5 Ways to Handle Kids Talking Back

Of all the habits that we could potentially dislike in our kids, talking back is probably  #1. Sometimes we wonder where we failed as a parent that our kids behave so disrespectfully. Sometimes it is a passing phase – but  if you find that it is becoming a habitual way of talking, here are a few tips to handle the situation before it becomes too big an issue.

1. Stay calm – It can be incredibly annoying when kids talk back. You get angry and you want to say something harsh and clampdown right away. But, that could exactly be the kind of reaction that your child is hoping to get out of you- to make you lose control. Sometimes it is a power trip where kids want to push the limits to see what they can do to make you lose it. So, first things first – stay calm. And count to 10! Breathe !. Don’t get into an argument- you can never win one with a sulky teenager and it just gets progressively uglier. Instead think about how you can communicate to your child that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

2. Observe the context: Does your child talk back on a regular basis? Or is it only when she is hungry or tired? Is it a reflexive habit or only when HER buttons are pushed. We all have buttons which push us over the edge- it might be worth our time to reflect on whether we are unconsciously pushing our children’s buttons that make them act out.

3. Respect your kids– We have heard this a lot, and yet it does not come naturally to most of us to respect our kids. We think that just because they are little, we can boss them around – and to be honest, we do! ‘My way or the high way” is an attitude we feel we have earned for being the parent. But “Give respect, take respect” as the popular adage goes needs to be remembered with kids too. Especially as the little kids grow into not-so-little tweens and teens.

4Consequences: If you have tried all methods and you have been conscious of how you deal with your child and yet you find that your child has gotten into a habit of talking back, introduce consequences. If you give him/her an allowance or if they get money from grandparents, have a glass jar and every time your child talks back, have him drop Rs. 10 in the jar, or have a 3 strikes rule.  Three times he talks back and he loses TV time or video game time!

5. Positive affirmation: While we are quick in expressing anger when the kids behave badly, we usually don’t appreciate our kids as much when they behave well. When your child behaves well, complement them on their good behaviour. Positive affirmation ALWAYS gives better results than punishments.

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