My 8 yo son has always been a strong-willed limit-pusher. I've recently found some success with the book "Setting Limits With Your Strong Willed Child." BUT--the back talk from him is really getting to me. I try to ignore it, not engage him in the power struggle (the "family dance" the author calls it). But that leaves me feeling angry and bitter that someone is slinging verbal insults at me all day (we homeschool).
I try to speak with kindness and respect, asking firmly but politely for things. Here's an example: "DS, please clear your lunch dishes." I have to ask him every. single. time. I am not rude about it even though I have to remind him EVERY day. Today, I asked him, and he hops around, wobbles his head, tries to do everything he can to make it clear to me that he is not listening. I am not going to budge because I now have to stand there until he does what I have asked. So I say, "What did I just ask you to do?" Not in a snotty way, but in a matter-of-fact way. (His OT suggested that having him say the words aloud may help him remember what he is doing and help him stay on track with tasks.) He ignores. I repeat it. Ignores again. I get frustrated and put on my "I'm-Mom-and-I'm-getting-annoyed-voice." So he says back, "I don't care," and walks off.
I put him in his room for a cool-off (time out) and he just goes in there and listens to music and builds Legos. I am not feeling like he must be PUNISHED (in a power trippy sort of way), but he's not feeling any really consequence to his actions. I am trying to parent by teaching rather than punishing. I have also tried taking privileges and toys and nothing seems to get through to this kid. How can I teach him how to speak with kindness and respect? I model that behavior and it seems to make no difference.
Some days it pushes me to anger and I raise my voice and some days (like today) it pushes me to tears.
He really, truly, doesn't seem to care that he is treating me this way and it breaks my heart.