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Talking Back

If you have ever asked your child to do something and gotten a sassy retort in return, you have been exposed to back talk. Most parents have been on the receiving end of backtalk at one time or another. It's inevitable that children will test the waters and see if they can smart back to their parent. This bad habit generally rears its ugly head during the elementary years, so be prepared to nip it in the bud right away! 

Handling Back Talk

Parent often complain that it's their teens and tweens that are primarily guilty of back talk. But, what many parents don't realize is that backtalk often starts long before those teenage years. How you handle your child's back talking will set the stage for what will happen when she becomes a teenager. Let her know now that it will not be tolerated, and she will be less likely to engage in it later.

Parenting tips to help manage back talk:

  • Let your child know right from the beginning that you will not tolerate back talk. Let her know how you want to be addressed and what is and isn't acceptable.
  • Make it clear that you will not listen when your child back talk. Use a matter of fact approach. She needs to know you will only respond when and only when she is respectful.
  • Focus on positive reinforcement by keeping track of and rewarding your child for being respectful. You can do this by printing a behavior chart, assigning points for good behavior, and rewarding good behavior with items you select.
  • Teach your child what is and isn't respectful. During the elementary years, it may be effective and beneficial to role play when everyone is in a good mood, allowing your child to model effective ways to respond to things she may not be happy about.

In all relationships, it's important teach others how we expect to be addressed. It is no different with our children. Kids have to learn what is and isn't acceptable and effective ways to communicate feelings. The better you are able to combat backtalk when it emerges, the better off you will be in the years to come.