I pick up piles of books on my weekend forays through thrift shops and yard sales. I sell many of them on eBay and I keep a few to add to my collection. BACKtalk by Audrey Ricker and Carolyn Crowder was one such book picked up, and I'm not even sure which pile it came from.
I'm keeping this book.
I picked it up and looked at it and wondered how I would describe it in order to sell it, and when I looked up I had finished it. It is not a short book, it's 176 pages, but it is clearly and well written and was effortless to read.
As the parent of four teenagers, backtalk is an issue that has come up. As the teacher of 150 high school students, it is one of the more unpleasant things to deal with. After reading this book, I believe I have added some tools to my tool box for dealing with my own children and the children that I teach.
The book presents a four step program for handling unpleasant backtalk from young children, teenagers and even adult children. The first step is to recognize what actually is backtalk. The text states that "if it hurts you, embarrasses you, annoys you, or leaves you feeling helpless, it's backtalk." I've personally been on the receiving end of some zingers that took my breath away. Sometimes though, our children make very frank statements that cut us, but are NOT backtalk. Part of the trick is to realize what is honest communication and what is just plain rude. The book provides some helpful guidelines for making the distinction.
Step two deals with choosing an appropriate consequence. Again, the book gives any number of suggestions along with case studies that show how to choose the right consequence. One of the case studies discusses a child who goes to spend the night with a friend. After several hours with the smart alec friend the child calls home and demands that her mother bring over the VCR so that the children can watch a movie. The mother told her that she had plans to watch a movie and the child replied that the mom should forget about it and just drive right over with the VCR. The mom drove right over, but picked up her backtalking child and took her home. This certainly seems like a VERY obvious consequence, but often things are not so plain to see.
Step three involves enacting the consequence. The appropriate response to a rude child demanding to go somewhere would be to deny the request based on bad behavior. Often this can cause the bad behavior to escalate which leads to step four--how to disengage from a struggle. The best suggestion on how to win the game is not to play.
BACKtalk is a really helpful book filled with intelligent and sensible suggestions. The twenty case studies cover a number of situations and demonstrate ideas that work, and a few that don't. If backtalk has ever been an issue in your life, you might find this book VERY helpful.
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Oct 5, 2010
Feb 12, 2011 09:06 PM UTC
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A guide for parents who wish to take a firm stand on backtalk. The authors present frank and direct methods for responding to the problem using a simple but effective four-step approach. The hoped-for results are better communication between parent and child and positive change within the child. The authors also advise parents on situations where their zero-tolerance approach might be undermined by others.