Do you have a teen or child in the house with out of control backtalk? Get tips on how to deal with kids who talk back and teach them how to communicate with respect.
All children will backtalk at some point in their lives. Backtalk is a totally normal stage of development in kids.
Kids are still learning to deal with conflicting emotions inside of themselves and assert their independence. They want to be assertive yet not get into trouble and are unsure of how to do it.
The easiest way seems to be talking back to their parents! You are their safe space, which unfortunately for you means they test things like asserting their views and independence on you!
So how do you deal with kids who talk back? How can you stop this behavior and teach your kids the proper way to speak with politeness and respect?
6 Tips for Dealing with Kids Who Talk Back
Model the Correct Behavior
In dealing with backtalk, the most important thing is that parents model the behavior they want to see in their child. After all, kids always learn behaviors from someone- and it’s better that that someone is you.
This means you need to speak to them with respect. This will look different based on the age of the child.
A toddler who backtalks doesn’t need as much discussion as a teenager who backtalks. For teens especially, don’t dismiss their requests without discussion. Give them the respect they deserve and explain to them the why behind your decisions or demands.
By establishing a relationship with children based on respect, parents can nip backtalk before it gets out of hand.
Related Reading: 5 Tips for Communicating and Talking With Your Teen
Set Clear Rules on Language and Behavior
The next most important step is to set clear rules when it comes to language and behavior.
What is most important to you? No name calling, put-downs, muttering, eye-rolling, or condescending gazes?
When I was growing up cursing wasn’t really a big thing…I don’t even think curse words were on my radar until high school. But the word shut up? Now that word was banned in my household and was grounds for being sent to your room for a long time. Both my brother and I KNEW not to say it to each other and we would never dream of saying it to my mom.
In my house, we had a “rudeness jar” for awhile. There was a list of words I wanted out of my kids’ vocabulary because they were rude, crude, and/or just over used. Anytime they were said, the kids had to put money in the jar. Those words flew out of their vocabulary real quick!
Every family might have different rules, especially when it comes to parent-children interactions. So whether you ban eye-rolling, name calling, or the word stupid, make sure that everyone knows what these banned words or actions are.
Be firm in your tolerance and announce the rules to everyone in the household. Post them somewhere in the house for reference if you need to.
And then be sure that you hold your self accountable as well.
Follow Through with Consequences
Always follow through with consequences to undesirable behaviors.
This means if someone utters a banned word, they get a consequence. This can be losing a privilege, a time out, putting money in a jar, etc. Just be sure to follow through with whatever consequence you say at time.
If ask you child to do something and they respond with backtalk. Be prepared to give a consequence- and then follow through with that consequence.
Parents who refuse to tolerate rude behavior have children who are not rude.
Of course, this works both ways – parents who are rude to their children often have children who are rude. So be sure to treat your child with kind and understanding behavior.
Help Your Child Find the Correct Words
Don’t just jump straight to a fight or consequence as soon as you child backtalks the first time.
This is the perfect teaching moment to help your child learn to express his emotions and needs in a more acceptable way. Help them learn how to respond to your requests in a polite and respectful manner that works for everyone.
For example, if your child is in the middle of something and you ask him to do a chore. His initial response might be to say “No” or “hold on a second!” in a very rude tone.
You have a choice here, you can get angry and pull the parent authority card here, or you can take a moment to let them know that how they responded was rude and if they would like you to consider their side, they need to learn to speak better.
You can even help give them the words that you would prefer them to say, such as: Mom, can I please finish X before I do that chore? I promise I will do it as soon as I am finished.
Even if the chore is time sensitive and you have to turn down that request, you can politely explain why they must do it now and the entire interaction becomes one of mutual respect.
Discussing negative emotions and feelings with your child helps him to accept them, release them, and understand why he feels them.
Have Patience and Self Restraint
As tempting as it is at times to say something rude back to your child, don’t. We’ve already talked about modeling the behavior you want to see in your children, but sometimes that’s hard to do in the heat of the moment.
When your child is rude to you or back talks, this is the time to practice self restraint and avoid getting into a power struggle.
Take a deep breath, explain to your child how they are being rude and give them a chance to remedy the situation.
By practicing patience and understanding, you are setting an excellent example instead.
Don’t forget it takes two people to argue, your children cannot argue by themselves. Choosing your battles goes a long way in teaching respect to your children.
Make your case one and allow your child to respond. If there is backtalk or rudeness from your child, calmly respond and give them a chance to redeem themselves. If they decide to keep up with talking back, give a consequence and follow through.
If your child is the one to start the conversation in a rude tone and refuse to reign their behavior back in, tell them that you will talk to them when they can be respectful then walk out of the room and ignore them until they can talk better.
This shows children your word is final and will not be changed, and that if they want to be heard, they need to communicate in a polite and respectful way.
For parents, the key to dealing with backtalk is to have patience, understanding, and self-restraint. If you can practice each of those and follow these tips you will be able to stop backtalk in your home and instead have a family that communicates with each other respectfully at all times.
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