I care for a four-year-old with a terrible habit of whining, a moody tween, and a teen that talks-back. I admit when the teen talks-back it enrages me.
I know it’s normal for youngsters to whine and for tweens to be moody so why do I have so much difficulty dealing with a teen that talks-back? I typically react emotionally wanting to defend myself and I am ashamed to admit that I have even yelled back at him. That’s why I’m so glad I stumbled upon the book Stop Reacting and Start Responding: 108 Ways to Discipline Consciously and Become the Parent You Want to Be by Sharon Silver
The first thing the book taught me is instead of screaming back, “Don’t you dare talk to me that way!” or “Who do you think you are?” or “You’re g-r-o-u-n-d-e-d!” doesn’t work. Instead, I need to stay silent.
The author, Sharon Silver, explains that screaming and punishing in response doesn’t address or resolve the original feelings that caused the child to be disrespectful. Yelling at a child doesn’t teach a child how to manage the intense tidal wave he or she is feeling. Punishing them makes them swallow their intense emotions and will only cause those same feelings to erupt again in a different form.
The book explains that children don’t get angry on purpose. They may not even know how they got so mad. Just like a baby cries because that’s how they communicate, a disrespectful angry outcry from a child is simply a way of expressing they feel out of control, are scared, and that they have feelings of their own.
The author explains that intense feelings are part of growing up. As adults we need to show kids that they are safe and there are other ways to react then retailiation or screaming (which is what I’m used to doing to defend myself against the disrespectful tone and comments made by the children).
Silver explains that when a child is disrespectful we should disengage. You might say, “When you get this upset, you need to calm down first, and release your anger (through exercise, or whatever the rule is in your house) before talking to me.”
Once the child has released the anger, invite the child to talk: “Now please begin with an apology and let’s talk about your feelings calmly.”
By keeping silent and disengaging when talked back to, you end the cycle of disrespectful communication between the two of you.
Children test us in different ways. But, punishing them for every little thing they do wrong may have a negative impact when they become teens. Silver explains how discipline empowers a child to be responsible but repeated punishment, can create rebellion.
And most importantly, “Don’t just tell your child what you don’t want him to do,” Silver says. “Tell him what you want him to do instead of what he’s doing.”
You can purchase your own copy by clicking the link above or below:
Stop Reacting and Start Responding: 108 Ways to Discipline Consciously and Become the Parent You Want to Be