Stopping Sassy/Backtalking

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by jennd23, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    I can deal with so many things, bad behavior, flat out defiance, meltdowns but sassy talk/backtalk just really rubs me the wrong way and ticks me off.

    HOW do I stop it?

    He does this thing where when I say something he doesn't like (usually when he's doing something he shouldn't) he'll say "EEEEEHHHH" and do his hand like a duck mouth (I have no better way to describe it). It just really gets under my skin.

    So, I told him that I was going to charge him a dime every time he did it and that set him off. He LOST it. That's not fair, I should pay HIM everytime I'm mean (which is all the time according to him). And I understand with his Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) he's really concerned about fair but gimme a break. He has to learn that there are rules and sometimes punishmen ISN"T fair. For most things I try to do redirection, positive discipline, token systems, but what do I do to stop this?

    I feel like a bad parent because I don't know how to punish him. If I take away tokens when he does something he loses control and its pointless so I stopped doing that. One therapist suggested changing to positive mode so when he's being a little, well, you know, say "Ok! Double token time! Do XYZ with a good attitude and earn double tokens!!!" Which works sometimes but I can't seem to figure out how to switch it with this sassiness.

    I know this seems little but its just so constant and I'm picking this battle because it drives me up the wall. I mean I posted a few weeks ago about getting spit on and not losing it but this back talk is just out of control.

    And you're probably going to tell me to read TEC. I need to get it out and finish it. I know this.
  2. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi Jenn. I understand! I also find my son's "backtalking" very aggravating - and his is usually a lot stronger than this duck imitation you describe :) I know of no other way than repeatedly saying to my son that this hurts my feelings, hurts other people's feelings, makes people think he is a naughty child (when you are NOT! I always say). I think this makes a little difference but then he forgets all over again...
    As for punishment, I just don't think it works with these kids. As you say, it just ups the ante and makes them more oppositional. Rewards, as we know, work far better. I'm sorry I don't have more specific suggestions for you about the ugly talking... I await the other replies with interest!
  3. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    Oh trust me the EHHH isn't the worst of it, just that combined with the hand gesture annoys me the most LOL

    And I just wanted to clarify that i know there IS fair punishment, but he will never see it that way. I didn't mean I'm giving out unfair puhishments.
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    As much as I do see it as sassiness, it also seems a little bit like a stimulant - on second thought, maybe not a stimulant. I just tried doing it myself, and if I got it right, yeah, it's pure sassiness.

    So, of course, I'm assuming that you've already explained that this behavior is rude and disrespectful, and he's entitled to be "not thrilled" about something, but his response is NOT acceptable. My best advice is to do something back that he finds annoying (fight fire with fire). When he gets upset with YOUR behavior, remind him how HIS behavior upsets you, and you can both keep going round and round in circles, or he can respond to you more "appropriately" Give him specific words, or sound or gesture (or all three) that you would find acceptable.

  5. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    I have tried the fight fire with fire so when he starts with the EEEHs, I'll do them right back. I know he's losing it because he'll start laughing (not a real laugh though, like a tickled past the point of laughing) then starts bawling. I try to explain "that's frustrating when someone interupts with rude noises, isn't it" then i get "YOU'RE RUDE!!! YOU HATE ME" etc.

    I haven't found the magic touch yet and its killing us. This morning while this is going on, I get mad, tell him to knock it off or he owes me another dime. Then he hides under the covers, and cries for a good 10 minutes (hysterical crying, not little boo-hoos). I pretty much just ignore it (at this point I'm pretty ticked, the ehh's have been going on for at least 10 minutes), then i dry my hair and at some point he stops crying. I send him to the kitchen for breakfast and within 5 minutes he's totally fine. Back to happy town. Joking around, playful. I know I'm not doing something right but I don't know what it is or what IS right.

    Even postponing a talk so 20 minutes after he's calmed down trying to talk about it again doesn't work because he picks up right where he's left off. I told him we'd figure out a fair way to stop the back talk this afternoon (since the dimes aren't fair) but I know as soon as I bring it up the hissy fits and crying will start again. I almost don't even want to bring it up again.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    That doesn't sound like a stimulant to me, however he may have thought it up by something he saw on television (typical Aspie...they like to copy what they see). I don't know what to do. With my "typical" kids I did time outs and they worked really well. When my Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) child tantrummed, he could not calm himself unless he was in his room alone. I would stand by his door so I could hear what he was doing, but stayed out because he calmed down faster without me there. He never really sassed off. I'm not sure what I'd have done if he had. I don't know if time out would have worked for him because he wouldn't sit in his time out Guess it wouldn't have worked then, huh?

    My own opinion, and I could be wrong, is that fighting fire with fire is not going to work with a spectrum child. They are very literal. Rather than understanding what you are doing, they may think you are just being mean to them and act out even worse, plus think you hate them. We walk a fine line, don't we?

    Are you seeing an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) specialist or in an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) parent group? You get fantastic suggestions from other parents who are going through the same things. I highly recommend joining a group of parents who have children with similar diagnoses. It's like having THIS board in person :)

    Good luck and keep us posted.
  7. keista

    keista New Member

    Here's a backwards thought. How about every time he does it, he owes you something 'POSITIVE'? A hug, a kiss, a compliment, a positive statement about the day, state something he's grateful for. Any of the stuff Aspies usually have a difficult time with, but need to work on, so it's kind of like redirecting him to the "positive skills" away from the negative sassiness, and HOPEFULLY avoiding a negative conflict.

    Just a thought that popped in my head.
  8. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    Midwest Mom - I do go to a parents support group once a month, which is really nice but its not often enough, in my opinion. We all have a month of stuff that we want to talk about and its only 1.5 hour meeting. We've tried to get together for coffee night, play dates, etc, but it has never worked out. And you are right, fighting fire with fire doesn't work here LOL

    I am open to trying the positive redirection will be tough LOL
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, positive redirection didn't really work well for us either once Sonic was having a tantrum. I was mostly positive with ALL of my kids, but Sonic would get so wound up that he needed calming. Like I said, the best way to make the rage shorter was to carry him to his bedroom and wait outside for him to come out after he was calmed down. He seemed to need to get it out.

    On the plus side, he is now eighteen and very much on an even-keel. He's one of the nicest young adults I've ever met (his teachers love him) and he would never hurt anyone, verbally or physically. He got a lot of interventions...I think that helped. I could never have done it alone.
  10. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    What do you do when they are too heavy to carry? When I try to physically move him it almost makes it worse. I'm not rough with him but he says i am hurting him, etc, which with sensory issues it really might but I'm not grabbing hard or being rough. And I am fine separating him but I would never close him in a room by himself as he is terrified of being alone. He will go to bed but only as long as he can hear the TV in the living room and I leave the closet and hall lights on. Otherwise I can't even take a shower with out him sitting on the bathroom floor.

    That smothering feeling doesn't help my nerves either LOL
  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    You figure out how to stop it, let me know.
  12. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    This morning it was REALLY bad. I hate dropping him off when we're both in a bad mood but ugh. I hate mornings like this.. :groan:
  13. keista

    keista New Member

    :consoling: Does he keep the bad mood, or does he usually shake it off like you mentioned above? If he shakes it often, then remind yourself of that. All may be just fine once he settles in. If he doesn't shake it (like my son) then I'm sending extra ((((((HUGS))))))
  14. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    That's a good point. By the time I pick him up he's fine. Of course it bothers me all day but at least he's over it :p
  15. keista

    keista New Member

    If you KNOW he'll be OK, don't let it bother you. Save that energy for when you and he are going to need it again. Unfortunately there may come a time in the future when this changes THAT's when you'll "allow" it to bother you, but hopefully by then you will have found skills of your own to let it go. It's a constant balancing act that always needs readjusting.

    For my son, some things he can recover from easily, and others just destroy (or can) his day. We know NOT to schedule math first thing in the morning. He can usually get through, BUT if things go bad, and he has other classes after, he won't function in those either. This is a fairly recent development. At elementary age he usually needed no more than 30 minutes of recovery time for anything.

    More ((((HUGS)))) just because.
  16. I had to laugh -- when my son was angry, he would stick his two fingers in his mouth, sort of pry it open, and yell. My sister says I used to do something weird with my mouth, too, when I was little. [Yeah, I'm a difficult child that actually managed to live to adulthood.] It bugged the daylights out of me. Punishment didn't work, as you probably guessed, and I was d***ed if I was going to reward him for NOT doing that stupid thing with his mouth, so I can't comment on the positive reinforcement thing. Some things I am capable of, some things, I am not.

    What worked? Well, he still does it, so, no, I never got that to stop completely. BUT .. he doesn't do it very often anymore (he mostly found better ways to express himself) and I found enough coping tools that we all survived. Here's what I did and didn't do -- maybe something will work for you.

    First, I kept telling myself, "He's doing the best he can. He didn't choose to be this way."
    Second, I tried viewing this as his way of releasing his anger. I believe my son would literally lose his language skills when he got angry. "Use your words" was a meaningful a command as "Divide 5487 by 29 in your head".
    Imitating him was risky at best -- on occasion, he would laugh, but mostly he would just be enraged.
    Ignoring the behavior didn't help -- he really was communicating in some odd way, and no one likes to be ignored.
    I didn't bother trying to punish him for making the face -- I figured I'd better try to fry the bigger fish. Maintaining a neutral face and trying to deal with the actual problem at hand got me farther.

    When my son is angry, there is no point in telling him not to do something or punishing him for it -- he's not in a receptive frame of mind. If I really want something to change, I first talk to him when he is calm. Something like "Honey, I know you get angry when I'm telling you something you don't like, but that thing you do with your mouth is really rude. Doing that isn't going to get you anything you want. What can you do instead?" hardly works when he's 10, but certainly didn't work when he was 7. I had to create his options for him (basically, keep quiet if you can't walk away). Then, when it was going to happen again, I could step in really quickly and say, "Make a good choice, son. Remember that the face doesn't get you anywhere. Just walk away" or whatever.

    Yes, I let him get the last word, usually something like "No one CARES what you think!" as he walks to his room. I would also periodically tell the kids, "I am the source of all good things. Play my game, you get good stuff. **** me off, and your life's not so good. Make a good choice." Yes, there would be rages when I would say something like, "No, we are not going to the store today. You threw three hissy fits and I'm not risking a hissy fit in the store. See? That face is why you aren't going to the store today. Maybe you can make a better choice tomorrow." I didn't look at that as a punishment, but as a natural consequence of throwing fits. Losing an allowance doesn't seem like a natural consequence. However, refusing to go to a store to avoid risking dealing with a hissy fit there when hissy fits have been thrown that day does seem more natural. I don't know if that makes sense, but it did when I was a little difficult child.

    Good luck. I get more backtalk from easy child now than difficult child and I really just want to smack that look off her face. Then I tell myself, God created teenagers (she's a teenager in training at 12 1/2) so that we aren't sorry when they leave.