Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Cut down on back talk.

What you can do

Help your child come up with a strategy that will buy her a little time to think before she responds to an authority figure. Show her how to silently count to five before reacting. Explain that there are ways to voice displeasure without being disrespectful to an adult.

Use role-playing to help your child practice responding in different situations. Stress that if she slips up and makes a knee-jerk comment, she should follow it immediately with an apology and then try to express herself in a less offensive way.

Praise your child for appropriate responses and cooperative behavior.

What you can say

“Sofia, talking back to the coach and getting in her face was a really inappropriate thing to do. It’s true that she did misread the situation. But you had the opportunity to approach this calmly and explain your side easily.”

“Instead, you called the coach an ‘idiot,’ and you paid a big price for it. She benched you for the rest of the game for mouthing off to her.”

“How else could you have handled this situation? Yes, apologizing right away for calling her an idiot would have been a good start.”

“Remember your strategy of counting to five when your sister annoys you? That would work if you get upset again with your coach. Remember to use your strategies. You came up with them, and they really do work!”

Why this will help

Kids who have impulsivity issues often do things without thinking. This includes talking back to adults in authority without any regard for the possible consequences.

Reminding your child to use the strategies she knows or to create new ones for a particular situation will help her manage her emotions and stay calm.

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