Why Do Kids Talk Back?


This is enough to make the blood boil in any parent with a level head! How dare she speak to me in that manner! “Doesn’t she realize I worked 15 hours?”

We can examine backtalk objectively in a calmer moment (deep breath) to better understand WHY this happens and what we can do to correct it.

Is Backtalk a Normal Practice?

Backtalk is a term used to describe disrespectful responses by children. The age of the child will determine the type of backtalk. It can be anything from a defiant “NO” to an outright shouting match or even swearing.

Backtalk is not tolerated. But what about more subtle remarks? How can you tell if your child is using backtalk or just expressing his natural independence?

It’s expected that all children, from toddlers to teens, will want to assert their independence. To determine if your child’s backtalk is something you need to correct, ask the “litmus-test” question …”Would your child respond the same way if they were in front of friends, coworkers, or your mother in law”?

The answer to most questions is “no,” and this tells us that we need to be proactive in correcting backtalk.

Why do kids talk back?

Children can talk back to you for many reasons. Kids may be trying to test their strength and see how far it can go. Parents who “boss them” or overprotect them may make the child feel disrespected. They may also live in a household where respectful communication is not a priority.

Talking back is a child’s way to assert his power and say, “you are not my boss.”

All of us are hardwired to want positive power – the ability to control our lives. We can prevent our children from achieving personal power and independence when we overprotect, demand, correct, and direct.

Our kids only know how to react by fighting back. This is a basic response to fight or flight. They can’t flee, so they respond with backtalking, negotiating, and arguing.

Check out the five steps to stop backtalk now that you’ve learned it’s common!

If you’re having power struggles at home, I am always available to help.

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