1. Parenting

Child Discipline - Pulling the Plug on a Child's Backtalk

Try These Parenting Playbook Discipline Do's

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It's a common parent predicament: what should you do when your child talks back to you when you ask her to do something? Here are some quick tips for helping to put a stop to the backtalk.

  • Simply state your expectations. When your child gives you lip by talking back, simply state that that talk isn't acceptable. Make your statement and don't mince words.


  • Stay calm and in control. Often, backtalk is used as a control tactic. You are in control, and will only lose that control if you give it away by becoming emotional, angry or upset. Consider your words carefully, and use a low and slow tone that lets your child know you mean business.


  • Establish consequences for backtalk. Don't wait until the heat of the moment to throw out punishment. Your child should be told in a calm setting that about your expectations for your child's behavior and how when you ask him to do something, you expect your child to comply. The time to line out rules and expectations, along with consequences, is before you go somewhere or when you both have ample time and attention to discuss expectations.


  • Choose your battle, but then stick to it. Don't throw out an extreme punishment, and then relent five minutes later. If you tell your child you expect a "yes ma'am" and for it to be done, but then don't follow up, your child will quickly learn you may not mean what you say. Or, your child may learn that you might get angry but then will quickly get over it. Consistency is key for your child to understand your stance on backtalk or sass.


  • Make tasks fun when possible. If your child tends to whine on cleaning up his room, help by suggesting that she turn on music or practice her dance turns while picking up. By taking out the potential for it to become a battleground, you can help minimize the occasion for confrontations.

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