There are many schools of thought when it comes to changing a child's bad behavior. Some parents are "talkers" meaning they will talk their children to death hoping that at some point the behavior will change. There are other parents who are more "hands on"; these are the parents that will not hesitate to try spanking change into their children. Last but not least, there are the parents who prefer a nice combination of both methods, talk first, spank later. I would say that I'm more of a combo kind of mom. I will talk to you over and over again until it seems that talking just isn't cutting the mustard. At that point all bets are off.
Prime example, my 10 year-old son tends to have a habit of talking back, not looking at me when I'm talking to him and all other kinds of crazy things that kids do when they want to "flex up" and try their parental figures. This burns me up and I know when I'm reaching my boiling point but even then I'm always willing to give him a face-to-face warning that he's on thin ice. But guess what? My daughter told me that he just thinks I'm blowing smoke when I give him these warnings. So all of his crying and pleading is just an act, he could care less about my idle threats from what my trusty informant tell me. Well, I have an answer for that and it doesn't involve talking. The next time my son talks back or gives me some other kind of disrespectful feedback I'm going to quietly remove his door off the hinges without uttering one word. After that I'm going to disconnect his television and take all but one pair of shoes out of his room. When that's all done I'm going to retreat to my room and continue doing whatever it was I was doing before he tried me.
Kids understand actions very well and sometimes our words lose total effectiveness without our even knowing it. Who would have thought that when I'm yelling and carrying on that he's only pretending to care? Thanks to my daughter I realized I have to step it up with my son to show him and not tell him that I'm not playing with him. Stop warning your kids to death and do something. They always remind me of the time that I bought them ice cream from McDonald's then proceeded to throw both cones out of the window because I heard them arguing over who had the most. I guess my lack of communication is what made them uneasy so at the end of the day, less talk speaks volumes.
Sid Powell is the NAACP-nominated screenplay writer of 'Somebody's Child', a mother of two, and the owner of SIDPo Productions. Read more about how SIDPo Productions is 'Changing Everything' at www.sidpoproductions.com.