Back Talking vs. Appropriate Disagreements & The Rule of Three | Teaching Self-Government

Back Talking vs. Appropriate Disagreements & The Rule of Three

Hey, I have read your book and have been trying to implement the system, however I have a few questions.  My oldest son is 11, he has trouble controlling his emotions and talking back.  Here is an example of a typical situation; I ask him to do something he makes a face and might say a smart remark but he will look me in the eye after I remind him and will say ok sarcastically then he will go do the chore. He follows the steps the right way about 50% of the time. Today he was out of instructional control and me telling him that if he chose not to follow my instructions that the was going to chose to earn another chore didn't work.  He just sat there, so I left the room for a few minutes and when I came back he was ready to follow instructions. However he was only ready after I told him that he was going to lose all his privileges. My question is how long should he lose his privileges? He was calm, he just didn't want to follow my instructions when I asked the first time.  He also talks back too much or tries to argue.

Did you teach him to disagree appropriately?  Do you praise him and see his way when he does disagree appropriately?  Are there negative consequences for not disagreeing appropriately?  It sounds like he has a respect problem and frequent attitude problems.  Do you praise him often for following all the steps that 50% of the time?  Do you specifically tell him what he chose that was good?  If he was out of instructional control, you need to start the rule of three. 

However he was only ready after I told him that he was going to lose all his privileges.

This shows you the rule of three would work well for him.  You need to always say the same thing when he is not willing to follow instructions.  He has to be able to follow instructions before any teaching or consequence accepting should happen. 

My question is how long should he lose his privileges?

If my child goes all the way out of instructional control and goes through the whole rule of three then they lose their privileges for 24 hours. 

He was calm, he just didn't want to follow my instructions when I asked the first time. 

If he doesn't follow an instruction the first time then he earns an extra chore.  If he doesn't accept that consequence and still won't follow instructions then you need to start the rule of three.  His "just sitting there" is a power struggle by him.  He is playing a game to try to make you question your government system.  If he stays calm and just won't follow instructions, then it looks like he has all the control and that there is nothing you can say to him.  He looks untouchable.  It is not true, he is out of control if he trying to take control by being passive/aggressive like that.  It is also a good idea to say, "You look like you want to say something right now.  Do you want to disagree appropriately?  If not, then you need to just follow the instruction."  Remind him that you want to talk to him and hear his side.  The whole point of teaching him self-government is to help him learn better communication of his feelings and mastery of his behaviors, so you my have to tell him when to disagree appropriately at first and sometimes even tell him exactly what to tell you in his disagreement.  Children who are just learning this skill aren't practiced in voicing their feelings and concerns, they are more used to acting out to get their point across or to get their way.   

He also talks back too much or tries to argue.

He's not disagreeing appropriately.........This earns an extra choreTry prepping him to disagree appropriately when he seems like he is going to talk back or argue.  Then you can praise him for disagreeing appropriately.  Maybe he doesn't see any benefit from choosing to disagree appropriately because he hasn't seen that it works yet.  Show him it works.  Really listen to his disagreements and if they are appropriate and won't really hurt anything, then for a little while go with it.  He needs to see that he can make his life good by choosing calm communication.  Then after a while say more no often and prep him to accept no answers.  Has he learned all four basic skills?  Stay consistent!  He will get learn self-government if you handle the situation the SAME every time.  This teaches him cause and effect and helps him feel in control of himself and his consequences instead of encouraging him to fight for control of you because he feels mis-understood.