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How do I handle my son's way of talking to me?

Hi Mark

How do I handle my son's way of talking to me? I mean he never talks nice. It is “get me this” …and “do this.”

He is 14 almost 15. He says to me that he is a teenager and that I don't understand what a teenager goes through. Little does he realize, that I have been there too!! Example: He ask me to buy him a xbox 360 yesterday and I answer him no because all he want everyday is to buy games, or whatever. And he does nothing around the house, and I mean nothing, Garbage, blue box putting his clothes away is all we ask, and he does nothing so I am fed up and I don't feel he deserves anything as he does nothing. Finally after seeing his clothes still in the basket in his room after 3 days I get pissed off and tell my husband to get on his case, But when I do that my husband has a fit and tells me that I cannot control MY KIDS, (his kids too.) Anyway my son will then do it as my husband tells him to do it. Anyway getting back to how he speaks to me. He said tome after I told him no to the game, I hate you, you are so fucking me, You are a stupid parent, and I wish you were dead.

This is how he talks everyday. What or how do I handle this? Keep him in his room indefinitely, HELP.



Hi G.,

Re: ...son's way of talking to me...

You will want to refer to the strategy entitled "When You Want Something From Your Kid" [online version - Session #3] for a detailed method. But let me elaborate a bit here:

The reasons for back talk are as varied as the personalities of the children who use it. The child could be hungry, tired, or in a transitional period. But children who talk back usually do have one thing in common: They're trying to separate from their parents and exercise control over their lives.

How should you handle these outbursts? Parents should do some behavior tracking: For three days, make notes about what your child says, what the situation was, and how you responded. See if you notice any patterns. And keep in mind that when kids talk back, something else is going on underneath. The goal is to help them express it constructively.

Six rules for fighting fair—

You won't ever be able to avoid disagreements with your teen, but you can learn how to fight fair. Adhere to the following rules:

  • Define what the problem is
  • Define how to rectify it
  • Don't attack
  • Don't belittle
  • Don't condemn
  • Figure out what can be done to prevent it in the future

Teens’ Common back talk: "Leave me alone!" and "It's all your fault!"

How to respond: Beware -- they may look like grown-ups, but teenagers are not completely rational. They think differently than adults and children, and often feel they're invulnerable. Be concerned about their responses and listen to them. Help them to see that you're on their side. If they say they want to be left alone, back off but don't give up. Take a more subtle approach. Write them a note without attacking or blaming, and say that you'd like to hear back from them. Always keep the dialogue open. Try talking in a lower voice. If you model screaming and shouting, that's what you'll get in return. And remember, you are always the authority in your house; you can set limits. As parents, you cannot be friends with your children, but you can still treat them in a friendly way.

My Out-of-Control Teen

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