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The right way to handle kids who back talk

We love talking parenting tips here on KiddyCharts and in this post we are going to talk about how to handle kids who back talk. Handling back talk isn’t easy, and I would go as far as saying that it can be one of the most discouraging things about parenting. It just feels awful to have your child, your wonderful child, behave like a brat.

It may feel horrible but there are reasons behind their behaviour that probably don’t have anything to do with what they are saying, and ultimately, with you. 

What can we do to handle kids who back talk? 

Take a deep breath and relax

This is the most difficult part, isn’t it? I am guilty of escalating back talk because of wanting to assert my dominance. I never got to get away with talking to my parents that way, so why should my kids get away with being disrespectful to me?

This approach can snowball into a power struggle, and ultimately leads to hurt, resentment, and a shouting match in some cases. 

When you ask your child to do their homework, or to brush their teeth, their power is taken away from them. The way for them to assert that power is by speaking up for themselves. 

It may seem like an overly exaggerated reaction on their part, and many times it is. But this is where we can switch into gear and dig a bit deeper as it’s seldom as simple as the issue at hand.

Choose to remain calm

It can take a mere second for you to decide how to react when you are trying to handle kids who back talk. In many cases, your initial reaction is to talk back or sometimes even shout back! Ultimately, that escalates the situation and leads to your child feeling even more disconnected from the situation, and ultimately, from you. 

If your response is an angry one then your child will feel much more powerless and will “fight back” by fighting harder to make themselves and their feelings known. 

Once you regulate your feelings it will be easier to remain calm and find the best way to move forward.

Think about the why’s

There are different reasons why kids react so aggressively to seemingly simple requests. We know it has a lot to do with feeling powerless, but there is usually more behind it.

Many times children may:

  • echo what they are used to hearing
  • know no other way to get attention (negative attention is better than no attention)
  • be upset and don’t know how to communicate what they are feeling

There are many other things that fit into those categories but I find that those are ultimately the biggest culprits. Most of the time it’s not about you, not about me, and not about whatever we may think it’s about.

Flip the script

This may sound a bit strange but when I find myself wanting to react aggressively and inappropriately I have a trick up my sleeve. I flip the script and treat my kids as if they were someone else’s kids. I know, it sounds strange, but hear me out.

You wouldn’t shout at someone else’s kids and vent your aggression and frustration on them, would you? What if thy are being really badly behaved? I am almost 100% certain that you would find a way to keep your composure and not react. Then why do we do it to our own kids?

This approach helps me remain calm and composed. I then find the proper words to let my kids now that it is not okay for them to be disrespectful. Once they see that I am calm, they echo my tone of voice or sometimes even stay quiet altogether!

This has proved to be a great way to handle kids who back talk!

I take advantage of the moment by trying to figure out what is really behind their reaction and find out what is bothering them. It’s hardly ever me!

Empathise with their feelings

When your kid opens up to you it shows their vulnerability. Don’t exploit this, but work towards showing your kids that you are on their team. They should feel that whatever problem they may have can be solved together.

By giving them that reassurance and that confidence to open up to you your children may be more inclined to speak to you rather than talk back.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and look forward to seeing you for the next one! We have plenty of parenting tips on KiddyCharts, you may enjoy these posts –

If you like this post then why not have a read of more parenting posts from some great parenting bloggers.

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Helen is a mum to two, social media consultant, and website editor; and this site is (we think) the only Social Enterprise parenting magazine! Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts has reach of over 1.1million across social and the site. The blog works with big family brands (including travel) to help promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. It gives 51%+ profits to Reverence for Life, who fund a number of important initiatives in Africa, including bringing running water and basic equipment to a school in Tanzania. Helen has worked as a digital marketing consultant (IDM qualified) with various organisations, including Channel Mum, Truprint, Talk to Mums, and Micro Scooters. She loves to be creative in the brand campaigns she works on. Get in touch TODAY!

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