How to Handle Backtalk and Disrespect Using Positive Parenting

Children are cute when naughty. A few tantrums, arguments, and yelling occasionally is not abnormal. But if such behavior becomes a daily occurrence, then it is a cause for concern. 

When your three-year-old daughter talks back to you, it may seem funny and adorable. But when your seven-year-old girl shouts out a ‘no’ every time you tell her to do something, it can get on your nerves. If not handled properly, backtalk can lead to arguments between parents and children. 

So, what do you do? 

If your child talks back but follows your instructions, then ignore it. Ignoring backtalk may be okay if the behavior is not threatening or destructive. If the child follows instructions, even though he talks back, appreciate that they did what you asked, even if they didn’t want to. You can then explain that it is okay to be angry, but not okay to speak to you disrespectfully. 

But if the child’s responses are threatening others or self, then you need to pay attention to what they say and handle it carefully. Do not respond impulsively. Let the child calm down and then address what he or she said. Tell them calmly about what behavior is acceptable and what is not. 

Set limits and make them aware of the consequences. Do not threaten, just state plain facts that if they talk back, they won’t get ice cream or go to the movie. For example, tell them if they continue to yell and shout, then they will have to forgo the dinner. However, if they stop shouting and listen to you, then they will get something nice for dinner. Such give-and-take will look less controlling but giving the option to the child themselves. 

Set expectations, but you can be a little flexible sometimes if it makes them happy. 

Finally, take a quick check of how you behave with the kids or others when the kids are around. Are you rude or disrespectful? If yes, you need to start by changing your behavior. 

Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.   

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