MY CHILD TALKS BACK

  1. Talk to your child in the manner in which you want them to talk to you.
  2. Set expectations (e.g. listen calmly to what others have to say, state your opinion in a kind manner, make appropriate comments, accept directions from authority figures, etc.) These expectations should be consistent and followed by everyone in the home.
  3. When your child talks back, explain exactly what he/she is doing wrong, what he/she should be doing and why. For example: You tell your child to set the table for dinner. Your child responds “Set it yourself!” Tell him/ her that they are talking to you in an inappropriate manner then restate that they need to set the table and why (e.g. because dinner will be ready in 5 minutes).
  4. State expectations clearly without attacking your child. Avoid sarcasm (e.g. “Your room is always a mess. You must like it dirty.” “Since you never take the trash out, I guess I’ll be taking it out again!”) Avoid hysteria (“You’re going to give me a heart attack.”) Neither is likely to engage your child’s cooperation and both invite sassy comments from your child.
  5. Before setting expectations for your child, make certain they are capable of doing what you are telling them to do.
  6. Allow natural consequences to occur as a result of your child talking back (e.g. not participating in activities, having to go to their room, losing privileges, etc.)
  7. Be consistent when your child talks back. Decide on an appropriate consequence (e.g. timeout for 5 minutes, etc.) and use it EVERY time.
  8. After giving your child a direction, let them know there will not be a discussion. If your child does not follow the direction, deliver a consequence in a consistent manner.
  9. Tape record your child to let them know how they sound when they talk back, have the last word, etc.
  10. If your child does make rude comments or gestures towards you, guests, babysitters, etc.; deal with the situation immediately by sending them to their room or removing them from the area and talk to them about their behavior, self control, etc.
  11. When setting expectations, provide an incentive statement (e.g., “Since you always do a good job of setting the table, would you please set it for dinner tonight?”, “You are so good at organizing things, would you help clean out the kitchen cupboards and reorganize them for me?”)