Posts Tagged backtalk

3 Things You Can Do Today to Minimize Backtalk…

backtalk_facebookLast week I wrote about the reasons kids talk back. Here are 3 strategies for you to use to address backtalk.

1. Own YOUR role. Communication is a two-way street and parents have to “own” the role they play in the power struggle. Be aware of your communication style and minimize the amount of ordering, correcting and directing you do with your kids (and spouse!) To learn more about how your personality priority impacts power struggles, I encourage you to sign up for our free training.

2. Give power. Find ways to give your kids the positive power they NEED! Provide more choices, bring kids into family decision-making when appropriate – give them opportunities to have more control over their world. To a toddler, that may mean choosing between a Batman and Spiderman toothbrush; to a teenager, it may mean having more choices in which family chores he will do and how and when they’ll be done.

3. Chill. Don’t over-react to backtalk. Our kids bait us with backtalk to get a reaction. They use negative power behaviors and expect a power-response from you – that’s why they do it! When you get upset and respond with a “you WILL not talk to me that way, young man”, they SCORE with a power payoff.

Instead, get eye to eye and very CALMLY say, “I feel hurt when you speak to me that way. When I hear that tone of voice, I’m going to walk away. I’ll be happy to talk with you when we can speak to each other respectfully.”

Then – WALK AWAY! The next time it happens – don’t remind – don’t say a word! Just CALMLY walk away. It sends the message, “I won’t participate in this power struggle with you.”

If you’re just beginning to see sassy backtalk rear it’s ugly head or you are experiencing down-right defiance, the three solutions above will get you started towards a solution.

Why Do Kids Talk Back?

Girl standing on chair yelling through a megaphoneGirl standing on chair yelling through a megaphone

Girl standing on chair yelling through a megaphone

It’s enough to make any level-headed parent’s blood boil! “How dare she talk to me that way! Doesn’t she know I spent 15 hours in labor?”

In calmer moments, (deep breath) we can look at backtalk more objectively to understand WHY it happens and what we can do to correct it.

Is Backtalk Normal?

“Backtalk” is a broad term that refers to disrespectful responses from children. Depending on the age of the child, it can range from a toddler’s defiant “NO,” to rolling the eyes, to a full-blown shouting match, and even profanity.

It’s obvious that profanity can’t be tolerated, but what about the more subtle backtalk remarks? How do you know if backtalk is something you have to address or if it’s just your child’s normal progression towards independence?

All children (toddlers to teenagers) seek to exert their independence—it’s what they’re supposed to do. However, to determine if the backtalk you’re experiencing is something that needs to be corrected, apply the “litmus test” question…”Would it be okay for your child to respond in the same way in front of your friends, co-workers or your mother-in-law”?

In most cases, the answer is “no” and that tells us we have to be PROACTIVE in correcting the backtalk.

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WHY Do Kids Talk Back?

Kids talk back for a variety of reasons. They may be testing their own power to see how far they can take it. They may feel disrespected by parents who overprotect or “boss” them around. Or, they may live in a home in which respectful communication isn’t a priority.

In the majority of cases, however, talking back is the child’s way of exerting his power and saying “you’re not the boss of me.”

We’re all hard-wired with a need for positive power—the ability to have some control over our lives. When we over-protect, over-demand, order, correct and direct…we stand in the way of our children achieving independence and personal power.

The only way our kids know how to respond is to fight back. It’s a basic fight or flight response—they can’t easily flee, so they fight back with backtalk, negotiating, arguing, stomping away, eye rolling, etc.

Now that you know it’s normal, check out the 5 steps to put the brakes on backtalk today!

If the power struggles in your home have gotten out of hand, I’m always here for you.

I’d love for you to join me for a FREE ONLINE CLASS. I’ll teach you how to get your kids to listen—no nagging, yelling, or reminding required!

As always, happy parenting!

Title Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock