Parenting
5 Powerful Responses For Backtalk

5 Powerful Responses For Backtalk

Great tips on how to stop talking back to your parents! When it comes to raising smart kids who are kind and don’t talk back, it’s good to have these powerful tips in your back pocket when you need some responses for backtalk.

It’s easy to get frustrated when dealing with an angry, disrespectful child talking back when presented with a task.

You immediately feel a ball of fire rushing into your heart, and something clicks in your mind, warning you that your child cannot communicate with you in this manner.

So how do we end the backtalk in your home?

The thing is, backtalk can happen at any age, usually when they learn how to say “No,” and it’s actually an essential part of their development, which doesn’t make dealing with the attitude any easier.

Often, talking back happens when a child is merely trying to gain control over their own life with a simple act of choosing clothing, food, or activity.

Other times, backtalk happens if the child is tired, grumpy, or is merely needing to test boundaries.

Nevertheless, there are things you can do to stop the disrespectful backtalk, and manage these critical growth milestones in a positive parenting kind of way.

When a child speaks out, it’s common for parents to become preoccupied with how they say it rather than what they say. When we are disrespected, we become reactive and attempt to eliminate the source of our upset sentiments.

However, if we simply focus on our own feelings, we miss out on the potential to teach our children vital skills like respectful disagreement.

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What Is Talking Back and Why Kids Talk Back

Backtalk is a very healthy stage of life, and all children go through it.

It is all about the disrespectful tone that your child responds to you with, and it can be very discouraging to a parent to deal with.

Backtalk can be presented with a simple eye roll, all the way to a full-blown shouting match, sometimes ending in profanity with older kids.

All children are looking to be more independent, and that’s what we want for them as parents. I’m continually teaching independence with chore systems, routines, and financial responsibilities too.

But this independence comes with a price, the price of backtalk.

Not all backtalk is needed to be corrected, however, if you were to experience the kind of backtalk you’re presented with in front of a coworker or friend, would you be embarrassed?

If yes, then you most likely need to be proactive in correcting this behaviour.

There are three main reasons that children talk back;

  1. Exercising their “power.”
  2. They feel disrespected or “bossed around.”
  3. They don’t know how to communicate their feelings properly (most common!)

So whatever the reason could be for your childrens outburst, you need to make sure you understand why it’s happening so you can correct the behaviour before it gets out of hand later on in life and before you know it you raised an angry disrespectful child.

When Is Backtalk Healthy

Allowing kids to talk back has many advantages. It will even put a stop to the behaviour if you also do the following:

Teaching How To Respecfull Disagree

Of course, you should not promote the use of an impolite tone. However, parents should not assume that everything is speaking back to them. Not all unpleasant remarks are the result of a power struggle, limit testing, attention-seeking, or a lack of discipline.

Children, particularly younger ones, lack strong emotional control abilities. As a result, when they oppose to anything essential to them, their powerful emotions will automatically surface.

Rather than being purposefully rude, most children just express feelings they do not yet understand how to manage.

We won’t be able to help them or satisfy their needs if we only focus on the tone and neglect the content. And if we completely prohibit any negative tone, children will not be able to practise conveying their words in a regulated manner.

They will make blunders because they are practising. Expect a child to get it wrong the first time. We must maintain our calm, gently point out the problematic tone, and urge them to repeat their message in a more appropriate manner.

If we can gently point out the error and offer them another chance to say it correctly, they will be more likely to cool down and do it correctly the next time.

Helps them Become Assertive

When children are angry, they could become abrupt and unpleasant, but this is easily remedied with practice (and your patience). Speaking anxiety, on the other hand, is more difficult to treat.

It is critical for children to learn to be assertive and not be scared to speak up. Assertiveness is especially important for females, who are frequently encouraged that they should be “nice.” Many women, like Mary, are unable to advocate for themselves and demand what they are entitled to.

Being assertive, like having a polite tone, takes practice so that children can assert themselves properly.

Teaches Respect

When you allow your child to speak out and listen to their point of view, you are demonstrating respect for others. The greatest approach to teach children respect is to be a good role model.

Teaches Life Skills

Enabling your childrens backtalk implies allowing your child to reason with you. Reasoning develops a childrens critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and bargaining abilities. All of these are crucial life skills that will help your child thrive in life.

If you are too angry or agitated to educate effectively, simply walk away from the situation for a short period of time to calm down, which is another coping technique for children. Before you re-engage, make sure you’re cool and composed.

Helps With emotional Regulation

Sometimes children push the boundaries and seek to engage in a power struggle. This is generally the case when they are upset.

When individuals, whether children or adults believe that something is wrong or unjust, they become angry. When a kid becomes angry, stress hormones are produced, the thinking brain goes “offline,” and a tantrum begins.

It is critical to have a functional thinking brain in order to prevent tantrums and control emotions.

Reasoning with your child can assist them in thinking through a problem and activating their thinking brain.

They Learn That Authority Figures Can Be Wrong

Teaching a child to “always follow the authorities and never speak back” is a form of conditioning that prepares the child to tolerate maltreatment.

Parents do not have unlimited power. I make mistakes all the time. I’d prefer my child know right from wrong in any scenario than always agree with me like a sheep.

Authorities aren’t always correct. They are human, and human beings make mistakes. Furthermore, certain authorities do misuse their authority. When this happens (and it happens more often than you think), you want your child to be able to resist maltreatment.

Helps Build Up Strong Relationships

You develop a deep bond with your child when you treat him or her like a reasonable human being rather than a subordinate. Your child will notice that you are paying attention to what they are saying. They will ultimately learn to trust you, listen to you more carefully, and stop interrupting you.

When you focus on motivating learning rather than punishing children for speaking out, you will have fewer fights, a more tranquil house, and a happier family.

Great Responses For Backtalk (The Disrespectful Kind That Needs To Be Addressed)

Backtalk Response: I’ll Do It Later

Does your child ever tell you they will do it later and then never end up doing it?

This is a common way for children to get away without helping out around the house without directly saying no, they will not help.

Instead of giving in to this response with an “ok, but make sure it gets done,” which is dismissive and can still get away with their avoidance, try an “if and when” response.

Response Example: “No worries, If you do clean your room, you’ll be able to have a friend over later today.

This way, your child will understand that they aren’t cleaning their room for you, but for themselves, so they can have a friend over in a clean room.

Another Example: “Ok, that sounds great! Unfortunately, you cannot use the cell phone until it is done.

Just to be clear, this does not mean you are taking away their cell phone and being manipulative or punishing your child, you are simply motivating them to take action when they are talking back and not doing what you have asked repeatedly. If this is not an often occurrence, and the dismissive “I’ll do it later” response was not given with an attitude, you’re not dealing with a child talking back, but simply will comply later when they have finished what they are doing.

Backtalk Response: Whatever

The “Whatever” response usually happens when children have lost an argument and throw one last remark at you to make you angry.

The response to “whatever” is easy.

Just walk away. You’ve already won the argument.

What doesn’t work: “Don’t you, whatever me young man.” This is not positive parenting, and just angers your child and they will most likely roll their eyes at you, making you angrier, which spirals into fighting and tension in the family.

Backtalk Response: You Can’t Make Me

This is a power struggle response to your request that they don’t want to complete.

It’s never a great idea to say ” Yes I can” in response to you can’t make me because it sounds like you’re threatening them.

Example Response: “I know I can’t make you, but if you don’t follow the rules, then there will be consequences.

You can read all about natural consequences or consequences for children who do not care about consequences here.

Backtalk Response: Leave Me Alone

Sometimes children will want to shut you out when they are angry. While it is alright for kids to take space if they need it.

When children are in this state of mind, you cannot force them to talk to you. Any force will make the situation worse.

Example Response: “Alright, no problem, let’s talk about this at 7 pm” or “whenever you are ready.

If your child still does not want to talk about it, that’s alright.

Follow up with a consequence, if this matter is severe enough that it warrants a conversation.

Example: You don’t have to talk to me about this right now, but there will be no more computer use until we have this conversation.”

Once again, this is the response if the matter is severe and someone was put in danger or worse.

If the matter is not that severe, then you can probably just let it go and offer the option of talking about it if they want to. Remembering to keep things positive and respectful.

Backtalk Response: You Don’t Love Me

Well, if this isn’t something that throws guilt directly into the face of parents… This form of backtalk is one of the hardest to hear.

However, you can reinforce the rules you have set and discussed that the issue is not about love.

Example: “I do love you! But this isn’t about love; this is about the rules we have in our family about screen time on weekends.

I get A LOT of backlash on this response, but honestly, you are telling your child you love them all the time, (or you should be) and when it comes to the child saying “you don’t love me” when you provide a consequence or not allow them to take part in an activity for whatever reason, you CAN say that this is not about love. Saying this does NOT mean that you do not love your child.

Ways To Prevent and Minimize Backtalk In Your Home

While some backtalk is OK and has so many benefits, sometimes it’s something that does need to be addressed. Here are my best tips on how to prevent and minimize the “bad” backtalk inside the home.

Keep Calm

This is the most significant factor in handling backtalk from your child. If you’re not calm, how can you expect your child to stay calm?

I get it!

When listening to a child speak to you in a disrespectful tone, the anger boils up so quickly that you may feel like it’s impossible to stay calm.

But, it’s vital that you try to be calm and collected in this situation.

Ultimately, your child learns how to deal with situations from you, so seeing you overreact to something, will tell them that it is also ok for them to overreact to situations. Here is how to teach your kids how to deal with mean friends!

We all make mistakes and overreact in situations, but having a conversation about it and apologizing, will help ease that tension if you do happen to yell back at your backtalking child.

Ensure Your Children Understand The House Rules

Do you have a set of house rules, and do your children understand what they are?

Sometimes children get frustrated if they don’t understand why you’re always telling them to stop running in the house, resulting in children who don’t listen. 

Imagine you are at work and your boss tells you to make copies of your work before you leave the office every day.

If you didn’t know this was an office rule, you might get frustrated with your boss and talk back to them, especially if you’re already running late to pick up the kids, and another task is just frustrating to your situation.

The same thing applies to your home and your kids. 

Set clear house rules and expectations so that everyone is on the same page all the time. 

This will reduce any tantrums, backtalk, and confusion in your home.

Create Daily Meaningful Connections

Making sure to connect with your child positively every day can help end the backtalk in your home.

How? Time flies every day. Things are so busy, and you may not even know it, but before the day is over, you’ve not spent more than 5 minutes of quality time with your child.

Happens to me sometimes, and the mom guilt takes over.

It’s a bad scene.

I set reminders on my Google home hub to make sure I plan special quality time with my kids daily.

When you are SO BUSY, commanding your child around with tasks they NEED to complete, will inevitably lead to eye-rolling and attitude.

If you spend five minutes on one on one attention with each child daily, you’re way less likely to experience attitude, and more likely to experience gratitude!

Try Not To Dictate And Order Kids Around

Talking to kids instead of at kids is a great way to create connecting conversations instead of dictations.

You can create these calm conversations by providing room for your kids to talk while you listen to their concerns and address any issues in a relaxed and collected way.

Believe it or not, parents can trigger backtalk and power struggles, without even knowing they are doing so, just by bossing kids around instead of having conversations.

Bossing your kids around will make them feel discouraged, and they may lose self-confidence, and no parent wants that for their child.

So take a moment and reflect, do you order your kids around, or do you have conversations with them?

Provide Opportunities For Kids To Do Things Themselves

Sometimes power struggles and backtalk are a result of not feeling independent enough.

Make sure you provide enough opportunities daily for your child to feel like they have control over their own life.

This can be as simple as picking out their outfit if they are a toddler or having your teenager pick the restaurant for the next family dinner.

Kids need to have their “power” needs to be met; otherwise, they will express their powers in different ways (tantrums, backtalk, disrespect), which could impact bedtime, dinner time, and any other routine(this is my day) you may have set in your home.

Providing your child with opportunities to be independent is a proactive way to prevent backtalk. It is far better to be proactive than reactive.

Ending The Backtalk In Your Home

As we have discussed, backtalk is a very reasonable part of the development stage, and it is tough to avoid, even in the most well-behaved child.

Backtalk comes in the form of eye-rolling, shouting matches, and sometimes profanity.

If your children are feeling disrespected or bossed around, needing more independence, or merely needing guidance for learning to express their feelings, you can expect to receive some eye rolls and backtalk from them.

Remember that keeping calm, setting house rules, creating meaningful daily connections, and providing opportunities for your children to be independent are great ways to end the backtalk in your home.

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  • Reduce backtalk by HALF! It’s simple once you know the secrets of these two ‘buckets.’
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