Strong Confident Girl

10 Tips on How To Handle Talking Back in a Positive Way

Today, we are sharing tips on how to handle talking back in a positive way. This is something that most parents will encounter at some point. When it happens for the first time you might be taken aback at first and will not know how to react. You still remember the sweet little girl or boy and find it hard to believe that they are challenging you and saying these words to you.

You might try to remain patient and tell yourself that he or she is growing up and this is their way of expressing themselves when they are dealing with strong emotions that they are not sure yet how to handle. This is true, but we are only human, and trying to stay calm and not letting our emotions get out of hand is not always easy.

 Talking back must be addressed. But how do we handle this disrespectful behaviour in a positive way? A good way to start is to try and figure out the reasons behind the behaviour and then look for ways to best manage it. There are effective strategies to tackle talking back head-on and to manage the behaviour more efficiently. But first, we need to understand why it happens.

10 Tips on How To Handle Talking Back in a Positive Way

Children Talking Back – Why Does This Happen?

Kids frequently talk back when they seek more control, or when their emotions keep them from asking what they need in a more respectful manner.  They need to learn how to communicate and voice their opinions in a more respectful way, but we as parents must teach them this important life skill. We also need to understand that talking back is just a symptom of a deep issue and it helps to focus on teaching our children the necessary communication skills.

We have a lot of power when it comes to parenting, and for kids this control often makes them feel frustrated or helpless. Of course, this does not mean that kids should not have boundaries or rules. But it is also vital for us to evaluate our behaviour towards them constantly.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • When you are interacting with your child, how is your tone? Are you speaking to him in a respectful way, setting an example?
  • Are you permitting them to have sufficient control over their lives according to their ages, or are you controlling every little aspect of their lives?
  • Are you listening to his or her opinion and making them feel like their opinions matter?
  • Are the rules and boundaries that you’ve set for your children reasonable and flexible?

Truthful answers to these questions might help you understand what may be the cause for your child’s disrespectful behaviour.

10 Tips on How To Handle Talking Back in a Positive Way

A good way of handling children talking back or acting in a disrespectful way, is by accepting their feelings (while restricting the behaviour) and teaching them the skills to solve problems.

Avoid Escalating The Issue By Responding Calmly

If your child’s back talk triggers a heated response, we are often tempted to address it immediately and bring it to an end. However this will only lead to more back talk and make him or her feel powerless. This will not solve the problem and will only lead to more incidents in future. Before you address the behaviour, try to calm yourself down and don’t take it personally.

Validate Their Feelings

Try to find the reason behind this behaviour and let him or her know that you are willing to listen to them. Restrict the behaviour but encourage them to talk to you about their feelings. If the behaviour continues, offer your support and wait until they have calmed down before addressing the issue.

Acknowledge Whether You are Contributing To The Problem

If you notice that your behaviour might have contributed to the behaviour, acknowledge it and find a solution to diffuse the situation.

Work With Your Child in Finding a Solution That Benefits You Both

Showing willingness and bendability to find a more effective solution will help your child to calm down and to work with you instead of against you. You can begin by stating the problem and encourage him to come up with a resolution. By finding a solution together, your child learns that respectful communication was beneficial to you both.

Headstrong child

How to Avoid Talk Back Behavior In Future

Exhibit respectful communication

Children mimic the behaviour of their parents. If they see you being disrespectful when you’re angry, yelling, or threatening, they will most likely follow in your footsteps.

Set Transparent Expectations About Civil Communications

Let your child know that you are open to finding a solution together, in order to resolve the situation. However, both parties must act and talk respectfully.

Avoid Being Too Controlling

Make sure your behaviour is not too controlling or that you’re simply bossing your child around because he is the child and you’re the parent. Rather interact in a more positive manner. No one likes to be bossed around all the time, or have someone that keeps nagging them or controlling every part of their lives.

Give Your Child Some Power

Make room for connection each day. Find useful ways to make your child feel capable and powerful, appropriate for his or her age. Give them guidance and encourage cooperation instead of simply barking out orders.

Avoid Some Power Struggles

You don’t have to participate in every power struggle that comes along. Pick your battles and remember that overreacting to an impolite comment from your child can rapidly escalate into a power struggle. Sometimes an empathetic and calm answer can dissolve the tension and can help both of you to get through the rest of the day without unnecessary conflict.

Understand The Reason Behind The Negative Behaviour

Talkback can often trigger emotional reactions from us. Try not to take the comment personally and let frustration dictate your response.  Trying to understand the cause for the behaviour and using these simple strategies can help to diffuse a negative reaction and turn it into a calm response. This way the situation is handled in a positive way.


We hope this post about 10 tips on how to handle talking back in a positive way has been helpful and that once you implement these guidelines it will help to resolve the issue and help build the kind of relationship you want with your children.

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  1. #ParentsAndLovingIt

  2. I really needed to read this article I have a 6 year old who constantly tawks bak n I have no idea how to handle it but this article is reali reassuring and I will take the tips

  3. Thank you for this,this is my biggest fear,my child talking back at me especially in public.

  4. Informative, behaviour is really important if it goes unmodified then more problems arises.thank you very much

  5. Angelique de Swardt

    A really good read and very informative!

  6. I have kid who talks back at me and he is only five Im thankful for the knowledge did not know what to do…

  7. Anastasia Papaspiridis

    Thanks for this, I guess the takeaway is to pick your battles.

  8. AWESOME PAGE, very informative, learning so much, thank you

  9. Really helpful, parenting is really not an easy job.. but really exciting.

  10. Nthabiseng sentle

    Thanks Lynn,am struggling with my 5 year old,she back chats ,so hard headed and stubborn. It’s hard to keep my cool .I’ll try this tips,thank you

  11. Very informative page. Great tips for babies and toddlers.

  12. Very very insightful as I face this this at home. So this really helps a lot.

  13. Kerry Ann Ten Hoorn Boer

    This is exactly what I needed to read. Thank you so much for this great advice.

  14. Such a great article! If there’s something that erks me it’s answering back and this gives such good tips on how to respond

  15. This is so important and a must share out 2nd son have yhe clever talks and answer for everything .but ive realise he is right and his emotions show it we dont listen clearly what he is trying to say and shout out for.from today i take your advice and really hav to apologise to him im so aware noe and hav a open mind reading this

  16. i think this article helps alot, my kid is just 19 months and she already voices her opinion all the time. she screams when she doesnt get what she wants, shes stubborn at times too, and if i tell her something she speaks gibberish but i know she is arguing with me lol.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing this. I am at that stage where he is talking back and refuses to follow simple instructions and I find it very hard to keep calm but I try my very best to help the both of us.

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