Getting tired of your kid’s sassy talk, constant eyes rolls, and rude tone of voice? It’s time to learn some techniques for ending your child’s back talking once and for all.
How to Stop Kids From back talking
Talking back is a way of life with any child!
I wasn’t the easiest teenager. And when I had a daughter of my own, I knew the teenage years were going to be rough. There’s just no way around it.
So imagine my surprise when my daughter started rolling her eyes and back talking at a really young age.
She’s always had a sassy side to her, from the moment she could talk. Oh, the joys of a strong-willed child!
When I finally had enough of the back talking
I hit my limit one afternoon when my daughter was laying on her bed, using her phone (aka MY old phone) to text a friend from school. I had only asked her like a couple hundred times to pick up her room and come help with some chores.
Of which she ignored every request.
Like any parent, I started to get irritated right away. My frustration was obvious with my raised tone and the harsh way I started speaking to her.
In my mind, I wanted to be tough. I wanted to show my authority over her and let her know I’M the boss.
I finally said “I’m gonna take away that phone if you don’t get up and start helping out” Her response included a big ole eye roll accompanied with a sigh.
So I repeated myself (mistake number 2) and told her to put the phone down or she loses it for the entire day. When she continued to roll her eyes and ignore me, I grabbed the phone out of her hands.
Related Content: Effective Ways to Teach Angry Kids to Calm Down.
When Kids test limits and challenge authority
You want to know what my daughter did after I took her phone away (besides jumping off her bed and screaming)? She started laughing at me. That’s right, she laughed!
As if me punishing her was so comical.
My blood still boils thinking about that day. But that’s when I knew something had to change. Me getting mad at her, made her get mad at me. And then we just became two people who shut down.
When I tried to take away her power, she tried to take away mine. And we were at a standstill.
I knew at that moment that I had a choice to make. I could continue handling her rude responses and back talking the way I was. Which was bound to end with us killing each other.
Or… I could change the way I handled her back talking. And put an end to it once and for all. Before she even got to her teenage years!
Related Content: The Parenting Skills You Need to Have When You Raise a Strong-Willed Child.
What to do when your child talks balk, methods that actually work
Before you know how to handle your kids back talking, it’s important to understand why they are doing it.
1 – Think about the “Why”
Here are some common reasons kid talk back and have bad attitudes:
- That’s how they are talked to
- They feel discouraged
- They feel powerless
- They want attention
- They want a reaction
- They are testing their power
As much as I hate to admit it, I took a deep look at myself and realized that when I am frustrated at my daughter, or when I feel discouraged and need some kind of reaction from her… I get angry.
I just might be guilty of talking to her in a harsh tone, or raising my voice, or even rolling my eyes. After all, monkey see monkey do right? If you can’t stay calm when you talk to your kids, how do you expect them to?
2 – Change your perspective
Kids don’t really act out unless there is a reason to do so. Have you ever heard that anger is a second emotion? Meaning, anger only comes out after a first emotion brings it out. Like frustration, sadness, feeling powerless, feeling dumb, etc.
So swap places with your kid real quick ‘freaky friday’ style. What is it that’s going on in their head that they felt like they needed to lash out at you?
That day, I could have said “Abby, I really need your help cleaning around the house. Is what you’re doing right now really important?”
3 – Empathize with how your child is feeling
Turns out my daughter had some girls be mean to her at school that day and was trying to text her friends to see why they were mad at her. She freaked out when I took her phone away because she was just finally starting to get some answers.
Did she handle it the right way? Not at all.
But if I had talked to her more calmly, I might have figured out what was going on and been a little more understanding.
We could have worked through it together, instead of against each other.
4 – Put the Power back on them
I’m not saying to give them ALL The power, but give them some. Kids who constantly feel powerless around their parents will have problems with authority growing up. You need to show them it’s possible to share the power, not control it.
How do you do this? Easy. Give them choices instead of just strict punishment.
For example, I should have said something like this “I understand what you’re doing on your phone is important to you. I’ll let you decide. You can put it down right now and help out. Or you can keep doing what you’re doing and have extra chores later to make up for it.”
5 – Don’t Punish kids who back talk
Oh, it’s so tempting. I know it is! You’re looking at your kid like they are a little snot head and the last thing you want to do is let them get away with their rude behavior.
But punishments lead to more power struggles, and more back talking.
So start with giving a consequence in a calm manner. Later on, when everyone is back to calm emotions, talk about what happened and give a punishment at that time if you must.
When I wait for my daughter to calm down, and punish later, she is way more likely to understand and not fight back like she would if we were in the middle of the argument.
6 – Get rid of bad attitude with Love
You know the saying, you attract more bees with sugar than you do vinegar. Try saying something like “That really hurts me when you talk to me that way.”
Or “We don’t talk to each other that way in this house.” Do you see what I did there? I used the word WE. So the blame is not put on them or you.
You are a team. Stay that way as best as you can.
7 – Don’t take it personally
Kids will be kids. And they are together and growing every day. Their emotions are no different. They will learn the right way to talk to people, and the correct way to handle situations.
But it will take time.
It’s nothing against you. They love you. Kids trying to test their limits is a normal part of child development. It’s how you react to them that will teach them how to behave in the future.
8 – Always Always praise the good behavior
The more you praise them for doing the right thing, the more they will strive to do that.
Even if they do 10 things wrong and 1 thing right. Learn how to get past those 10 things and praise that one!
Positive parenting is crucial for strong-willed children. And your sassy little back talker is no exception.
Even if it’s hours later, say something positive to them when they calm down.
For example “I know that situation was really tough, but I’m really proud of you for calming down and choosing to help around the house.”
Techniques that end talking back from kids once and for all
Even though its super frustrating, and you feel like you are going to explode (or cry), remember that your positive response will have a huge impact on how your child chooses to handle the situation in the future.
The calmer and more positive you can be, the more your child will learn from your example.
Do you have any tips for getting your kids to stop back-talking? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
You might also be interested in:
- How To Be a More Patient Parent
- 8 Easy Ways to Improve Your Parenting Skills
- 20 Easy Ways to Be a Fun Mom
- Easy Ways to Bond with Your Child
- Simple Habits of a Happy Mom
Great post Jenny! As you said, kids will be kids and leading by example often goes way further than getting upset when our kids talk back.
I would really love to chat with you more if you have time! My 10 year old has developed the worst attitude over the past couple years and it’s getting worse!