Talking back is when a child gives “attitude” to his parents, mostly verbally. It could be a sharp response or unnecessary retort.
Why It Happens
Believe it or not, talking back is actually part of your child’s development. It helps children establish autonomy, though often times at their parents’ expense. It is also a method for them to test their boundaries.
It can also occur when children are tired – understandably so, since we normally get grumpy when we’re on the brink of exhaustion.
However, negative and disrespectful behavior should never be tolerated despite these. Here are eight tips on how to stop kids from talking back.
What Parents Can Do
1. Set boundaries
While talking back can be chalked up to development and, thus, is quite a common occurrence, it does not give children the license to dish out rude comments to parents, or anyone for that matter.
The first thing you should do then is to inform your child that such behavior will not be tolerated under any circumstance.
2. Set rules
A great tip on how to stop kids from talking back is to be specific on what is not allowed at home, e.g. muttering and responding sarcastically.
Be sure to explain and demonstrate behavior that won’t be tolerated; do not expect children, especially younger ones, to be aware of what they are. More often than not, they are clueless about how their behavior comes across.
Also, agree on fair consequences should your child be unable to cut back on the back talk. Loss of privileges is usually a common consequence of failing to abide by rules.
On a related note, be sure that you can follow through with agreed upon consequences.
3. Create a signal
Agree on a non-verbal means of communicating with your child when he is about to cross the line of disrespect. This way, you can warn him to tread carefully without raising your voice or losing your temper.
This will come in handy as well in public, to avoid embarrassing your child when you’re out and about.
4. Don’t bite back
It is never pleasant to be at the receiving end of a retort. Instead of responding in an equally snarky manner, hold your tongue. Keeping calm is a crucial tip on how to stop kids from talking back.
Going down to your child’s level only condones back talk. It also tells your child that lashing out is the best way to handle the situation–of course, it’s not. So be the bigger person (as you should always be) and show your child that a calm response appropriate.
Continue reading for more tips on how to stop kids from talking back
5. Let some things slide
Punishing back talking each and every time will be tiresome, not to mention, your child will build immunity to being sanctioned often. Hence, it is best to pick your battles. If you hear your child mutter, as long as it’s not disrespectful, let it go.
6. Use yourself
Whether it’s a one-on-one with your child or a family meeting, use “I” instead of “you” in your spiel.
Say this, “I have been very lenient lately, letting rude behavior pass,” instead of, “You have been rude lately!”
Doing so will prevent you from ruffling the feathers of hyper sensitive children. Pointing out that they are wrong leads to them putting up their “defensive” walls, which makes them less receptive to change.
Also, using “I” reminds the child that you have feelings, too.
7. Check your child’s media consumption
If you’re wondering where your child gets the sarcasm from, look at what he is watching or reading (online or offline such as books or comics).
You can choose to ban these or strike a deal with your child. For the latter, he can continue to watch, say, The Simpsons, if he promises to curb the back talk. If not, then he won’t be allowed to watch the show.
8. Hunt for triggers
A key tip on how to stop kids from talking back is to figure out when your child’s back talk occurs more – after school, when he doesn’t have enough sleep, or when he’s worried about something.
If he’s exhausted from school or lack of sleep, you can be more understanding while being firm on the “no being disrespectful rule.” This is also the best time to drive home the point that one can still voice out a concern or issue without having to be disrespectful.
If your child is worried, then find out what the problem is and help him solve it. Remind him in a gentle way that being stressed is never an excuse to behave inappropriately. (You may also want to equip him with calming methods such as taking a jog, deep breathing or meditating.)
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Also read: 7 child discipline problems parents face and tips on how to solve them!