BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO CHANGE …….If you think your child ‘back answers’..
Reema could hear her 8 year old daughter Neetiin the next room getting ready for going to a birthday party. Again Neeti had managed to get her own way. She had clearly told Neeti that there would be no more birthday parties till the time she learnt to speak properly and not answer back rudely. It had not worked. Neeti simply would not listen. Reema knew she had to find a solution to Neeti’s constant and upsetting retorts. Yesterday especially it had reached new heights.
“Neeti please take care of Vedant for two minutes. I am busy in the kitchen.” Vedant was Neeti’s little two year old brother.
“No mummy, I am busy watching TV. In any case why should I take care of him? It is not my job!” had been Neeti’s immediate reply.
Reema had even spoken to her husband about it. Surprisingly everybody else had a completely different take on this subema knew that her daughter did not answer back rudely to her husband at all. Now she decided to speak to her friends and find out if her friends also had to deal with such issues. After her daughter and husband left for the party,she went to meet her neighbour and good friend, Veena.
Veena welcomed her warmly. She heard out her friend’s troubles and gave her some valuable suggestions.Reema also realised that maybe in a lot of ways her daughter was like how she herself was in her childhood. Reema decided to put Veena’s suggestions to use during the next few days.
That evening when Neeti came back from school, Reema had a chat with her. She spoke to her about her day and studies and as per Veena’s suggestion, did not interrupt or ask questions. Reema was surprised to see how smooth the conversation was when there were no interruptions and Neeti also seemed to be enjoying. There were a couple of things which she wanted to ask Neeti which she decided she would ask later , just before going to bed.
For the rest of the week, Reema followed Veena’s advice. She kept a check on herself first, did not speak angrily to anyone and kept her patience.Whenever Neeti spoke to her, she listened and she genuinely appreciated it when Neeti spoke politely. Whenever Neeti crossed the line and back answered, Reema just told her this- “Neeti this is not the way to speak to an adult or anyone for that matter. I treat you with respect and you must respect that”. Neeti found that she could not even find a reason to backtalk on that with Reema.
By the end of the week, Reema saw a remarkable change in her relationship with Neeti, though there were still the occasional spurts of retorts and answering back. Neeti even came to Reema one day, requesting some advice about school and friends. Reema discussed with her and provided her with good advice.
One day in the following week,
“Mummy I want to watch a movie tonight.” said Neeti.
“Neeti, that is not possible. You have school tomorrow. You may watch it in the weekend!”
“No mummy! I want to watch it TODAY!”
Reema still refused to be dragged into a fight. Neeti eventually realised that certain things were a strict NO and that her mother meant it.
Over the next few days,Reema realised that Veena’s suggestions were working.Veena apparently had faced a similar issue with her son a couple of years back and she had applied the following golden rules which she shared with Reema.
- Always listen to the child when he/she is talking. Save all the opinions and ideas for later. Just enjoy hearing them talk.
- Whenever the child talks back or retorts inappropriately, stop speaking and tell that they will not get a response till they speak properly.
- It is a good idea to also monitor our own way of talking also because children usually pick up a lot by observing parents.
Find occasions to appreciate children. When they are polite, always appreciate them.
Reema found the relationship with her daughter growing stronger and stronger. She enjoyed with Neeti and also took care to explain all the ground rules which Neeti had to adhere to.