Children Talking Back? You Really Need To Read This!

“Adolescence is a period of rapid changes. Between the ages of 12 and 17, for example, a parent ages as much as 20 years”


Teenage is an age of miracles. It is an age of wonder and awe, along with defiance and obnoxious behaviour where they try and test your limits, the rules, learn assertion and form their lifelong beliefs, memories and negotiating abilities. While the process is daunting for the parents, it is equally confusing for the child when he, himself doesn’t sometime know what will set him off? The alarming fact is that it is no longer a territory only reserved for teenagers, children as young as 6-7 are answering back without even realising it.

If you are here looking for the ways to deal with an answering back child then you have come to the right place but before we go any further you  need to first learn few facts about his this behaviour.



Did you know:

  • According to a research, teenagers who argue fare better in adulthood than those who don’t.
  • The logic says that arguing gives teenagers better negotiating skills.
  • And those who regularly fight verbally with their parents cope better with peer pressure and are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.
  • It seems that while we are getting into the power struggles with our children, we are also providing them with a training ground in speaking their mind and negotiation skills.

These facts and points may prove that our child is learning a few life skills while holding his ground or answering back but in order to teach him to respect the house rules and abide by them, there are things that a parent needs to learn and implement too ( and no it doesn’t mean using a stick)

1. Don’t Ignore

Sometimes parents have so much to deal with in their lives that taking care of this one more issue seems too overwhelming for them to encounter and they then make it as one more thing to worry about. While it may seem like they are challenging your authority and your saying or doing anything doesn’t help much, but if it’s becoming an ongoing process then it has to be dealt with immediately because if you are not setting limits then you are training him to do it more often and your child would never know that disagreements can be expressed differently.


2. The Acceptable and Not Acceptable

We all have read about it a million times where you need to define rules and boundaries or ‘not acceptable’ behaviour and then stick to it. but we still make the same mistakes. We come across as ‘not so confident’ about certain things and can change our rules based on the negotiations, weather or even ‘the mood’. It just does one thing. It shows your children that you are indecisive and can be manipulated. Stop doing that and stop confusing the children! Make your rules amply clear and non negotiable (you might tweak or alter a little) but children should know them in black and while. The little yous’ should know, what they are ‘in for’ if they don’t follow. And for God’s sake, don’t keep changing  them to fit your whims and fancies.



3. Know Your Own Limitations

Understand that you are a human being too and few things affect you more than others. For example if your child says something about your habit of watching too much TV when you want to curtail his, then you might feel threatened by that observation  but if you know he is right, then you can’t just let it slide past you. You have to accept and work on it without it affecting you in any other way. Parents are not called ‘Role Model’ without a reason. Whether you like it or not, you are being seen all the time, every time!


4. Choose Your Battles

This is probably the most important pointer. There may be times when the child is edgy and agitated over something, now that is definitely not a good time to get into the war mode and making the situation worse. It is advisable in such a situation to take a step back and let the child cool down before picking up ‘what was said’ again. It is also important to not get into every word that’s mumbled because the child too needs some venting out and if it is not affecting you too much, then you can deal with it later or ignore it sometimes!




5. See The Pattern

Try and observe when and on what topics generally the back talk happens? Is it because of the home work not completed, the food not finished, or if he has not cleaned his room? Try and see the pattern, if it is happening around the same time or because of same things, then you might need to deal with those problems independently.

6. Stop Being A Teenager Yourself

Your child loves you and at the end of everything, he is learning the finer nuances of good or bad behaviour from you. If you act nasty or say rude/sarcastic things in your fights with your partner then you know where your child is taking lessons from. If you call your child idiot, irresponsible, stubborn, careless and spoilt than you are telling him that he can act like one of those because you already know that he is all these things. So stop judging, labelling and behaving like a teenager yourself.





7. Don’t Get Too Analytical And Stop Over Explaining

While many parenting sites tell you to explain why are you ‘doing‘ or ‘not doing‘ what your child asked you to do, we say that it’s important to not over do or over explain your decisions. We all know teenagers can’t have a long conversation ( their attention span almost gets reduced to that of a baby, especially with parents) so it is imperative to inform about your decision once and then leave the topic and let them reflect on it because you need them to follow the rules rather than have their acceptance.


8. Stop Generalising

This trait is a relationship killer ‘You always do this’ to ‘you can never do this’ are some examples where we are giving our children more weapons to be hurtful and if we are making generalised statements then we need to stop immediately! Stick to the problem in hand and don’t get sucked into what happened previously and how did he behave at that time. Try to talk about the problem in hand.


We might feel that we’ve been there and done that and that we know how our kids are feeling and what are they going through but the truth is we don’t.  The times in last 10-15 years have changed dramatically, the technology has turned the world upside down, in times like these, we have to make an informed choice, be mindful and be a conscious parent for our little people.


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  1. Thanks for reading and I can’t agree with you more on the fact that talking back is indeed becoming a larger issue every day and there is no one reason. We as a society are increasingly becoming self centred and individualistic and less accommodating for others and that does reflect on the kids too. The not so great ‘teenage role models” who happen to have it all except for respect for others, the internet, the movies, the peer pressure, the list is endless similarly the parents also feel threatened when they don’t know how to deal with these issues and they go back to their own growing up years and try to fit their kids into that mould, but to be fair to the kids, they are growing up in an age where they are facing a lot of challenges which if you think of it are ‘huge’ and pretty ‘new’ so we can’t rely on the old school.
    And if there is any way we can sail through their difficult years, it is by being mindful of the fact that it is as much a learning curve for us parents as it is for our kids as teenagers and talking and reading about it would give us multiple perspectives into dealing with it.
    thanks again for visiting

  2. All good pointers. I can see how little bit of talking back can translate into negotiation skills but I keep wondering how come this talking back is becoming a larger and larger issue. 20-30 years ago, parents used to follow the rule, “Children should be seen and not heard”. What has changed amongst parents as well? What is causing this situation going on a slippery slope on both sides?