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When Teenagers Talk Back

Every parent would love to think their teenagers are perfect and respect them. But, truth be told, that’s probably not true. Parents especially feel their children aren’t perfect when teens talk back. If it’s happened to one parent, it’s most likely happened to many more. What is a parent to do?   Parents don’t often realize the cause of talking back. For a teen, they may feel frustrated or powerless in a situation. They feel their only recourse is to talk back. They may say ‘you’re not being fair to me’ which is totally different than saying harmful things to you which may be considered verbal abuse.

  • If you have already told your teen “no” for whatever their request was, the decision is already made and you’re not obligated to change it. No matter how many times they try to explain their point of view, stick to your guns. You are the parent.
  • You love your teens but you don’t have to accept back talk. Explain to your teen that you won’t accept rude behavior. Explain that you are willing to talk with them and willing to listen, but back talk won’t be tolerated.
  • When they talk back you don’t have to respond. Of course, chances are you’ll be tempted to do so, but you’re an adult. You don’t have to stoop down to their level. Responding may also make the situation worse.
  • Take your time choosing which battle to take on. You’re not going to win every conflict with your teen over talking back, but you can take on the ones which are most important. Forgetting to feed the dog one day may not be a problem you want to fight about, but talking back by teens most likely is.
  • Try to establish a password or sign to let your teen know when they’re getting close to crossing the line with you. Having recognized boundaries will help with this. They may also help keep peace in your home.
  • Decide ahead of time what the consequences will be for continual talking back. If your teen knows what the consequence or punishment will be, and you follow through with it, they’ll know you mean business about this habit they’re establishing.

You want your teens to respect you and their talking back may indicate there is a lack of respect. Refuse to respond when they begin talking back. Acknowledge pre-established consequences, and then following through with those. Before long your teen will get the hint that talking back doesn’t do them any good.   When teens talk back you may want to get down on their level and make them see your point. However, this only indicates to them you don’t deserve their respect. Use some of the hints above and you may find the talking back happening less and less often.