Summary and book reviews of Backtalk by Audrey Ricker

Backtalk

4 Steps to Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids

by Audrey Ricker, Carolyn Crowder

Backtalk
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  • Paperback:
    Feb 1998, 176 pages

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Book Summary

Two experts share their simple and specific four-step program for ending backtalk and restoring balance in relationships between parents and children, from preschoolers to teens.

"So what? All the other kids get to do it!"

Few behavioral problems challenge and frustrate parents, caregivers, and teachers as does verbal rudeness in children of any age. Reinforced by the wise-cracking kids on TV and in the movies, backtalk has become all too common among today's youngsters. But there is nothing cute about this behavior. Remarks like "Yeah, right," "Big deal," and "Make me" -- from children as young as three -- get in the way of real communication between parents and kids, and can also be detrimental to a child's social and intellectual development.

Now two experts in the field share their simple and specific four-step program for ending backtalk and restoring balance in relationships between parents and children, from preschoolers to teens. You'll learn how to recognize backtalk, how to choose and enact a response that will make sense to you and the backtalker, and when to disengage from the struggle and move forward. Full of advice and encouragement as well as suggestions on how to keep track of what works and what doesn't, Backtalk can be put to use immediately, before you hear another "Whatever."

A note from Audrey Rieker: As a parent in the early 1960s who believed in progressiveness, I allowed my son to say anything he wanted whenever he wanted. By the time he was four, he had been expelled from the city's best nursery school for talking back to the teacher. Most frightening of all, he had begun to accompany his backtalk with acting-out behavior, such as throwing a chair across the room during an appointment with a psychologist. That doctor told me that my son was in a phase of self-expression that he would soon grow out of. But he was so completely out of hand that I was not sure he would ever get self-control on his own.

Though the psychologist told me I was risking psychological damage to my son, I allowed my new husband to discipline him verbally when he backtalked. Soon the boy not only became pleasant to live with but was able to attend a new preschool and make many more friends. I consider the stopping of my son's backtalk a turning point in his life. I'm sure he would not have gotten over it by himself, and I believe he would have landed in serious trouble with teachers, family, and friends.

Introduction

If you picked up this book, chances are you are having trouble with backtalk from your children. You've probably been told that you shouldn't pay attention to it, that it's just the way children express themselves these days.

But our position is that you should do something about it. Your children need you to do something about it. With this book as your guide, you will learn a pattern of responding that will enable you to deal with backtalk immediately, every time it happens. When children are allowed to get away with backtalk, they don't learn to have respect for others.

Dr. Ricker wanted to write this book because she saw that her students' backtalk was completely out of hand, whether they were in elementary school or college. As a mother she had to deal with backtalk. She saw that firm consequences not only eliminated the backtalk problem but also helped the child. ...

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Publishers Weekly

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.

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