Would you like verbal abuse with that? Teaching your teen to handle a difficult boss

A few weeks ago a question was asked on our Facebook page as to how to deal with your teen’s verbally abusive boss. This was a great question that I felt warranted an entire post to cover. The result of which is below. Thanks!

verbalabuseYou left the footnote off the month-end accounting report again, and your boss is managing everything except her temper. As an adult, you may be able to shrug it off, but what about when your teen burns the French fries on her Friday night shift, and her boss flips his lid? Unfortunately, some bosses don’t take their teenage employees as seriously as they should, and can turn constructive criticism into verbal abuse at the drop of a salt shaker. And when your teen is at the receiving end of a long string of swear words, it might be time for a career change.

Although our teens will be out on their own very soon, it’s still our job to offer plenty of support as they enter the working world. Teaching positive job skills and professionalism now will really help them down the road as they advance from car washer to computer engineer. And one of the first lessons should be how to deal with a tough boss—and when to say enough is enough. Read More

Don’t worry about it Dad, it’s my fault

Many of you know that I have two sons. The oldest (Ryan) turns 15 next week – soon to be getting his driver’s permit – ugh. My youngest (Brent) is 12 (and one-half…he reminds me).

As a parenting educator, people often assume that things go swimmingly at my house each and every day. Believe me – we have our moments of back talk and not listening like everyone else.

Brent, like a lot of kids his age, has often been reluctant to accept responsibility for things that didn’t go as he hoped. For instance, if his soccer team lost on a “bad call”, it was the referee’s fault. If he missed the catch while playing football with his brother, it was a bad pass. If he didn’t have clean soccer clothes ready for practice, it was my fault.

My husband and I would use these situations to try and teach him the importance of accountability. I think he understood in theory but in subsequent situations, it was still the referee, his brother or me that he blamed.

This week while I was out of town, Brent mentioned to my husband that he needed a novel from the bookstore for English class because it was due the next day. Having the book on time counted for a quiz grade and if he didn’t have it – he would have “earned” a zero.

Before Dave could get even react to this news, Brent continued with… “Dad, I’ve known about this for a week and forgot to mention it so if you don’t have time to get it, don’t worry about it. It’s my fault.”

Let me repeat that. He said, “It’s my fault”. WOW.

Ahhh…music to Dad’s ears. This was truly a breakthrough.

Now, before I start pounding my chest and share all the great parenting strategies we’ve used to get him to take responsibility and not blame others, I think we’d all agree that maturity has something to do with this milestone. I do think (and hope) our teaching of accountability had something to do with it as well. The best tool from the Positive Parenting Solutions Online Tool Box to teach accountability in your children is Natural Consequences.

Natural Consequences, which are covered in Session 3 of the online course will teach you how to foster personal accountability in your kids as they experience the “Natural Consequences” of their choices. It requires courage and consistency on your part – but it does work! You may not see a dramatic shift in personal accountability the very first time you allow a Natural Consequence to play out – but with time, they DO “get it!”

If you’re wondering if Dave drove to the mall to get the book – yes, he did! While we work to be consistent in allowing the kids to experience Natural Consequences, this breakthrough in accountability deserved to be recognized and I suspect Dave had a smile on his face all the way to the book store!

Why Do Kids Talk Back?

Girl standing on chair yelling through a megaphone
Girl standing on chair yelling through a megaphone

Girl standing on chair yelling through a megaphone

It’s enough to make any level-headed parent’s blood boil! “How dare she talk to me that way! Doesn’t she know I spent 15 hours in labor?”

In calmer moments, (deep breath) we can look at backtalk more objectively to understand WHY it happens and what we can do to correct it.

Is Backtalk Normal?

“Backtalk” is a broad term that refers to disrespectful responses from children. Depending on the age of the child, it can range from a toddler’s defiant “NO,” to rolling the eyes, to a full-blown shouting match, and even profanity.

It’s obvious that profanity can’t be tolerated, but what about the more subtle backtalk remarks? How do you know if backtalk is something you have to address or if it’s just your child’s normal progression towards independence?

All children (toddlers to teenagers) seek to exert their independence—it’s what they’re supposed to do. However, to determine if the backtalk you’re experiencing is something that needs to be corrected, apply the “litmus test” question…”Would it be okay for your child to respond in the same way in front of your friends, co-workers or your mother-in-law”?

In most cases, the answer is “no” and that tells us we have to be PROACTIVE in correcting the backtalk.

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WHY Do Kids Talk Back?

Kids talk back for a variety of reasons. They may be testing their own power to see how far they can take it. They may feel disrespected by parents who overprotect or “boss” them around. Or, they may live in a home in which respectful communication isn’t a priority.

In the majority of cases, however, talking back is the child’s way of exerting his power and saying “you’re not the boss of me.”

We’re all hard-wired with a need for positive power—the ability to have some control over our lives. When we over-protect, over-demand, order, correct and direct…we stand in the way of our children achieving independence and personal power.

The only way our kids know how to respond is to fight back. It’s a basic fight or flight response—they can’t easily flee, so they fight back with backtalk, negotiating, arguing, stomping away, eye rolling, etc.

Now that you know it’s normal, check out the 5 steps to put the brakes on backtalk today!

If the power struggles in your home have gotten out of hand, I’m always here for you.

I’d love for you to join me for a FREE ONLINE CLASS. I’ll teach you how to get your kids to listen—no nagging, yelling, or reminding required!

As always, happy parenting!

Title Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock