Sunday, January 31, 2010

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Picasso once said that “all people are born artists, and the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up.” Sir Robinson argues that if you are not prepared to be wrong – you will never come up with anything original. And that by the time kids turn into adults, they loose (or rather are taught out of) their creative capacity. Schools teach them to be frightened of being wrong.

This entertaining and thought provoking video is a must see for every parent, teacher, and obviously students interested in their own education.

Thanks Lauren for sharing this with me.

The Importance of Behavioral Expectations

What Makes a Great Teacher? - The Atlantic (January/February 2010)

For years, the secrets to great teaching have seemed more like alchemy than science, a mix of motivational mumbo jumbo and misty-eyed tales of inspiration and dedication. But for more than a decade, one organization has been tracking hundreds of thousands of kids, and looking at why some teachers can move them three grade levels ahead in a year and others can’t. Now, as the Obama administration offers states more than $4 billion to identify and cultivate effective teachers, Teach for America is ready to release its data.

by Amanda Ripley (The Atlantic)

An Excellent Article: Click below to read the entire article.

What Makes a Great Teacher? - The Atlantic (January/February 2010)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Rockin' Rankin Family!

Just one more reason
why our staff is so awesome...

Way to go Ms. Rankin!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

WLMS Raises Over $2,000.00 in 4 Days for the People of Haiti

Inspired by our GT Resource Teacher and other members of the WLMS staff, our school kicked- off the Haitian fundraiser on Tuesday morning by showing a slide show created by our student- run Eyeopener daily TV show . The slide show depicted the devastating images of the destruction caused by the earthquake in Haiti earlier this month. We wanted our students to have a better understanding of the damage caused by the earthquake and why so much money was needed in this island nation. We also wanted to reinforce the value of philanthropy and that the act of giving, even a small amount of money, can make a huge difference in the lives of others.

Ms. Motaung, our GT Resource Teacher and leader of this fundraiser said, "I was so distraught by the terrible damage of the earthquake in Haiti that I thought WLMS had to do something to help out. I anticipated some involvement from the students but I never imagined that the students would be so moved and the response would be so great. I am so proud of these students that they really thought of others before themselves, some giving up their lunch money, ipod money, contributing in homeroom and at lunch as well. It just goes to show you that the students at WLMS have big hearts. I am most impressed that especially in these tough economic times, the WLMS community raised this much money in just four days. What a tremendous outpouring of caring and generosity!"

WLMS responded by donating over $200 on the first day, which motivated others to continue to donate more throughout the week. The fundraiser was intended to be short-lived, as the goal was to collect as much money as possible to get it delivered quickly to the Red Cross. It then turned in an internal race to increase the amount from $500 to $1000 to $1500 then $2000.

Some student quotes from the week:

Bryce, a 7th grader ($15), said, "This (contributing money) was the only thing I could do to help. They needed food and water and a lot of people would have died. I was saving to buy and ipod Touch but decided to give it (my money) to Haiti."

Vanessa, a 7th grader, shared, "I gave $5 to Haiti because I knew that if I was in that position, I'd want somebody to help instead of putting it on somebody else. If I hadn't given the money to Haiti, I probably would have just saved it spent it on something else."

Francis, a 6th grader ($20), stated, "I felt bad and saw all the videos. I have enough clothes...I gave the money to buy supplies that they need. It (giving the money) made me feel better and happy!"

Victoria, 7th grader, commented ($3), "I felt it would be a good cause. Haiti was already in trouble and the earthquake made it worse. If I hadn't given the money I would have bought lunch."

Ryan, 7th grade ($3), said, "It (giving the money) was a good thing. They need all the help they can get. If I hadn't given the money I probably would have just spent it. The Haiti donation is more important that just buying things."

We plan to send a check to the Red Cross on Monday. Thanks to everyone who was able to help our fundraising effort this past week.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Students shed light on issues at WLMS Voices of Youth

Columbia Flier Article

By Medina Roshan

Posted 1/21/10

Photo by Don Watkins

Kalere Kaldwell appealed to the emotions of her audience as she recounted the story of a young boy named Eric. "Have you ever been bullied?" she asked those gathered at Wilde Lake Middle School.

Kalere went on to tell Eric's tragic story, in which classmates teased and taunted the boy. One student told him, "Why don't you go home and shoot yourself?," after which the boy committed suicide.

Kalere's persuasive essay on the topic of bullying was one of 29 presentations delivered by seventh-graders during Voices of the Youth, a charity fundraiser held at the Columbia school Jan. 7.

About $500 in proceeds from the event's admission fee will be donated to Animal Advocates of Howard County, a nonprofit selected by the students.

English teacher Jeanette Swank, who coordinated the event, said the students were asked to write an essay about a "hot" topic and to deliver a two- to three-minute presentation based on their essay. Students chose to address topics including global warming, obesity, school uniforms, the war in Iraq and animal abuse, among others.

Audience members were asked to choose their favorite speaker at the event based on criteria including the quality of the speech's content, as well as the quality of delivery, including eye contact and clarity. Andrew Johnson's speech about greed in our society was the audience favorite and he won a $50 Target gift card as a prize.

Andrew's topic was inspired by what he perceived as greedy practices by CEOs, such as giving themselves exorbitant bonuses, during the country's recession.

Parents who attended the event noted the passionate nature of many of the students' essays and speeches.

"He put more emotion into the writing," parent Laurie Reynolds said of her son, Dylan, whose topic was animal abuse.

Dylan's love for animals and aspirations to become an animal rescuer or veterinarian prompted him to choose his topic. Though he admitted he was nervous at the start of his speech, he became more comfortable as the speech went on.

"As I went along, it got easier for me. The moments before were really intense," Dylan said.

Reynolds said she thought the exercise was a great lesson in public speaking.

"It's just really put a different perspective in their minds," she said. "They're not just writing something to turn in."

Parents also were impressed by the diverse and polarizing topics chosen by the students.

"It encourages them to think about current events and to be aware of the world around them," said Marjorie Anderson, whose daughter, Katie, participated in the event.

For their teacher, the event was a lesson in empowering her students.

"I saw that the students were actually feeling like their voice mattered and they were doing an assignment that actually meant something," Swank said.

Congratulations to all of our student orators for making such passionate speeches and to Ms. Swank and Ms. Miller for doing such a great job organizing this event for our school.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

If Your Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online -A NY Times Article

A New York Times' Article


Published: January 20, 2010

The average young American now spends practically every waking minute — except for the time in school — using a smart phone, computer, television or other electronic device, according to a new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation. “At night, I can text or watch something on YouTube until I fall asleep,” Francisco Sepulveda, 14, said of his smart phone.

Those ages 8 to 18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day with such devices, compared with less than six and a half hours five years ago, when the study was last conducted. And that does not count the hour and a half that youths spend texting, or the half-hour they talk on their cellphones. And because so many of them are multitasking — say, surfing the Internet while listening to music — they pack on average nearly 11 hours of media content into that seven and a half hours.

“I feel like my days would be boring without it,” said Francisco Sepulveda, a 14-year-old Bronx eighth grader who uses his smart phone to surf the Web, watch videos, listen to music — and send or receive about 500 texts a day.

The study’s findings shocked its authors, who had concluded in 2005 that use could not possibly grow further, and confirmed the fears of many parents whose children are constantly tethered to media devices. It found, moreover, that heavy media use is associated with several negatives, including behavior problems and lower grades.

The third in a series, the study found that young people’s media consumption grew far more in the last five years than from 1999 to 2004, as sophisticated mobile technology like iPods and smart phones brought media access into teenagers’ pockets and beds.

Dr. Michael Rich, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Boston who directs the Center on Media and Child Health, said that with media use so ubiquitous, it was time to stop arguing over whether it was good or bad and accept it as part of children’s environment, “like the air they breathe, the water they drink and the food they eat.”

Contrary to popular wisdom, the heaviest media users reported spending a similar amount of time exercising as the light media users. Nonetheless, other studies have established a link between screen time and obesity.

While most of the young people in the study got good grades, 47 percent of the heaviest media users — those who consumed at least 16 hours a day — had mostly C’s or lower, compared with 23 percent of those who typically consumed media three hours a day or less. The heaviest media users were also more likely than the lightest users to report that they were bored or sad, or that they got into trouble, did not get along well with their parents and were not happy at school.

The study could not say whether the media use causes problems, or, rather, whether troubled youths turn to heavy media use.

“This is a stunner,” said Donald F. Roberts, a Stanford communications professor emeritus who is one of the authors of the study. “In the second report, I remember writing a paragraph saying we’ve hit a ceiling on media use, since there just aren’t enough hours in the day to increase the time children spend on media. But now it’s up an hour.”

The report is based on a survey of more than 2,000 students in grades 3 to 12 that was conducted from October 2008 to May 2009. On average, young people spend about two hours a day consuming media on a mobile device, the study found. They spend almost another hour on “old” content like television or music delivered through newer pathways like the Web site Hulu or iTunes. Youths now spend more time listening to or watching media on their cellphones, or playing games, than talking on them.

“I use it as my alarm clock, because it has an annoying ringtone that doesn’t stop until you turn it off,” Francisco Sepulveda said of his phone. “At night, I can text or watch something on YouTube until I fall asleep. It lets me talk on the phone and watch a video at the same time, or listen to music while I send text messages.”

Francisco’s mother, Janet Sepulveda, bought his phone, a Sidekick LX, a year ago when the computer was not working, to ensure that he had Internet access for school. But schoolwork has not been the issue.

“I’d say he uses it about 2 percent for homework and 98 percent for other stuff,” she said. “At the beginning, I would take the phone at 10 p.m. and tell him he couldn’t use it anymore. Now he knows that if he’s not complying with what I want, I can suspend his service for a week or two. That’s happened.”

The Kaiser study found that more than 7 in 10 youths have a TV in their bedroom, and about a third have a computer with Internet access in their bedroom.

“Parents never knew as much as they thought they did about what their kids are doing,” Mr. Roberts said, “but now we’ve created a world where they’re removed from us that much more.”

The study found that young people used less media in homes with rules like no television during meals or in the bedroom, or with limits on media time.

Victoria Rideout, a Kaiser vice president who is lead author of the study, said that although it has become harder for parents to control what their children do, they can still have an effect. “I don’t think parents should feel totally disempowered,” she said. “They can still make rules, and it still makes a difference.”

In Kensington, Md., Kim Calinan let her baby son, Trey, watch Baby Einstein videos, and soon moved him on to “Dora the Explorer.” “By the time he was 4, he had all these math and science DVDs, and he was clicking through by himself, and he learned to read and do math early,” she said. “So if we’d had the conversation then, I would have said they were great educational tools.”

But now that Trey is 9 and wild about video games, Ms. Calinan feels differently.

Last year, she sensed that video games were displacing other interests and narrowing his social interactions. After realizing that Trey did not want to sign up for any after-school activities that might cut into his game time, Ms. Calinan limited his screen time to an hour and half a day on weekends only.

So last Wednesday, Trey came home and read a book — but said he was looking forward to the weekend, when he could play his favorite video game.

Many experts believe that media use is changing youthful attitudes. “It’s changed young people’s assumptions about how to get an answer to a question,” Mr. Roberts said. “People can put out a problem, whether it’s ‘Where’s a good bar?’ or ‘What if I’m pregnant?’ and information pours in from all kinds of sources.” The heaviest media users, the study found, are black and Hispanic youths and “tweens,” or those ages 11 to 14.

Even during the survey, media use was changing. “One of the hot topics today is Twitter, but when we first went into the field and began interviewing, Twitter didn’t exist,” Ms. Rideout said.

Thanks Laura for sharing this article with me!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

WLMS Teams Compete at First Lego Robotics League Competition

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of traveling to Liberty High School in Carroll County to see Wilde Lake Middle School students compete in the First Lego League Robotics Competition. I believe these WLMS students are the first HCPSS middle school students to participate in this competition. While our two teams did not place in the top 10 in their first competition, these students represented our school very well. Due to this experience, I believe we will "kick some robotic butt" next year (please pardon my technical language).

I want to congratulate Mr. Fox for coaching the following students...

Jack, Josh, Alexander, Noah, Sam, Daniel, Bayan, Caleigh, Jacob, Yan & Jie

Way to Go!

Thanks Northrup Grumman for your support of our team!

Saturday, January 16, 2010



BALTIMORE, MD (January 14, 2010)

The Maryland public school system remains firmly at the head of the class, according to an independent national report being released today.

Education Week, the nation’s leading education newspaper, looked at data in six critical categories over the past two years, and once again placed Maryland’s state education system at the very top of national rankings.

Maryland placed at the top of the list in Education Week’s annual “Quality Counts” tally, with the nation’s only B+ average. New York and Massachusetts followed closely with B grades. The majority of states received grades of C or less, according to the report.

“We have chosen as a people to invest in our public schools – in the future of our State – even when times are tough,” said Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. “Today, Education Week, for the second straight year, has certified that Maryland has built the number one public school system in America. Even during these difficult economic times, we’ve continued to fully fund efforts to build new, state-of-the-art classrooms, integrate curriculum across all grade levels, and hire and retain the nation’s best educators. Now, for yet another year, Education Week has affirmed the importance of protecting these shared priorities.”

Maryland’s 2010 ranking is based on State education policies and student performance that reflect nearly two decades of work on a preK-12 curriculum; state accountability and standards; teacher effectiveness; and work on school readiness, high school reform, and preparation for college and the workplace.

“Our work did not end with last year’s ranking, and it doesn’t end today. Our commitment to our schools and the students and families we serve is undiminished,” said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. “The ‘Quality Counts’ report gives us one significant yardstick by which we can measure our success. We won’t rest until we know that all of our students are getting the education they deserve.”

Today’s announcement by Education Week continues Maryland’s long history of success in the annual review. Maryland has consistently worked to strengthen policies and improve student achievement, resulting in a ranking that inched higher year after year before gaining the top spot for the first time in the 2009 “Quality Counts” report.

“I’d like to thank the staff of the Maryland State Department of Education, members of the Maryland State Board of Education, and local system superintendents, administrators, and teachers for maintaining focus on student achievement,” Dr. Grasmick said. “With the support of the Governor, the Maryland General Assembly, educators, parents, and the public at large, we are able to continue to transform our classrooms.”

Dr. Grasmick gave special thanks to the business community, which has consistently supported Maryland’s education reforms. “Our businesses understand the importance of strong schools and prepared graduates,” she said. “For our State to remain competitive, we need a vital preK-12 education system.”

The new report finds that no other state has a more consistent record of excellence than Maryland. Results for the State were above average in all six of the broad grade categories, and ranked in the top seven in five of the six categories.

Also highlighted in the report is a special look at mathematics progress, using data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results and Advanced Placement scores. Maryland ranked second in the nation, just behind Massachusetts, in this segment of the report.

Most of the state-level data gathered by Education Week comes from a policy survey of the states conducted in the summer and fall of 2009. In addition, the publication draws on data from such organizations as the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Bureau of the Census, and the American Federation of Teachers.

For more information, see the Education Week website,

Source: Maryland State Department of Education Website

Two Questions That Could Make 2010 Very Productive

Two questions that can change your life from Daniel Pink on Vimeo.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Practice Is Important!

There is
no such thing
as natural touch.

something you create
by hitting
of golf balls.

Lee Trevino
Professional Golfer

One of life's most painful moments
comes when we must admit
that we didn't do our homework,
that we are not prepared.

Merlin Olson
Professional Football Player

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Voices of Youth - Youth Speak Out

This past Thursday evening, Wilde Lake Middle School held our first Voices of Youth Charity Fundraiser. If you missed it, 30 seventh graders were selected by their peers to read their three-minute speeches that they had created in their English classes to an audience of over 150 people. The audience was made up of parents, families, staff and friends. The self-selected topics ranged from the killings in Darfur, animal cruelty, childhood obesity, standardized testing and the NCLB Act. It was great to hear the passionate opinions of our students about the topics they they had chosen.

During the event, there were various refreshments and items to purchase. As a result of this event, more than $500.00 was raised for Howard County Animal Advocates.

After hearing the 30 speeches, the audience members were asked to vote on their favorite speech. While a deserving winner was selected, it was obvious that the real winners were everyone in attendance and all of the talented WLMS orators on display that evening. This event underscored my belief that middle school students do have an understanding of current events and more importantly a have a passion to make the world a better place.

I want to congratulate Ms. Swank and Ms. Miller for doing such an outstanding job organizing and running this amazing event. Way to go!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Kids Are Mean: Cyber-Bullying, “Sexting,” and Other Harmless Pranks

by Mel Riddile

The L.A. Times editorial staff believes that kids are naturally mean, and, when they are mean to each other, school officials should mind their own business. “Mean girls—and mean boys—have been terrorizing their classmates since the first schoolhouse was built.”

The editorial points out that some courts are refusing to back schools in their efforts to reign in the reputed bad online behavior because it did not occur on school grounds and because the schools failed to prove that the behavior could reasonably be expected or did cause a substantial disruption to the operation of the school.

According to the Times, “It isn't just students who are targeted by the online equivalent of "slam books," the notebooks furtively passed around playgrounds in previous generations in which children inscribed insults about their classmates. In Pennsylvania, a student was suspended and shifted to an alternative education program because he posted a parody MySpace profile that described his principal, among other insults, as a "big steroid freak" and a "big whore." A U.S. district judge lifted the suspension, saying that non-disruptive online speech couldn't be punished even if the offensive material could be accessed on school computers.”

A Principal’s Reaction

- Not my child – If it is my child being victimized, I want school authorities to protect her. If it is someone else’s child, she has the right to free speech. I wonder what the Times writers would say if it was their child who was the victim of harassment, cyber-bullying, or “sexting?” I bet that they would be contacting their attorney because the school failed to protect their child. The Times wants to paint this as schools attempting to extend their authority instead of what this really is - attempt by schools to protect their students and to meet their responsibility for the safety and welfare of the students.

- Power Hungry – The Times assumes that school leaders are power hungry bureaucrats seeking to extend their authority. This is not about authority. The issue here is responsibility. The first responsibility of every principal is to create a warm, safe, and orderly school environment in which students can learn and grow. Principals take their responsibility to protect all students very seriously. They treat their students with the same dignity and respect that they would want for their own child. When one of their students is threatened, harassed, intimidated, or bullied, they act to protect the student because they sincerely care for the student. Failure to do so could be considered negligence. Again we find dedicated, well-intentioned school leaders placed between the proverbial rock and a hard place. If they protect the student, they are violating the perpetrators rights. If they don’t act, they are found negligent.

- Only on school grounds - The editorial supports schools in their effort to prevent harassment and insults only when the behavior occurs on school grounds. Here is the crux of the issue. Where does the responsibility of the school begin and end. Is it, as some districts define, portal-to-portal—from the time the child steps out of the door in the morning until the child arrives home from school? Or, does the responsibility of the school begin and end at the border of school property during school hours? “…Educators should recognize the reasonable limits of their authority and confine their discipline to girls and boys who are mean to one another -- or to their principal -- at school.”

- I agree with the Times, “Schools aren’t hermetically sealed off from what students do at home.” Today, everyone has an electronic leash (cell phone) that connects them to the entire world. Those electronic signals know no boundaries. If you have a phone, you are connected. As the Times correctly points out, “the Internet has eroded an endless number of formerly clear distinctions, including those based on physical location. So, who gets the benefit of the doubt, the schools or the mean boys and girls?

What Can and Should Schools Do About Mean Online Behavior?

- First, schools must be safe havens where all students feel physically and emotionally safe and secure at all times.

- Schools need clear policies that define harassment, cyber-bullying, and “sexting,” and they need to consistently enforce the policies. Because the goal is not to apprehend and punish but to deter negative behavior and teach responsible behavior, the policy should contain a prevention component that contains provisions that students be taught “responsible use” of technology.

- When considering policies and practices, school officials should put the behaviors into context. Compulsory attendance laws require that students attend school. They have no choice. Unlike a cable TV viewer, students cannot simply change the channel whenever they like. They are compelled to be present and to be subjected to messages that they would normally tune out. Compulsory attendance places an added burden on schools to protect students. For years, one high school allowed students unfettered access to the public address system each morning. The simple act of standing in line allowed any student who wished to say anything about any subject. Not only did the morning announcements go on forever, but the entire school was forcibly subjected to frequent, inane rants. The new principal recognized his responsibility to all students by placing a staff member in charge of the announcements, which required prior approval and were delivered by trained student government officers.

- An enforceable school policy is not a board policy that passes the buck to the principal by simply stating that the school should have a policy. This provides board members with cover and wiggle room when parents complain, but it places school leaders in a position to have the rug pulled out from under them at any time that a constituent or board member disagrees. The result is usually an unenforceable policy.

- Schools would not allow anyone to print and freely distribute paper flyers that contained nude pictures, threats, or slanderous statements, nor should they permit those behaviors simply because they occur electronically.

- Schools must recognize that the Internet gives every student a license to print. A cell phone is literally an electronic printing press that sends messages to the entire world with the touch of a button. As such, the consequences of misdirected or inappropriate messages are instantaneous and virtually limitless in scope. In other words, one message can move faster and do a lot more damage than the printed word. One student with a cell phone can literally direct a “reign of terror” toward another student.

- At some level, students understand that electronic messages are impossible to stop and can be viewed by anyone. Consequently, they are quicker to anger and easily incited to violence when someone posts a derogatory message on social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace. Some schools even refer to the resulting altercations as “MySpace fights” or “Facebook fights.

- Harassment is harassment whether it is electronic, verbal, or in print.

- Problems usually stem from how schools deal with the issues not from the fact they actually address the issue. Because most parents don’t want a suspension on their child’s record and certainly not a cyber violation, making suspension from school the first response will set everyone up for a disagreement. Attempting to use school authority to force someone to “take down” a comment or an inappropriate post will, more often than not, result in a confrontation. Many principals have found success by simply having a conversation with the parents of the offender. In my experience, the simple act of setting up a meeting almost always resulted in successful resolution because, it turns out, the parents were not aware that their child’s electronic behavior in the first place.

- If a student brought a Playboy to school in the 1970s, I confiscated the magazine and called the parents. Future violations would result in strict disciplinary action. Distributing inappropriate photographs of students would result in the same. In the case of “sexting,” schools must make it clear in writing that this behavior is harmful, probably illegal, and unacceptable.

- Any student who is bullied, harassed or “sexted” has been victimized. The behavior should be treated as serious and stopped. The victimized student should be given support from a student-services team consisting of an administrator, counselor, social worker, and a school psychologist.

- Like any other illegal acts, these behaviors should be reported to the School Resource Officer or the appropriate law enforcement personnel. Child abuse must be reported to the appropriate authorities in a timely manner. This should be explicitly stated in policy.

- Schools must have clear guidelines and policies that allow them to deal internally with bullying, intimidation, harassment, and “sexting,” separate and apart from any criminal or legal action.

Source: NASSP

What are your thoughts about this issue?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Google Waves Goodbye to 2009

No More Tween Back Talk

Tweens may back talk, but you can end it now.
By Jennifer O'Donnell, Guide

You couldn't have imagined when your child was learning his first words that he'd eventually use those words against you one day. Just about every tween will engage in back talk eventually, but that doesn't mean it's acceptable behavior. If your tween has yet to respond to a request from you with a retort such as, "I don't THINK so!" just wait. At some point the eye-rolling, the attitude, and the words to go with them will present themselves. When it happens, here's what you should do when your tween engages in back talk.

Set a Good Example

It seems so obvious, but the very best way to encourage respectful behavior from your tween is to model it yourself. When you're angry or frazzled, be sure your actions and words don't give you away. Show your child that even when you're stressed and tired, you're capable of responding in a civil manner.

Children witness rude and crude behavior at school, on the television, and just about everywhere these days. Point out that when people behave rudely, or in a sassy manner, it reflects badly on them. Sitcoms (even those aimed at tweens and families) are peppered with sassy back talk, especially from child characters. Your child may think that such behavior is funny and clever, but you need to make it clear that life is not a sitcom, and that you expect your child to follow the behavior rules you've set down for him.

Jump On Bad Behavior

It's important to stay on top of our tween's behavior, in order to prevent bad habits down the road. When your daughter rolls her eyes at you when you tell her to start her homework, or replies, "Yeah, sure!" when you ask her to clear the dinner table, it's time for action. Tell her that her behavior irritates you and is disrespectful. Ask her to reconsider her response and try again.

The same advice applies when your tween challenges your authority, or attempts to blame her circumstances on you. For example, if you reprimand your tween for failing to clear the dinner table, she may reply, "You didn't remind me!" or "I forgot, why didn't you tell me again!" When the back talk becomes an offensive maneuver, it's important not to give in. Simply reply, "One request should be enough," and continue with your plan of action, whether it's enforcing a consequence or asking her to reconsider her remarks.

It's tempting to let your tween get away with copping an attitude or engaging in back talk, especially when you're tired. When you're tired the last thing you want is a confrontation. The problem is that talking back is a behavior that quickly becomes a habit, and the only way to prevent that from happening is to address it, each and every time it happens.

Enforce Consequences for Back Talk

If your tween's attitude doesn't adjust after a request from you, it's time to get a bit more serious. Tell your child that you just won't engage in debate with him until he's calmed down and can communicate respectfully. Send him to his room to quiet down, and tell him to let you know when he's ready to talk. When he's in a better frame of mind, gently remind him that there is a right way and a wrong way to speak to you, and that you expect him to remember the difference even when he's angry, tired, or frustrated. It's important that your child understands that you want to hear what he has to say, and that he feels comfortable speaking up. At the same time, it's important for him to know how to do it respectfully.

Reward Respectful Behavior

Just as you dole out consequences for rude and crude behavior, you should also reward your tween when she's polite and behaving respectfully. Tell her how proud you are of her when she's polite to you and others, and reward her behavior with time together, a treat, or even a hug.
When others comment on your tween's positive behavior, share the news with her so she's aware that others do notice how she behaves in public, as well as how she treats other people, including you.

Accept Challenges, Occasionally

Sometimes a tween doesn't mean to be rude or back talk. Tween brains are developing rapidly, and so are their intellects. Curious tweens may pose questions that come across as challenges, when they're really not intended that way. An example may be when your tween challenges a teacher about something she's learning in school. Help your tween understand the difference between questioning and challenging. Point out the importance of tone of voice, and in phrasing questions properly. Role play so your child understands that it's OK to inquire, but that there's a certain skill involved in doing it diplomatically.

What other advice would you give?

Pic Source: