Have you ever wondered why a child talks back to you? Is your child innately angry or is it the effect of environmental interactions?
It can be a factor of nature, nurture or the interaction of both. Your child can unlearn the same way he learns. For example, toddlers use the word “mum mum” when referring to water. The same toddler unlearns the word mum mum and replaces it with water when he learns how to speak.
Using the same methods, a child can unlearn the negative responses full of anger, disrespect and replace it with the appropriate expression of his/her feelings.
The most important thing for parents is to stay calm in this journey of unlearning. There will be times when your child will react in anger and say hurtful things. For those times keep in mind the peak-end rule. Every behavior shows its intensity (goes to the peak) before it starts to decline.
Let’s say 11 years old Sara becomes angry at you for not giving her a packet of chocolate and initially, she shows her anger through arguing with you and later on she starts shouting (Peak).
If you handover the packet when she is shouting, she will learn that she can only get her desirable item when she shows intense negative behavior. This gives her the wrong message that shouting works best.
Reinforcements are the best way to increase desirable behavior. Reinforcements can be positive and negative. Positive reinforcement refers to adding something pleasant in the environment and negative reinforcement refers to removing something unpleasant from the environment.
10 years old John was being disrespectful to his mother Alice for not allowing him to go out and play. He starts saying mean things to his mother such as “I hate you”, “I don’t want a mother like you”, “you don’t love me”. Alice feels hurt and allows her son to go out and play. This permission served as a reinforcement for the mouthy child and for the next time he knows what he has to say to get the permission.
Rather than allowing negative behavior, parents can use reinforcement to deal with angry and disrespectful child. Whenever your child listens to you without being disrespectful say him thank you, give him a smile or tell him that you are grateful to have him. Give children rewards that are meaningful for them.
For some individuals appreciation through words is enough while for other individuals it can be a hug or 10 more minutes of watching television. In the above scenario, Alice can ask her son to help her with the dishes and then he can go out to play for half an hour or she can ask him to stay home and get extra 15 minutes of fun time with cousins.
Anger and sarcasm shouldn’t be the tools when you are dealing with sassy kids. Sassy kids try to attain power by saying rude comments. Parents shouldn’t reply in the same sarcastic tone as sassy kid does. These kinds of exacerbated predicaments can be mitigated by choosing better words to say.
Don’t let your kid control you and make you powerless through his angry words. Don’t let your insecurities take hold of you. Don’t shout at them or criticize their behavior at that moment. Criticizing doesn’t help anyone grow whether it’s a tree or a human being.
Power and control are what your kids looking for. Provide them situations where they feel powerful. Make them feel that they have control over their life. For example: let your daughter choose the T-shirt she wants to wear today. Ask your kids if they would like to clean the table or pick up the toys first.
Ask them to choose between washing dishes and cleaning their room. In a situation where the kid feels upset about not having a new toy.
Ask him to decide between staying upset for something he doesn’t have or playing with the toys he already has. These little opportunities make kids feel powerful and help them to make the right choice for themselves.
When they will realize that they have control over their life choices they wouldn’t run behind finding excuses to show disrespect to you. Their self-esteem would improve developing a sense of responsibility and decisiveness.
Parents easily identify sassy kids and an element of disrespect in their words. let’s dig deep to deal with angry disrespectful child and find the unmet needs of your child that make him shout. As we have discussed above, some kids do it to gain power, others might do it to get attention of their parents. Anxiety is also shown as anger.
Kid’s perceived stress or danger in the environment is enough to trigger the flight and fight response in the body. Find out the needs behind behavior and meet those needs. Make your child feel safe around you. If he is shouting for attention, tell him that he has your attention even when he doesn’t shout. Say, “I would love to listen to you. I understand you better when you speak with a softer tone”.
Our subconscious mind has unlimited source of power that helps us develop all belief-systems and habits. If we are given any suggestion consciously, we often refuse to accept as these interfere with our perceptions.
It’s proven by researches that at night timings when we are sleeping, our subconscious keeps on recording information from surroundings and absorbs directly without any resistance from our conscious mind.
So, a sassy child can be exposed to auto-suggestions. The moment the child is in sleep phase, the parents must address the suggestions they want their child to accept such as ‘You are a peaceful soul’, ‘You are so calm and grateful’, ‘You are gentle’. Try it with your mouthy child every night and see how your positive words can work wonders.
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