5 Steps To Put the Brakes on Back Talk

by Amy McCready

backtalk5steps_facebookAs a parent, the words “No, I won’t,” or “You do it,” from our kids is enough to make us cringe. In fact, back talk is the number one parenting complaint from all the parents I’ve worked with—and it can be so hard to get kids to respond to our requests without whining, eye-rolling, or simply ignoring us that many of us can’t help but snip back, “You’ll do it because I said so,” or “Don’t you dare talk to me that way!”

Back talk might be annoying and, at times, infuriating, but it’s a common side-effect of growing up and gaining independence. At all ages, kids need a strong sense of personal power on an emotional level. When they can’t get it because we’re ordering them around or doing everything for them, they lash out with words. It’s a typical “fight or flight” response: since they can’t exactly move into their own apartment (flight), they’ll fight back by testing limits and trying to get a reaction.

The best way to stop back talk in its tracks is to allow our kids the positive personal power they need. By fostering independence within our limits, we can help them grow up, as well as limit the back talk, arguing, whining that no one enjoys. Here’s how:

1. Give kids some power
Find opportunities for your kids to assume some control of their own world, whether that means picking their own outfit for the day (for a toddler) or planning an activity for a family vacation (for a teenager). The more positive power you give them, the less they’ll try to get it in negative ways.

2. Don’t play a role
Recognize that parents may unknowingly contribute to the power struggles that produce back talk by bossing kids around too frequently. After all, would you be able to hold your tongue if you were told what to do all day? Limit the ordering, directing and correcting you do by finding alternate ways to get cooperation, and you may find that back talk is greatly reduced.

3. Pay attention!
Your kids have an attention basket that needs to get filled every day—they need your undivided attention, and will get it one way or another! Spend 10 minutes twice a day getting into each child’s world with no interruptions (let your phone go to voice mail), and you’ll see get a lot more cooperation in the future.

4. Refer to the rules
Set very clear rules for your house, and set up very clear consequences for any child who chooses to test them. You don’t have to be overly harsh or strict, you simply need to stick with the limits you put in place.

5. Keep your cool

defiant little girl

Your kids may be talking back simply to get a rise out of you—so don’t give them the satisfaction! Simply say, “I feel hurt by the way you’re talking to me. When I hear that tone of voice, I’m going to walk away. We can talk again when you can speak respectfully to me.” Then walk away. Next time it happens, there’s no need for even a warning—simply leave the room. You’re sending the message that you refuse to participate in a power struggle. And when there’s no one to fight with, there’s no fight!

By following these 5 steps, you’ll be able to greatly reduce the amount of backtalk you hear from your kids. And isn’t that music to your ears?

Tired of daily back talk? Ready for your kids to listen without you resorting to nagging, yelling and punishing? You’ll LOVE the discipline tools in our free video series! Sign up for our free video series to learn No Stress Steps to Get Kids to Listen…Without Losing Your Cool. Get instant access to videos here:
http://www.positiveparentingsolutions.com/parent-training.

Comments

comments

View Comments »

About the Author
Amy McCready
Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the author of “If I Have To Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program To Get Kids To Listen Without Nagging, Reminding, or Yelling”. (Penguin, 2011). She is a regular contributor on The TODAY Show and has also appeared on Rachael Ray, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, and elsewhere. As a “recovering yeller,” Amy is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happy families and well-behaved kids. Her award-winning online course empowers parents worldwide to correct their kids’ misbehaviors without nagging, reminding or yelling. Amy is a sought after keynote speaker and trusted spokesperson for family-friendly brands. In her most important role, she plays mom to two teenage boys. Follow Amy on Twitter. Connect with Amy.
Comments