Dear Dr. Bill,
My six-year-old daughter has a talking problem. She talks so much that I have had to tell her that I am not talking to her the rest of the day. She is also constantly back-talking and telling me, in a very loud voice, that I don’t know what I am talking about, that I don’t know what it is like to be a kid, etc. I am at the end of my rope! What can I do to stop this constant chatter and disrespect?
I’m troubled by your description of the relationship with your daughter. The fact that she’s very chatty doesn’t concern –it’s what she is saying and how you are reacting.
You’ve allowed your daughter to develop some very negative character qualities, and now you’re fed up with her behavior. This negative pattern has got to change, both for your sake and your daughters.
Since you’re the adult in this relationship, it’s up to you to implement changes that will help guide your daughter’s behavior in a more positive way.
I suggest you start by taking an honest look at yourself and how you may have contributed to this problem.
Your daughter didn’t suddenly become defiant and disrespectful overnight. She has learned these behaviors through her interactions in the family.
Ask yourself this question: do you model kindness, gentleness, and respect in your relationship with your daughter and your spouse? If the answer is no, it’s time to make some serious changes.
It’s also critical that you start placing limits on your daughter’s negative behavior. This means firmly and consistently implementing consequences.
A good place to learn how to do that is Dr. James Dobson’s book The New Dare to Discipline.
Also, given the severity of the problem and that you say you’re at the end of your rope, I suggest you find a good family therapist in your area.
Thanks for writing, Cindy.
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