Preschool Parenting Class: How to Deal with Backtalk

Don’t you wish that your sweet little baby would just stay sweet!?

Unfortunately, though your baby is human, and that means at times they are going to get angry and even start to say mean things.

Dealing with your child’s back talk can be frustrating. Here’s some ideas on how to handle back talk in a healthy way.

Kids start back talking around age two. Once they really “find their words” and start talking more, they discover how to say “No” more often. As they get older their back talk can come more advanced and more frequent. Sometimes kids talk back because they want to work parents up, they see that it might get your attention or give them power.

Often, it’s an experiment. Maybe they heard someone on TV, or a friend saying something like that, and they wanna know how you’ll react. Sometimes, they just wanna get their way. They wanna get out of chores or not do their homework.

Back- talk is a is a bit like a tube of toothpaste, once the words come out you can’t put them back in. We can’t tell them, you can’t talk to me like that because they already did.

So, one method to try is to refuse to give any power or significance to the “back talk”. When you respond with your own form of angry talk, you are just giving your child the result they might have wanted. That becomes a crazy cycle where everyone just ends up yelling at each other. What I recommend is if your child says something disrespectful to you, just say “it’s not okay to talk to me like that, I’ll be happy to try this conversation again when you have calmed down” with as little emotion as possible.

And then walk away. That’s right, I said walk away. That’s not ignoring your child, but rather it’s inviting your child to a respectful conversation. It’s also setting a boundary that you won’t participate in a disrespectful conversation.

Setting a great example is also very important. If you want your child to speak respectfully to you, make sure that you’re speaking respectfully to your child and to your spouse. Whatever the usual emotional tone is in your home, that’s what your child is going to think is normal.

Our words are very powerful. We need to learn to use them respectfully. Remember, the goal here is not to suppress your child’s anger. Anger is actually a very useful emotion. It tells us that “something needs to change”. But rather, you’re teaching your child to remain respectful even though they are angry.

Ephesians 4:26 says “In your anger, do not sin”. Notice that it didn’t say, “Don’t get angry”. What it said was to remain under control while you are angry.

This is the skill you are teaching your child when you are addressing their “Back Talk”