"My child can't handle the word NO, he swears and say's nasty things - especially to my wife. Im sick of the back chat and disrespect. He's only 11 and im worried it will get worse!! Help"

Father of 3. Christchurch.

When I received this plea for help last week I thought back on my own experience as a child. We would have never spoken to our parents in this manner.

I understood this fathers frustration and intolerance of his Son's rude attitude.

It is concerning (but not uncommon) that an 11 year old has not developed the skills he needs to cope with the slightest disappointment.

At the very core of this lack is the ability to regulate emotion - The good news is this skill is easily learnt in the home by loving, patient parents.

I coach Parents on what to say when they get sassy back chat, swearing and attitude form their children.

This Father was inspired to try some new phrases at home as we role played (over zoom) a few different ways to teach his son how to respectfully communicate his disappointment.

The other skill that was needed in this situation was for his wife.

Being on the receiving end of a child's harsh words can leave you feeling defeated.

This loving mother learnt how to be a strong leader in the family and now knows exactly what to do and say when harsh words are spoken.

Does this situation strike a chord with you?

Are you worried things will get worse?

The time to act is now.


My 3 year old Son only wants me to do things with him.

"Mummy do it" he says. He gives my husband such a hard time. When I am away everything runs pretty well.

How do we break this behaviour and teach him to be happy doing things with other people?

There are a few reasons here that could be causing this unwanted behavior.

Firstly, children have huge feelings that they are unsure how to express or deal with. In this case he is choosing his Mum to be the person to express these emotions with because maybe he feels no one else accepts them.

On the flip side it could be that he senses his Mum is really NOT comfortable with his feelings; he then chooses Mum more because he needs to feel that she is comfortable with, and welcoming of all his feelings – even the ugly ones.

Then he can move on.

He will continue this until he sees that you - Mum, are strong, capable and comfortable.

It is also possible that he senses that when you are present, you feel that you are the only one that can care for him and give him what he needs. He can sense this feeling through your actions and in return he is feeling anxious to have anyone else care for him.

Ask yourself - am I 100percent confident in the people caring for my child?

Either way, help him move through this phase by being comfortable with his feelings. You can do this by welcoming them with your words and body language.

You can say “You feel like you want me to do it?" Tell me more about that” or

“It's Ok to be sad, let me hug you so you can cry”

You can do this briefly but sincerely, and still move forward handing things over to your husband or continue to go about your day whilst accepting his feelings.

You can say “ohh I see you want me; it’s Dad's turn right now - I’m going into the kitchen to cook dinner” Be totally fine with how he feels about your decision and confidently move forward onto your next task.

Don’t try and talk him out of his feelings just let them be.

He needs you to be ok with his disagreeing behaviour so he can process it and move on.

Another reason could be control.

Young children tend to use control for 3 reasons:

“I can’t control myself (feelings) – so I will control everyone else”

“I do not feel in control of my world – so I will control everything else”

“I have way too much control over you – this is scary so I will keep going there - please give me a boundary”

These three situations can be supported by;

Accepting and welcoming all feelings, so he can experience them and then begin to learn self-control.

Providing a predictable environment at home - create a visual schedule and include as many events as possible.

Setting boundaries calmly and confidently - and by accepting any dis-ease or push back as healthy and normal.

Do you often look at your child and think... You were born to do this!?

Do you see them light up when performing a task that you find mundane?

There are many opportunities in the home for your child to use their innate gifts and strengths.

When given these opportunities they feel so good!

Here are some examples:

The gifts of a SOCIAL Nature fall around these keywords:

Fun and Novelty.

· Gift shopping

· Surprises

· Being in charge of a fun game

· Inviting people to a party

· Decorating or creative jobs

The gifts of the STRONG Nature fall around these keywords:

Action and Leadership.

· Dishing out desert

· Mowing the lawns

· Being in charge of a competitive game

· Caring for younger people

· Showing others how things work

The gifts of the SENSITIVE Nature fall around these keywords:

Nurturing and Planning.

· Menu Planning

· Event Planning

· Creating a Visual Schedule of the day

· Serving others

· Caring for pets or plants

The gifts of the STRUCTURED Nature fall around these keywords:

Details and Perfecting.

· Finding out the facts

· Designing the home (interior and garden)

· Taking notes at the Family Meeting

· Giving their advice in a matter they know about

· Explaining to others how things work