How parents can deal with ‘back talk’ from children

Teaching manners gives kids a life filled with greater appreciation for themselves and others. Net photo.

Imagine telling your child to switch off the TV and sleep because it is past their bed time and, shockingly, your child talks back.  “But mum, I am not a child anymore.” This doesn’t sound kind, right?

It is for this reason that kids know why talking back to people is impolite. This is how you can help them.

Don’t force them to do anything they don’t want to do. Many times parents have the authority and the commanding language in that; they just want to order kids to do everything they wish them to do. For instance, “Now it’s time to play go out and play” this is a bit one way. May be they are not in the mood to play, inquire from them if they feel okay to play at that specific time. This will save you the drama of them talking back to you.

Give rules and refer to them. Let your communication be effective. As a parent, teacher or care taker, it is necessary for the conversation you have with kids to be two way. Hear their side of the story as well without giving conclusions. If you spend most of your time giving rules, correcting and directing your children, they might be bored or discouraged. Spend enough time with them playing, as you engage them in different talks. This will hinder your child from talking back.

Impact good character. Teach your child how to express themselves in a better way when they are angry or when they want to make a point just after you have talked to them. Let them know that talking back is disgracing and that they shouldn’t do so to anyone.

Connect with your child. There are many reasons as to why your child might talk back, they might be frustrated, annoyed or bullied at school.

Sometimes kids talk back to you just to gain attention. In order to avoid that, appreciate your kid more often. Tell them “thank you” when they do something good. This will hinder your child from throwing tantrums.

Model your prospects. It’s very important that you model the behaviour you expect from your child. Children learn by imitating what they see, especially at home. If you usually talk back at your spouse and react so fast before someone finishes communicating their point to you. That is what kids will copy. 

Seek help. If your child talks back to you more often, even when you try your best but they don’t  transform, you may then seek counselling or see a doctor as research shows that it could be a sign of  Oppositional Defiant Disorder- ODD, which can be managed and treated.

Whatever the cause, back talk is something parents should take measures to address immediately and effectively. As parents, it’s our job to teach our kids how to express their wishes and opinions in a respectful and constructive manner.

Monitor what your child watches on TV. Some habits that kids copy are effects of the characters they watch on TV. It is advisable to watch with them TV so that you explain to them which behaviour is not suitable mimicking.

Get to know the cause. Before you punish or shut your kid up, sit them down and know why they talked back to you. Ask them a few questions, so that you know what could have led to such an act. It could be due to anger, may be they are bullied, or stressed up with homework. Bother to know.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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