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Backtalk: 4 Steps to Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids Paperback – March 10, 1998


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Backtalk: 4 Steps to Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids + How to Unspoil Your Child Fast: A Speedy, Complete Guide to Contented Children and Happy Parents + How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (March 10, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068484124X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684841243
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Imagine this scenario. You pick up your son at school, and ask him how his day went. He says, "You always ask me that. Get a life, Mom." You feel hurt, insulted, frustrated. Silent, you drive him to band practice. In this scene, experts Audrey Ricker and Carolyn Crowder would argue that both of you lose. What is a better response? Tell Billy matter-of-factly that his comment was inappropriate, and that you aren't going to drive him to band practice. When he, suddenly more polite, tells you he has to go to band practice, you tell him he can practice the next day at school. You stand your ground, without arguing with him.

Backtalk--fairly easy to recognize--may be wrecking your family life. As flip or relatively harmless as it may seem, verbal rudeness gets in the way of real communication between parents and kids. It may be holding your children back at school, and ultimately in life. Ricker and Crowder have teamed up to create a four-step program--simple but not easy--to create a backtalk-free home. Through a large number of all-too-familiar-sounding sample "backtalk scenarios" and bullet-point lists, this book explains how to recognize backtalk for what it is, how to choose and enact a response that will make sense to you and your child, and when to disengage from the struggle and move forward. Whether your preschooler is saying "Bad Mommy" or your teenager is saying, "That's lame, Dad," Backtalk suggests ways for you to regain a sense of balance in your relationships with your children.

From Publishers Weekly

Ricker, a teacher, and Crowder, a psychologist, present a compact plan for dealing with backtalking kids. The authors define their topic as including such phenomena (common among teenagers, but quite likely to strike much earlier) as sudden rudeness, nasty tone, inflected syllables, hostility and bullying control of the conversation. They make clear that their advice pertains only to mentally healthy children and not to those with serious neurological or psychiatric disabilities. While allowing that respectful disagreement or assertive communication in kids is appropriate, the authors suggest that parents nip backtalk in the bud. Their four deceptively simple steps include recognizing backtalk when it occurs; choosing a logical consequence; enacting the consequence; and disengaging from the struggle. If a child is rude at dinner, for instance, one "logical consequence" is to remove that child's dinner. They claim that if parents refuse to give in to backtalk, their homes will soon be characterized by positive communication rather than by sullen faces, eye rolling and angry sarcasm. Peppered with realistic dialogues and case histories, the book, while hardly eye-opening, will be useful for parents who want to maintain a mutually respectful dialogue with their growing children.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book to every parent.
Roma Barba
If your home is unpleasant because of people -- any people -- talking or behaving rudely with one another, this book can help.
Ellen Etc.
I read this book in one sitting recently - it's short and an easy read.
Cynthia L. Armistead

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

168 of 169 people found the following review helpful By Quaker Annie on September 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you have young children (under 14) who 'talk back' to you, you may find this book to be of some help in undoing what can feel like a hopeless battle. My own 9-year old began talking back when he got into first grade, picking up snappy statements from TV and peers. I tried to excuse it at first as just the way modern kids talk to modern parents (I have offspring as old as 32, all boys, who never talked back this way).
After deciding this really was unacceptable behavior, and recognizing that left unattended it was getting worse, I started taking steps to stop it. This book has been one of the aids (not the solution). It doesn't expect the parent to make a friend or equal of the child (rationalize, debate, etc.), but it also doesn't encourage setting up a dictatorship. As with many things, the solution to problems is sometimes in the difficult to maintain moderation arena, which actually requires more work by the parent.
I like this book because it worked - despite being difficult to do at first, once the child gets the message, repeat performances are rare and easy to stop. The book itself is short and to the point, with just four simple steps to follow. They are common sense - I suspect most of us who have this problem will recognize them - but busy, often-stressed parents will appreciate the gentle support and reminders this book offers.
1) Recognize what is and isn't backtalk. (if it hurts, embarrasses, annoys you, its backtalk. If the child is just relaying his feelings about something, its an opinion) 2) Choose an appropriate consequence (unlike 'punishment', a consequence is a result that makes sense to the child) 3) Enact the consequence 4) Disengage from the struggle with the backtalker (don't take it personally, or you're doomed).
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74 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Amy J on December 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book teaches adults how to teach children in their lives not to speak rudely to others. It is amazing to realize how early some children learn to backtalk, and how quickly you can break them of that habit (the sooner the better!) The book tells you how to recognize the difference between rude backtalk and requests for topics of conversation (sometimes the difference can be hazy.) It also shows you how to immediately enact a consequence so that the child is told unequivocally that their behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. This book has no room for "IF you do this again, I will do this..." It jumps right in with both feet - "BECAUSE you were rude and that makes me feel bad/sad/angry, I don't feel like doing this nice thing that I had said I would do for you." When the child sees immediate consequences, he learns very quickly and the behavior can be eliminated within a few weeks. This book is straightforward and exceedingly helpful for adults who interact with children of all ages.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By mrsullivan@juno.com on June 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
it is very rudimentary. I would like more emphasis on what's needed beyond insisting on respect. If the parents don't model respect for others and themselves, the child won't have any idea what it looks like.
I have used the methods in this book successfully, but slightly modified for my 5 year old daughter so that she won't feel broadsided by consequences before she knows what's expected of her. I tell her first when she's nearing a boundary, and she's eager to learn the rules.
This book DOES give concrete advice about what to do when it feels as if there's nothing you can do. I recommended it to any thoughtful parent who feels guilty about having to set limits.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read the book in one afternoon and immediately put the suggestions to work. My 3 1/2 year back-talker caught on immediately. Within 3 days, her behavior had changed. No more arguing, no more back-talk, no more negotiating, no more hysterics and temper-tantrums. The recommended method in this book doesn't mean you have to become a monster. Most of my time with my children is full of loving cuddling time with lots of hugs, kisses, praises and self-esteem building encouragement. My husband continues with our old ineffective method of discipline. As such, my daughter continues to argue with him and back-talks to him.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia L. Armistead on December 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read this book in one sitting recently - it's short and an easy read. I started using some of the recommended techniques that same day with our kids and they do work. Yes, they are simple, and most of them are things I already knew about setting boundaries - but sometimes it's helpful to have reminders and specific examples! I've used the techniques with other rude people as well, and while they're generally shocked to hear someone say "I will not interact with you if you will not be civil" it does work. Rudeness is, unfortunately, rampant in our society - this book should be required reading for anyone who's unhappy about it.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "nrgg" on January 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
After a miserable Christmas vacation with kids squabbling and backtalking, I found this book on Amazon and ordered it. As soon as I got it, I began to put its principles into practice and immediately saw a difference in my kids. Our home life is calmer and more loving. I feel more respected and worthy of respect. Backtalk is based on the work of Rudolf (?) Dreikurs. I had taken a childrearing course and read other materials based on Dreikurs' ideas, so I was somewhat familiar with the ideas of natural and logical consequences. But this book, addressing a specific childrearing issue, makes the methodology simple to understand and put into practice. Highly recommended.
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