Parenting – Holding Back Laughter

talking back

There are times when you can laugh with your kids, but there are other times when you have to hide it. My son rarely talks back, so when he does it’s always funny to me. Of course I can’t show him that. Instead, I have to put on the ‘mean momma’ face and scold him for it. However, as soon as he leaves the room, the smile creeps up and the laughter comes out.

The first time he ever talked back was in the grocery store. He was about 8 years old. We were headed down the frozen food aisle and he was walking a few feet behind us. Like most kids, he was a nose picker. The reason he was walking so far behind us, was because he wanted to pick his nose without being caught. He thought he was being sneaky, but he forgot that parents have eyes in the back of their heads.

Son, stop picking your nose. That’s disgusting.”

Immediately he replied, “Don’t look back here then.”

He got in trouble for talking back, but it was hilarious. I laughed about his response all the way through the store, under my breath of course, and for days afterward. That’s the only time I recall him talking back. That is, until yesterday.

While cooking dinner, I had him join me in the kitchen to practice his speech. Since he still needs a lot of improvement in communication, that is something we do quite often. Yesterday’s lesson was focused on inflection. He typically speaks in a monotone voice, which is not very entertaining to listen to.

It reminds me of when my parents used to turn on a golf game before taking a nap, because the announcer’s voice would help put them to sleep. I’m not picking fun at my son. He’s still learning, but the point is, is that inflection is very important.

So last night while practicing his inflection, I had him repeat the same two words, three times in a row. On the fourth time, he says (with inflection) “Oh come on!” Being Mom, I responded “Boy, don’t ‘oh come on’ me!”

All the while, I was trying to hold back my laughter. Kids. Where do they learn this stuff from? We practiced a few more times, then I decided to inquire of him where he had learned to say such a thing.

“Just people”, he answered. Well, those ‘just people’ should stop teaching my son how to talk back. But, it sure was funny though. His little smart aleck comment of “Oh come on!” has been running through my head all day. I can’t help but laugh.

I wonder how many times my parents had to keep their laughter hidden from us when we talked back to them. Probably a lot, especially with me.

Although talking back is disrespectful and kids should be taught not to do it, it sure can be funny. There is no denying that.

How do you handle those situations with your children?

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28 Responses to Parenting – Holding Back Laughter

  1. CharleneMcD says:

    When they were little and talked back I would send them to their room for time out. Their time out consisted of reading so it wasn’t much of a punishment to them since they liked to do that. Now that they are adults, when they come back with what I would have considered a talk back back then most of the time I don’t know how to handle so I laugh and try to come back at them with something else. I can’t ground them or give them time out anymore. It is fun interacting with grown up sons now. A whole different atmosphere and we are more on equal footing than as the parent child relationship we once had.

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    • mewhoami says:

      That’s an interesting addition to this. Having grown kids definitely puts a different spin on things. Like you said, you’re on more equal footing, so there are fewer limits as to what can be said. I say a lot of things to my mother (with respect) that I never could have gotten away with saying as child. It does make conversations much more fun.

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  2. Ryan Dueck says:

    All three of my kids have talking back down to an artform. My oldest (8) seems to always have the most creative things to say. “Dad, you’re so LAME!!” is my favorite. It is incredibly difficult not to laugh. Sometimes I need to run to the basement to let my amusement out before I can go talk to them about their behaviour.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Your 8 year old sounds like he might be a handful, in a good way. It can be a challenge to keep a straight face, but thankfully you have a basement to run to before speaking with them.

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  3. I have to admit there was a time or two where I could NOT hold back the laughter. But if I could manage it I would do the scolding. Or the raised eye brow. Or the lecturing – which was the one thing they could not stand. 😉

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  4. April says:

    Gosh, I know my kids did some back talking, but I don’t remember too much–unless it was a full on complaint that didn’t stop. Then they were sent to their rooms. If they slipped up, we discussed better ways of expressing themselves. Basically, I talked to them and expected them to respond with the same respect. I know I shocked all my friends, as well as my parents with my parenting style, but every teacher they had, always told me how polite they were to other students as well as adults around them. They still are that way, so I guess I didn’t screw up that bad. I just what did what felt right for me. (yes, I had to turn my back in order to laugh at times)

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    • mewhoami says:

      I like that style. Kids mimic what their parents do. If we fly off the handle every time they mess up, then we’re teaching them to do the same. We’re teaching them lack of patience, anger and all sorts of other bad traits. With that said, in my opinion, there are some instances which require rougher discipline. But, if talking works, then by all means that’s the way to go. Kids definitely need to be taught to communicate in a respectful manner, so I think it’s great that you taught them how to do that.

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      • April says:

        I agree, sometimes they did overstep the boundaries, but I had to make sure the punishment fit the crime.

        That’s why I personally have a problem with spanking. I was constantly trying to tell my kids that hitting wasn’t acceptable. I felt like a hypocrite for doing what I told them not to do. There were a couple of swats for running in a parking lot and not listening, but other than than, I had my own torture tactics to make my point.

        My kids were way to smart for my own good.:) I never heard an I hate you, or a you’re so mean. Except for my daughter, not much back talk, but she would go on a complaining tangent, I walked away or sent her to her room.

        I remember having arguments until crying with my mom, and nothing was ever solved. I rebelled. I didn’t want to have the same type of relationship.

        My youngest–master manipulator. Not much back talk, just sneaky ways to get what he wants before I know what happened.

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        • mewhoami says:

          I agree with you about spanking. There have been times where I’ve done that with my son, but very rarely. I always felt so terrible after doing that. It usually didn’t work anyway, so it was a waste of both our time. I feel that the punishment must fit the crime. There are so many other ways to discipline that are more effective than using physical methods. But again, every child is different and require whatever method works for them.

          I think respect is the biggest part, which is probably why you didn’t have many problems with your children. Even the occasional attitude or rebellious act is still so much better than what it could be. That’s just a part of growing up or wanting to be grown up. We were taught respect also and the things I did (that my mother is finding out about now that I’m older) was never done out of disrespect. It was only a matter of fun and self discovery.

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  5. Since I’m a grandparent now, I try (for my daughters’ sake) to keep a straight face, while secretly admiring my grandchildren’s clever, witty comment 🙂

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  6. agrudzinsky says:

    I think, to understand where children get that language and inflections, all we need to do is to record what comes out of our own mouth.

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    • mewhoami says:

      In some cases, I agree with you. Our children mimic what we as parents do. However, there are some children who struggle with speech because of learning disabilities. In those cases, it is at no fault of the parents. It simply comes with the ‘territory’. For instance, my son. He is autistic and has struggled with speech his entire life. He’s come a long, long way, but he still has a long way to go. That’s why we work with him on his speech so frequently. Thank you for your comment!

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      • agrudzinsky says:

        Perhaps, I did not phrase it well. Not all that our children say they learn from parents. But I’d say, a great deal. When my 7-year-old tells me “Be quiet!” when I ask him to pick up his toys, I think, I know where this comes from. I remember myself laughing when he was annoyed by something in a very funny way. He looked at me very seriously and said in a strict voice: “Not funny.” That made me roll from laughter.

        My middle son out of three also has autism. This is why I’m following your blog. Perhaps, when your son told you “Oh, come on!” with inflection and in an appropriate moment, it was a moment of joy for you because this was the exact skill you were teaching him. I’d love to hear that from my son. It’s funny how children often use skills we teach them not quite in the way we expected them to use these skills.

        My autistic son has a goal in his IEP “to initiate conversations with his classmates” as a communication skill. Whereas his younger brother’s teacher tells me frequently that he needs to stop talking to his friends in class. My wife and I listen to this and quietly wish our second son had this problem.

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        • mewhoami says:

          It’s okay. It could have been me. It’s easy to misinterpret written comments vs those that are spoken.

          You’re right. Children do follow our lead and often times it’s us that have put those words or phrases into their mind. Other times they come up with it all on their own.

          It must be tough having 3 children, with one having autism. That gives you people to compare him to. I never really had that when my son was younger, so I didn’t know what he was ‘missing out on’ entirely. I just knew that he was way behind. Times were so hard.

          I completely understand how you wish your son had the same ‘problem’ that his brother has. I would love for my son to drive me nuts rambling on his day or things that he likes, anything – just to hear him talk like that would be amazing.

          It was a moment of joy when my son said that. He did exactly what I wanted him to, just not in the way I expected. It’s the smallest of things that mean the most, especially when it’s the small things that we wait so long for.

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  7. tric says:

    As a rule my kids luckily have inherited many genes from their Dad and are not overly difficult. I am afraid I am a mother with a wicked sense of humour. I am not a conformist but my children are. As a result as I break my heart laughing at my youngest, the eldest three give out to her and tell me I am really slacking as a mother. The funny thing is my youngest is such an easy child. Is my relaxed fourth time around parenting contributing to this?

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    • mewhoami says:

      To have children who are not too difficult is something to be very thankful for. You’re the opposite of what I normally hear. Normally it’s the oldest kids who get off easy and the younger ones who have to grow up with the most rules. That’s how it was in my family, with me being the youngest, even though everyone thought that I got away with everything. Maybe that is why your youngest is so easy. Maybe the looser hand gives them more of a reason to make good choices.

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  8. I laugh too…all the time! Getting angry doesn’t feel very good but laughing helps let off a hefty load if steam 😉 Lifes too short to sweat the small stuff anyway right!

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  9. suzjones says:

    My Tween talks back all the time but she is learning when it steps over the line into completely disrespectful. But like you – I laugh.

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    • mewhoami says:

      I suppose there is a line there. Some back talk is understandable to a degree, especially with teens. It’s just a matter of not crossing that line. I’m glad to see that there’s others out there who find their children’s remarks funny as well.

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  10. kathunsworth says:

    Oh dear my sweet little man has got a potty mouth and believes if he hear’s a bad word said by someone else he is allowed to say it. The problem being he has no control when angry and the words that come out….. curl my straight hair. It is no laughing matter and we are constantly reminding him, these words just wont do. The Aspie side of his brain believes in a strange balance…. if someone says they have chopped wood at school he wants to do it…if someone uses a bad word he wants to copy it….needless to say we do not have the TV on often in his presence and he is not thankfully interested in it….I hope his copycat behaviour lessons over time and I dream of better words spilling forth lol.

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    • mewhoami says:

      Oh no, that’s terrible. I don’t know what I would do if my son were to do that. Hopefully the constant reminders are working even if it’s only little by little. I completely understand not wanting the TV on in his presence. That could give him all sorts of ideas, most of which would be unpleasant. TV is bad, especially for those who like to copycat. Good for you for making the proper adjustments needed for him.

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