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Behavior Makeover: Talking Back

Behavior Makeover Plan
Start by asking yourself if you remember talking back to your parents or other authority figures as a kid. Did your siblings? What was your parents' response? Did it work? Now think about kids today. Reports say disrespectful, sassy kids who defy authority are on the rise. What might be causing the escalation? Where do kids learn to talk back?

Now it's time to take action to begin making over your kid's behavior. Use your Makeover Journal to write down your thoughts and develop your plan.

  1. Take a good look at your child's behavior and think about what especially bugs you. What are the types of disrespect, and when are they happening?

  2. Determine what happened right before this bad behavior that provoked the disrespect in the first place.

  3. Identify how you typically respond to your kid. Ask yourself why it isn't working.

  4. Reread the four steps to squelching talking back. If possible, discuss them with your partner or another parent.

  5. Recognize that in most cases, Steps One and Two are mandatory for behavior makeovers. If those steps eliminate your kid's back talk, then skip to Step Four. If not, try Step Three, and set consequences that are appropriate for your child.
Makeover Pledge
How will you use the four steps and the Behavior Makeover Plan to help your kid achieve long-term change? On the lines below, write exactly what you agree to do within the next twenty-four hours to begin your kid's behavior makeover.

Makeover Results
All behavior makeovers take hard work, constant practice, and parental reinforcement. Each step your kid takes toward change may be a small one, so be sure to acknowledge and congratulate every one of them along the way. It takes a minimum of twenty-one days to see real results, so don't give up too soon. Remember that if one strategy doesn't work, another will. Write your child's weekly progress on the lines below. Keep track of daily progress in your Makeover Journal.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3


1-2-3-Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12, by Thomas W. Phelan (Child Management, 1996). A simple, effective child management program conducted by instituting a system of counting and time-outs, delivered in a straightforward and unemotional manner.

Backtalk: Four Steps to Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids, by Audrey Ricker and Carolyn Crowder (New York: Fireside, 1998). A commonsense guide to stopping disrespectful behavior.

Discipline Without Shouting or Spanking: Practical Solutions to the Most Common Preschool Behavior Problems, by Jerry Wychoff and Barbara Unell (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1985). Nonviolent options for correcting the most common behavior problems for preschoolers, including tantrums, whining, negativity, back talk, and aggression.

Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka (New York: HarperCollins, 1991). An excellent resource for parents of difficult kids with loads of practical advice for handling aggression, acting out, and tantrums.

Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child: Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries, by Robert J. MacKenzie (Roseville, Calif.: Prima Publishing, 2001). If your kid constantly misbehaves and ignores your requests for proper behavior, this book is worth exploring.

The Manipulative Child: How to Regain Control and Raise Resilient, Resourceful, and Independent Kids, by Patrick Cotter and E. W. Swihart (New York: Bantam, 1998). How to say no without guilt and get your kids back on track.

<< Previous: 4 Steps

From No More Misbehavin' by Michele Borba, Ed.D. Copyright © 2003 by Michele Borba. All rights reserved. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Buy the book at www.amazon.com.

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