How do I stop my child from getting a smart mouth?

Elizabeth - posted on 12/23/2009 ( 22 moms have responded )

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I have a child that likes to talk back. Punishment does not work ! What do I do ????

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Carla - posted on 01/01/2010

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I to have tried EVERYTHING with my 11 year old daughter and now puberty is hitting so its getting worse I'm at my whits end nothing seems to work.

Corrie - posted on 02/08/2010

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I have a four year old who has started getting really mouthy lately. I know from working in child care of many years that the more of a reaction the child gets for the undesirable behavior the more often they will do it. What I do with my daughter is simply remind her that she is NOT the mommy and it is not okay to talk to me that way. If she continues, then I don't let her finish her statement and tell her that when she can be nice I will listen. A lot depends on the age of your child. They tend to push the limits more starting age 3. By four they think they are SO grown up try to emulate what they see.

Cheryl - posted on 02/02/2010

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my old school day care provider puts a dab of hot sauce on the tongues of kids who have smart mouths or lie. the thought is, your mouth hurt me so your mouth gets to hurt

[deleted account]

Hi
I am not an expert by any means, especially because my son is barely 9, so I'm not near the tween/teen years.
In the parenting class I'm taking, they talk about using a tool called "planned ignoring" but it is only meant for compliant behavior.
For example, if you tell your child to do something, then they start to fuss and whine and complain, BUT they are starting to move towards actually doing what was asked of them, then it works.
It needs to be planned so you can prepare yourself for the onslaught of whining and just turn away from them and remain silent...not giving any attention to their bad behavior, but remaining close enough to watch that they are doing what was asked of them.
The tip also was, you must be consistent because it usually gets worse before it gets better.
As long as you remain neutral after you've delivered the message of what you want, and do not feed the bad behavior, eventually the child learns they don't get the attention they are seeking when they behave badly.
After the planned ignoring works and the child has been compliant, then you can discuss the situation and praise what they did well to reinforce their good behavior.
Good Luck!

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Nicole - posted on 04/19/2012

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Angie Tuttle...your post on 1/02/2010 below... I am in the same boat with you... I have an 11 year old nephew that lives with me, and even though he is not laughing about it 85% of the time, I also think he gets a kick outta my anger. He must thinks its normal for me to get angry over "things that dont matter" in his words, all the time. I teach him something, he doesnt listen, I have to repeat myself with him everyday for the same things, and when I reach my braking point, he gets yelled at. When he gets yelled at he smarts off, gets an attitude, talks under his breath, flinches at me if I get in his face to make it clear, makes disrespectful faces, etc.... He has a problem with following directions, rules, regulations, and authority. It drives me nuts. his 9 year old brother on the other hand, knows when to shut his mouth and listen. And he generally learns his lesson as well. But only thinks thats becasue he is learning from his older brothers mistakes....

[deleted account]

I have been struggling with the same thing with my six yr old son who is a twin. We have tried every thing! At this point I meet him at eye level and tell him his choice is to either stop being disrespectful or go to his room. When I am consistant and don't overreact it seems to work. For me the key is to remain calm

Gina - posted on 02/05/2010

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Don't respond. Just tell them, then make them do it. If you argue back, they will keep arguing. If you don't respond, they don't get anything and will get tired of it.

Lisa - posted on 02/03/2010

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Be strong and don't give in or you'll have a life time of problems. Tell them that is not acceptable behavior, that you won't stand for it and take away something they really like (ex. cell phone, tv for a week, laptop, video games) It really works.

Lyn - posted on 02/02/2010

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We are in a similar situation. My daughter is starting to get a "potty" mouth. We have started to say - if you do not change your "choice" of words, items that are her favorites are taken away for a time period. That is like her life - Noooooooo, don't take that away and she starts to understand (at least for that moment) that the choice SHE made with using her mouth, that was the wrong one.

Summer - posted on 02/01/2010

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I hate to say this but if you and you ex are on decent terms you should get him to lay down the law and remind your son that although things aren't working between you and him it is not ok to speak to his mother disrespectfully. If for no other reason than to maintain the good values he's been raised with. When my parents split my oldest brother was 17 and that's how my parents fixed it. Even tho you're no longer together he needs to see you two united together even if its just for the cause of putting him back in line. He's scared he's lost his family and hurting but if he can still feel the security that comes from having all the people he loves still in his life he'll go back to normal. Just because you got divorced doesn't mean that either of you can slack on your consistency....as for the other moms my little girl just turned 3 and she gets a little sassy maybe once or twice a month. What my husband and I do is to allow her to express herself but in her room. We make sure to tell her that she is not in trouble but she needs to settle down and when she is finished she can come out then explain how to articulate what it is she was trying to say. It wasn't easy at first but after a few times she got it and now she's hardly ever that way

Adrienne - posted on 01/05/2010

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I have an 8yr son who is independent and likes to talk back,I have found that ignoring some and saying hey watch how you talk to me, most of the time, generally tones him down most of the time. Being punished all the time did nothing for us so I choose now what I will let him get away with and remind him about the rest, is a hard line to find as it keeps moving but moving with it has kept me mostly sane LOL

Brittany - posted on 01/05/2010

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Well my son is three years old and he has been talking back to me for a while now... I just started taking things away from him that he likes. and if he is good (by being good for more then just a little bit like a hour or two) he gets his stuff back... He is starting to get better with his mouth now knowing that he gets his stuff taken away if he does it.

Coleen - posted on 01/04/2010

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it is also a transitional phase of the fear that he is not a boy anymore but he's coming into a man's world and boy's in particular find this very frustrating.He needs to focus on what is going to become of him in this life time and parents can only guide them to a certain degree.He certainly has issues and the only way he knows how to deal with it is to rant and rave and rebel.My 16 yr old was trying this with me and I found out why she was so angry, she started smoking and it was making her very angry cause she couldnt do it at home as we do not accept it.So she had this addiction that she could only feed when she was out and about with her friends and then had to starve herself of this addiction when she was at home....It got to the point that I actually slapped her face,it was so intense before I found out the reason why she was so highly strung that i threatened to send her to a therapist.It didnt get that far and the fact that it was out in the open that she had this little secret was enough to not only resolve her attitude but it took the interest away from smoking too. Maybe there are some underlying issues that he might have but maybe doesnt know how to reveal them...could be food for thought

Coleen - posted on 01/04/2010

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Well the ongoing dispute on smart mouth children...I know when I was growing up what happened to me when I thought I would try to be smart....Not these days everything is so politically correct and the law does not provide any comforts im afraid. My niece is 17 yrs old and has a disgusting mouth towards not only her mother but towards her mother's boyfriend of over 8yrs as well. She has hit her mother and boyfriend and it got so heated that her boyfriend put his hands out to defend himself (in the private areas as well as his head)and accidentally hit her. It wasnt hard but she had a small red mark on her face. She made such a big deal about things that welfare was called in on my sister. Her boyfriend who wouldnt even killed a fly if he had a baseball bat, had to go and do an anger managment course(he's never even raised his voice at the children or anyone for that matter)otherwise not only were welfare going to remove the 17 yr old but their 8 yr old as well..That's the sort of support they received from child agencies, there is all the support in the world for children who cry victims of abuse, but there is nothing for parents who are victims of their children abusing them. Apparantly there is not enough reported cases of this for there to be a legal course of action. My niece has everything done for her,given to her, supplied for her, she really has nothing to complain about.Until one night the 17yr old actually threatened to burn my sister's house and have her car stolen...well the law acted differently then. She actually admitted to the officer that she had threatened them with that and HE kicked her out,otherwise he was going to arrest her for admitting to do a crime.....hahahha...People are so quick to judge the parents when children are disrepectful. She now wants to go back home...go figure grass isn't greener on the other side after all!.My point is now that the law has been introduced in her life the rules have changed slightly, she now sees that even the parents have rights too.My sister has never been the same since she is medicated with valium to calm her and and panadeine forte to comfort her pain as her daughter pushed her over a lounge. If she goes back home she knows that if she puts a foot wrong she can and will be removed from the house.Up until then my sister was powerless to do anything. For older children who disrepect this is now a tool to use against them for younger children taking away a few creature comforts until they improve themselves..Never-the-less it's not against the law to slap your child from the shoulder down..so if in doubt take a swing,in my family your never too young or old for a good slap!!, you have to be cruel to be kind sometimes no-one likes to do it but you need to take control while you still have the power to.....

Alicia - posted on 01/04/2010

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If this just started maybe he feels that he is an adult. Explain to him that adults take care of themselves and even when they do they are not disrepectful to their parents. Also ask him his feelings about the divorce his attitude change may have something to do with that. But nevertheless he is to respect you as his mother and let him know that he can express his feelings but mouthing offf will not be tolerated.

Angie - posted on 01/02/2010

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I truly think there is a point when it's just not worth arguing with a pre-teen/teen. I am trying to figure out a way to ignore the behavior, because my son seems toget a kick out of my anger...

Dianne - posted on 12/28/2009

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Be consistent. Explain that this is unacceptable. Time out in chair beside where you are working for minutes equal to child's age. Treat when he/she can go 7 days without smart mouth.

Sarah - posted on 12/27/2009

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Man.. I have the same issue!!! My 5 yr old girl is very demanding and nasty when she does not get her way!!! Our solution has been to send her to her room but she is sent there so often i dont think she cares!!!!

Elizabeth - posted on 12/26/2009

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Quoting Kirsty:

How old is your child? my son is 3 and is starting to talk back to me. We have started to put him in the naughty corner when he is being rude. It take time but he is getting a lot better and finds that if he is nice and respectful he gets treats! (not all the time of course but you have to reward good behaviour)
Make sure you explain that it is bad behaviour and you are not going to tolerate it.
Good luck and Merry Christmas


thanks, my son is 18yrs old in his last days of high school just recently divorced

Kirsty - posted on 12/23/2009

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How old is your child? my son is 3 and is starting to talk back to me. We have started to put him in the naughty corner when he is being rude. It take time but he is getting a lot better and finds that if he is nice and respectful he gets treats! (not all the time of course but you have to reward good behaviour)
Make sure you explain that it is bad behaviour and you are not going to tolerate it.
Good luck and Merry Christmas

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