In episode 127 we cover how to stop kids from talking back. There are a few other terms for “talking back” or “back talk. These can be:
– smart mouth
– being snappy
– giving lip
Every parent will experience some form of this. It seems to happen when they get around grade school age – 5 or 6. They want to engage you whether it’s positive or negative. Remember our discussion about negative discipline in Episode 109 You can’t give in to this.
Jane Nelson, author of Positive Discipline says that “when a child talks back, what he’s really expressing is anger, frustration, fear, or hurt.”
So the reality is they are probably feeling something and don’t know how to express it. So they do they by talking back. What can we do about it? Here are a few tips:
– #1 tip – Ignore them. If you are in a situation where that is possible, simply don’t engage with the behavior. Be prepared they may escalate it so ignoring is not always the ideal answer.
– Don’t take it personally – As Jane Nelson say, something else is going on. It may have nothing to do with you. If you approach it that way, you will be more inclined to not be negative yourself.
– Show empathy – Because there could be something else going on, showing empathy may help diffuse the situation. “You are really mad about not being able to watch TV. I can understand how that can be frustrating.”
– Offer Options – Instead of TV, you can read a book in your room or play with your legos. Which one do you prefer?
– Give warnings on time – A lot of battles are over time: coming inside for dinner, only playing a video game for so long, etc. Provide warning of how much time is left for the activity.
– Connect with Them – It may simply be that they need your attention. Check in with yourself and them and see if it’s something you can provide. If not right at the moment, schedule it with them and let them know when it will happen. “After dinner, do you want to play some cards? I’d love to play with you.”
– Set Clear House Rules – If speaking respectfully is a house rule, make sure you are doing the same. You’ll want to make sure they aren’t learning the snappy attitude from you.
– Positive discipline – Be sure to re-enforce good behavior. Listen to episode 109 if you need some pointers for that.
Pushing back is a part of growing and will serve them well as adults. The key is us teaching them how to push back. We need to teach them how to communicate effectively.