not to react. We've found she rarely responds that way to my husband, so when he hears it he will tell her" You will not speak to my wife that way!" sometimes mom=slave in their minds for some strange reason!! We use many of the other strategies mentioned below. Usually a firm what did you say?" is enough. However, I have also noticed I get a lot less lip when I for the need in a statement instead of a question ie: It's time to get dressed vs. will you get dressed please? I hope that helps. Keep it up. They tell me this too shall pass!!

1 mom found this helpful

I am having the same problem with my son who is 9 years old. He loves to play video games on the computer. When he has to stop to eat dinner or get ready to go out, he gets angry. I also raise my voice because growing up I couldn't whistle in my home because my parents and grandparents would think it was rude behavior. I can't stand the mean looks from my son and don't want this anger to follow him throughtout life. I would love to know what to do myself. I know that staying calm works best, but this is very hard. Also taking away the game or putting him on punishment works as well. I am looking forward to more responses.
D.

Try, Parenting with Love And Logic (Kline and Foster)and loveandlogic.com. It will help now and throughout the teens years too.

More Answers

Hi W.,
I suggest you read 1-2-3 Magic. It helped bring peace to our house.
D.

1 mom found this helpful

I feel your pain. My 6 and a half year old daughter is the same way. I'm a broken record: "In this house, we are kind to each other. I am waiting to hear your kind words." And I wait for her to speak in kind voice, a sincere voice. I find if I can manage to stay calm and keep my own emotions in check (hard!) it all goes much better. LIKE I HAVE TO BE KIND TOO. :) I often need to clarify the difference between using discipline and being a "mean mommy".

I also find the preemptive approach helpful. "Yes, you may play dress-up before dinner if you can promise when I say it is time to clean up and help with setting the table you will do so quickly and with a good attitude."

And if this doesn't work and she's sassy anyway, I calmly say that I'm very sorry but there will be no story at bedtime. "You must be too tired or you wouldn't be behaving this way. You usually have such golden manners." And I stick by it, that really clears things up for a couple of days.

Humor is effective... it can catch them off guard when they are grouchy and put things right quickly as in "Hey whoa, who are you and what have you done with my beautiful, kind child? I must find her (grabbing and shaking her) alright, where is she...have you stuffed her in a closet?" "Mom! MOM! it's me!" "Don't lie to me, have you fed her to a dragon...!" ETC.

Acting whacky lets off steam for me and often diffuses a tired, common and trying issue like sassy behavior. I get sick of hearing myself sometimes, you know?

Remember you are fighting the good fight and it's worth it!

1 mom found this helpful

I get similar lip from my six year old daughter. I find it sometimes helps to appeal to her empathy to "shock" her out of her angry, defiant outbursts. i.e.: "It really hurts my feelings when you shout at me that way" or "How do you think you would feel if I got so angry about making your supper because I wanted to _______?(fill in the blank with something your child knows you like to do). We all have responsibilities to make our family work, even when we'd rather be doing something else. Right now, yours is such and such...

Obviously, you don't want to cripple the child with guilt, but depending on where your son is developmentally, you may be able to show him how unfair and stressful to you his behavior is. I know my daughter often surprises me with her ability to comprehend the complexity of feelings, and cause-and-effect of people's behavior on relationships.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with many of you; there is a time for fun games or videos.I am straight forward and up front with my 11 and 8 year olds about what is expected at certain times during the week. School/ work days are scheduled and routine. Also a great opportunuity to; focus on chores that my have been skipped; extra reading time; or healthy balanced breakfasts w/ child participation. Very important. As is have times of fun and freedom to choose what to do.
Also, I have had success with "fighting the backtalk" by clearly stating to them when it occurs, " The way you are speaking to me is inappropriate." " We can continue discussing your point when you can speak to me respectfully. In the meantime, I need you to get ready for school."
I'm not saying that its a one time fix. But they do learn that my response will be the same. They now recognize when they do "back talk" and when it is done to them. Important communication skills we all can learn from.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a six year old son (7 in July). I understand the back talk you re talking about. If this helps. First thing in the morning and prior to doing anything, I remind my son what is expected with his behavior. I also tll him what the consequenses are (lose tv, go to bed right after dinner, etc).
I also will say sometime, "surely you did not mean to say that to mom/talk like that to mom, pleas go to your room and come back out to talk to me when you can speak nicely" We also have a fun thing that helps Did you forget to take you manners/kind words out of your pocket? Please pull them out and use them.
Hope this is helpful.

S.

1 mom found this helpful

I have a suggestion I haven't seen so far. My 7 yo is in the same phase, and it is really hard not to react. We've found she rarely responds that way to my husband, so when he hears it he will tell her" You will not speak to my wife that way!" sometimes mom=slave in their minds for some strange reason!! We use many of the other strategies mentioned below. Usually a firm what did you say?" is enough. However, I have also noticed I get a lot less lip when I for the need in a statement instead of a question ie: It's time to get dressed vs. will you get dressed please? I hope that helps. Keep it up. They tell me this too shall pass!!

1 mom found this helpful

Oh my, sounds like my son has a twin! He was just like that at 7, now he's a pretty darn good 11, almost 12 year old, though we still have a moment now and then. The biggest issue with my guy was that he gets so into what he wants to be doing that stopping and moving on to something else, less preferred especially, is very hard and that's when we get the attitude, anger and back talk. This was particularly bad with the computer and less often, but also with the TV. We now have (and have for about 2 years now) a 30 minute week day and 1 hour or 1 movie weekend TV rule. Took some getting used to but they are both (my daughter too) very choosy about what they watch since they each only get to choose 1 show per day, and they do many other things. Knowing that there is a strict set limit helps with the transitions. We also started giving him time warnings. For instance - "in 10 minutes we're going to..." and again at 5 and 2 minutes (like an early warning system). That helped alot and if there was any back talk at that time, the change happened immediately. We established some general rules for the house too. We sat down and had a "family meeting" everyone had input and talked about what good rules would be and what would happen when the rules were broken. The kids were surprisingly realistic and understanding about how that works. We talked about how it makes us feel when someone is mean, rude, disrespectful and how it feels to be treated well and nicely. we also talked about how Mom and Dad have lots of responsibilities and what they were so that it really helped them to understand that they need to keep up their end of the bargain too!
We have periodic, bi-weekly family meetings, more often if there are "issues" to discuss. If, as you noted, you are good at sticking to things, set a schedule with your son, not for him, agree on what is acceptable and what isn't and stick to the consequences and I'll bet that in a few weeks time you'll see a big difference. We did! Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

I have been there and I think he is just trying to see how far he can push you. It is very normal. My son also has ADHD and I have to really make sure I stic to my guns. No waving a tiny bit. He needs to have strick rules and finality. I find there is NO video games, TV, comuter...anything before schol what so ever. Then it seemed to go easier that way. The venom looks, I stearnly say, "get that look off your face now or there will be consiquences." and there will be if it doesn't change. It wont come over night but it takes sticking to it and waiting it out a bit. When my son sees other Moms who give in like at the store he tries to act up. I have litterally told him, You know it doesn't work with me and you will only end up miserable if your attitude doesn't change fast. It works really good if he o longer "sees" the other situation unfolding also. So stick to your guns, maybe talk about it when he's calm and let him know what is going to happen and what is expected. That works well with my DS.

1 mom found this helpful

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