Parenting Tips When Kids Talk Back

When kids talk back the adults who are on the receiving end of this behavior do not understand why this has occurred, or even how to respond to it. Often the response causes more problems and just makes the situation worse. Here are some tips to try when kids talk back.

young girl talking back to her parentsWhen kids talk back to their parents, grandparents, and other adults that they interact with such as coaches and teachers, it is a very challenging issue. In many cases, the adults who are on the receiving end of this behavior do not understand why this has occurred, or even how to respond to it. This can just make the situation worse. Many mental health specialists and those that specialize in child care will attest to the fact that this type of behavior is considered to be “learned”. This is, in many cases, an outright disrespect for authority and should be dealt with accordingly. Here, I will try to provide some helpful information and insight on this topic, as well as some basic techniques to cope when kids talk back.

Problems in Stopping the Back Talk

Every single day, there are adults everywhere who are at their ends wit when it comes to trying to stop kids from talking back. If you face this challenge, it is essential to know and understand that it is not appropriate to give into this type of behavior. It is considered to be highly disrespectful and disrespect should not be tolerated in children. If it is tolerated, the child will grow to develop many different types of emotional and behavioral problems. If you are having problem in stopping the back talk, it is important to evaluate your response to this behavior, as well as the responses of others. It is then that you can develop a plan to put a stop to this type of verbal disrespect.

Common Reasons for Talking Back
There are many different reasons why a child may talk back. The following list details some of the reasons why this may occur:

  1. If a child is talking back, it is important to observe the behavior of the adults in the home. It is a known fact that many children model themselves after the adults that they come in contact with on a daily basis. Do the adults in the home exhibit a smartallic conversational tone? Do these individuals become loud and obnoxious? If this is occurring in the home, it is quite possible that the child is not the one to blame, but the adults in the home are. Appropriate behavior modification should be implemented in order to adjust to that which is acceptable.
  2. If the parents and other adults around the child who is talking back often “gives in” to the behavior of the child, the kid will use this to their advantage. They will gain a certain level of control by back talking and being quite obnoxious about it. Children should grow to learn that “no” is no, and that they will not always get their way.
  3. Many children who do not feel as if they get any attention from their parents may begin to talk back to adults in order to acquire attention – even if it is negative. To a child, negative attention is better than no attention at all.

How to Handle Back Talk

There are many ways that you can handle back talk if you are on the receiving end as an adult. The following details some of the methods that have been found to be effective in this type of situation:

  1. If a child starts to back talk you, you should hold them accountable immediately and then follow up on this accountability by informing that their actions are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Stop the behavior in its tracks and make sure they take you seriously when you do this. This means backing up what you say, when you say it.
  2. Many children will talk back to an adult to simply get an argument going. If your child does this, you hold them accountable, and they continue to engage in the behavior, simply ignore them. When they see that their ability to control and manipulate you just is not working, then eventually the behavior will die out completely.
  3. If your child back talks and you observe them being respectful in conversation later, you must ensure that you point this out and encourage them to act in this manner more often. Eventually, they will come to a point where they want to please you.


When kids talk back, it is a complicated experience. However, it is a behavior that can be modified. By understanding what causes it, and how you can correct it, you can easily bring about a positive change when it comes to the overall behavior of your child.

No part of this article may be copied or reproduced in any form without the express permission of More4Kids Inc © 2009 All Rights Reserved


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