Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What To Do About Back Talk

Yesterday I wrote about coming up with effective discipline strategies in my home.  I generally use a consequential discipline policy, or a "let the punishment fit the crime" approach.  I also talked about what happens when something new crops up that becomes an habitual problem and you find yourself needing to come up with a new discipline.

In my home, this new issue is taking back, sassing, being disrespectful, whatever you want to call it.  Thankfully, to date, it has not been anything big yet.  It's more the little times when a child talks back.  When we're eating dinner and I tell a child to eat their vegetables and they tell me no.  When I instruct a child to go take a shower because they've been wearing the same clothes for two days in a row (how did that get past me) and they say some smart comment because they want to keep playing.

Or when I tell a child that it's time to play outside and they respond by saying, "Why don't you play outside?" in a disrespectful way.  And my personal favorite (can you sense the sarcasm?) is when I ask a child to do something and rather than just do it, they respond with, "Why do I have to do it when [insert other siblings' names here] doesn't?"

Like I promised yesterday, I had a discussion with Hubby about what we should do to address the problem.  Unfortunately, Hubby was less than helpful.  And I quote: I came up with the last idea about the stairs, it's your turn.  Thanks, honey.

Seeing no help from that avenue, I turned to the internet.  Ideas ranged from the hands off approach-ignore it-to the more hands on approach-spank them.  One site suggested duct tape, but only if it wouldn't land you in trouble with Child Protective Services.  Hmmm....  I decided to continue my search.

All five of my parenting books--a rather eclectic collection

I pulled out every parenting book I own.  All five of them.  Again, nothing that really excited me.  I don't want to ignore it and send them to their rooms until they're ready to be respectful.  I don't want to spank them.  One book suggested chores.  While I may end up resorting to chores, I want something that's quicker, easier, and will leave a more lasting impression.

This morning I turned to God for inspiration during my morning prayer time.  I first flipped through the Bible a little and didn't really find anything.  So I sat there and thought about what would happen if someone were disrespectful to a king.  He would grovel and beg for forgiveness, praying that he wouldn't end up in the dungeon.  So now I had this image of a man on his knees crawling across the throne room, begging for forgiveness.  Which led to my inspiration.

The punishment for back talk will be having to crawl up and down our hallway as many times as their age.  So four times for Joy, etc.  Upon completing this, they will come to Hubby or me and ask for forgiveness.

I know that this idea will never make it into any parenting books.  It's silly, it's not Biblical, it doesn't involve pain (spanking) or misery (chores).  But it's easy, enforceable, and hopefully it will be effective.  If not, it's back to the drawing board.

1 comment:

  1. One way we deal with poor attitudes including backtalk, is making our children practice. "Uh-oh, that wasn't the right response! Try again." We pretend minor verbal disrespect or irritability is due to tiredness or because the child "forgot" and needs to practice the right response. I'm sure it works better because they're still young, but they usually get it right by the fourth try, if not always the second. If they can't respond with a good attitude we send them back to bed until they're ready to respond nicely to whatever we've told them to do, under the pretext that they must be tired to act so grumpy.