Kids and Back-Talking: Why It Happens and How to Handle It

Boy shouting

Once the commitment has been outlined and understood and your child begins to protest, don't engage in a back-and-forth argument. So, if Adam argues, because his mother has turned off the TV after she's explained the commitment, and starts in with “but that’s not fair, this is my favorite show…” or something to that effect, his mother should use what Parenting with Love and Logic calls the “one-liner.”

The key, of course, is to maintain a soft, empathetic tone of voice. For example, you could say “I love you too much to argue,” or “Probably so,” or “I know, it’s a bummer,” or “There’s no time for making kitten britches.” (Some of the most effective one-liners are really strange!)

MORE:  When and How to Discipline Your Child Regarding Right and Wrong }

I love this method because I don’t feel like I’m the parent trying to rule with an iron fist. I’m helping my children make correct choices by helping them feel in control. (And the humor of the teaching moment is not lost on me!)

What is your biggest back-talk struggle? What has worked for you?

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Kids and Back-Talking: Why It Happens and How to Handle It

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7 comments

  1. Miranda says:

    Some of these seem very simple but I can say firsthand that some of these scenarios are something you’d see in a movie, not something that will actually work in real life. I’ve tried many approaches to my five year old son. He use to be a very loving, caring little boy. Since he started seeing his biological father this last year he has become violent and angry. He yells at me and hits himself constantly. His father has a temper too but I don’t know if its from seeing the way his father behaves or the many different, and negative changes he has experienced upon seeing his Dad. His Dad constantly talks badly about my fiancé and me:( So that adds to my son’s lack of respect and love. No amount of punishment especially using words helps. The best we have found is he listens better to my fiancé and my fiancé puts him in time out when he is naughty but when it is just my son and I there’s no respect.

  2. LIZ says:

    i hope this ever happens to me, this is so hard to control

  3. doreena says:

    My two older boys are 8 & (soon to be) 10 yr old. My husband and I almost always get back talk from my 8 yr old. We both expect it and knows it’s coming when telling him to do something; however, my husband still deals with it by enforcing his power rather then trying to get our son to come about it in a more calmer, less argumentative way. I think of it as tricking our boys into doing what we want them to do without the hassle. My husband thinks that we shouldn’t have to do that. He’s a stubborn man, but he’s coming around and both our boys are getting better at listening. Preparing yourself for habits like taking back and thinking of ways to go about it makes each time much less stressful and saves more time then you think. Also, it teaches out kids to be more responsible and think about the choices they make. Good article. Going to make my husband read it. -Doreena

  4. heather says:

    Good points in article but it is always harder to actually do in the moment

  5. Samantha says:

    I am glad I read this. Good article.

  6. Amalia says:

    It is better for a parent to tell their kid in a nice way to do what they are suppose to do, and by telling them they are doing wrong they can then realize that they have to do as they are told and whatever they are expecting might not be what they are hoping for. This is a great lesson for all children not just toddlers. I might use this technique is my little one doesnt do what hes suppose to do

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