Kids | Teenagers

When Kids Back Talk

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Are your kids talking back to you often? Maybe they’ve only done it once, and you want to be sure it doesn’t happen again. This is a situation many parents have to deal with at some point. When your kid talks back, you may instantly feel like snapping back at them. However, there are better ways to solve this issue for both parties. Here’s what to do when a kid talks back.

When They Go Up, You Go Down

I have to remind myself that I need to be the calmest one in the room. If you match your kid’s intensity and snarkiness, all you get are two intense, snarky people. Yelling, making threats, and the “how dare you?” reaction will only escalate the situation. Don’t engage in a war of words with your child. Walk away, take some breathes, and count before you respond. When their voices and emotions go up, yours have to come down.

Consider the Reason for the Back Talk

Before shouting back, which is not generally a good idea, consider the reason your child may be upset enough to talk back. Remember that even if your child is disrespectful, they may not be thinking of it that way or they may simply be upset. Something might have happened at school, with a friend, or they may be feeling anxious about something. Find out the reason your child chose to react in this way before deciding how to respond.

Talk About Respect from Both Sides

Talk with your kids and model what respectful speech looks like from both sides. Think about the reasons for the talking back. Listen well to try to see things from their perspective. Let them know you understand their feelings. At the same time, explain to them your feelings and why it upsets you when they talk back. Talk about why it’s disrespectful to react in that way, even when upset. Tell them it’s okay to state your feelings but is not okay to shout back at other people in that manner.

Related: The 4 Types of Back Talkers

Teach Them Better Communication

Teaching kids to communicate better is essential to stopping the backtalk. Talk to them about alternative methods of letting you know how they feel. Let them know it is safe to speak to you about their feelings, but they must do so in a respectful tone. This is a great skill to have in general as they are sure to have disagreements with many people along life’s path. Not everyone is born a great communicator, but fortunately, these skills can be taught. You will likely need to model these skills. Trust and communication between you and your kids can go a long way in solving the issue of talking back.

when kids talk back

 What is Acceptable?

The best time to talk about what is acceptable talk is not in the heat of the moment. At some point, after an incidence of backtalking, you will want to chat about what happened. Talk to your child about what speech is allowed and which phrases will not be tolerated. Give them some phrases they can use to get their points across. It’s important to let them know that there will be some situations that are not open for further discussion. Make sure they know that when you use a particular phrase that is the end of the debate and they need to accept it.

Be Consistent

Whatever arrangements you and your kids discuss and work out together need to be consistent. The same is true for any punishments given. It’s also true for any trust and open communication. Always be consistent in what you say you will and won’t do. This helps ensure your kids can trust what will happen. Trust, balance, and consistency are essential when a kid talks back or in any action that needs to be resolved.

Recognize their Restraint

It is important to recognize when they have accepted your final word on a subject and have done so without back talking. Make sure to give your child praise in these moments. It’s a take a big person to accept an unfavorable result. It’s a sign of maturity, and your kids, especially your teenager, will appreciate that their actions didn’t go unnoticed.

Do you have tips for nipping backtalk in the bud early on? Let us know below.


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