Why and when to ignore your children

Children are sponges, especially younger kids, and at times, this can be a blessing. They are quick learners and inspired by the smallest wonders. But it’s also a curse when you let slip a “bad” word in a moment of frustration. All of a sudden, it’s “word of the week” at home, in public, and maybe even at school!

And if your child is beyond the age of simply repeating curse words, you may be dealing with the more complex issue of back talk. In either case, it is natural to react quickly to try to shut down the bad behavior. However, this immediate attention may be having the opposite effect. While ignoring your children may sound counterintuitive, family coach Catherine Pearlman shows how this help you get to the core of the issue—and keeps you from reinforcing bad behavior. Here are her suggestions for dealing with cursing and back talk.

  1. Ignore it. When you ask your child to clean their room before they can see their friends and they respond with an outburst, the very first step in effectively dealing with the issue is to ignore it. Your children are looking for a reaction. By ignoring the outburst, you will have a better vantage point from which to address the underlying issue.
  2. Acknowledge the anger. Even if you’ve ignored the outburst, you may still feel the need to address it once the heat has lifted. But try to avoid this by instead addressing the anger that caused it. No matter what your children say—a threat to do something dramatic or hurtful words directed at you—they often don’t mean it. They simply want to get a rise out of you because they are angry. Cut to the chase, skip over their words, and dig down by acknowledging the underlying anger.
  3. Discuss the issue. Simply reprimanding your children does not give them the chance to flesh out their anger. Sure, you may not be immediately interested in why they feel the need to say nasty things, but it will help them discover the root for themselves. By discussing their anger with them, you’ll not only help yourself by understanding the issue more intimately, you’ll help them to become more aware of their own feelings and outbursts.

These tips were taken from IGNORE IT, available at these retailers:

Barnes & Noble
Hudson Booksellers

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