Is your child’s back talking becoming a problem? Are you tired of hearing “No! You do it!” from your toddler or preschooler? There may be something you can do to help curb those annoying, whiny, temper tantrums.
Instead of responding by saying “You’ll do it because I said so” or “Don’t ever talk to me like that!” there are other ways to help your child learn to disagree with you respectfully. The best way to stop back talk is to provide your child with some independence – but within your own limits. Kids of all ages need a sense of personal power to make their own choices and express their differences in opinions with parents. When parents make all the decisions for them, children naturally want to lash out, and so they do — with words and sometimes, physical aggression.
So how can parents teach their children to disagree respectfully? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Give your child opportunities to make decisions.
Find ways for your child to take control of some aspect of his or her world, whether it’s picking out an outfit for the day or selecting a board game for the whole family to play. The more positive power your child feels, the less likely he or she will try to gain power in negative ways.
2. Model the behavior you wish to see.
Children learn conflict resolution by watching adults. This means you should try to be extra careful with how you handle your own disagreements – with your spouse at home, the cashier at the grocery store or other parents at the playground. Use a calm and neutral tone of voice when communicating a disagreement. Pay attention to your facial expressions and body language. Show your child that it is possible to disagree without yelling and saying hurtful things.
3. Set clear rules and consequences.
Children are constantly learning what is right and wrong, and they test the boundaries of rules to find out your reactions. When you set rules for your house, make sure you communicate them to your child often. Be consistent and stick to the consequences you have set in place for breaking your rules.
4. Give your child your undivided attention.
Sometimes children act up just to get a reaction out of you. They want your attention and they’re going to do whatever it takes to get it. Show your child that you care about what he or she is thinking and doing by spending quality time each day with your child without interruptions. Children who feel heard, valued and loved are prone to be more cooperative.
5. Step away from the power struggle.
Don’t give your children the satisfaction of seeing you angry. Instead of responding to back talking by arguing with your child, say something like, “It makes me sad when I hear you speaking like that to me. The tone of voice you’re using is hurtful. I’m going to walk away and we can talk again when you speak respectfully to me.” Then, walk away. By disengaging, you are sending your child a clear message that you’re not going to fight.
By following these tips, your child will learn to express his or her disagreement in a healthy and positive way. At Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies, we provide your child opportunities to learn conflict resolution in a respectful and caring environment. Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies provide programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. To learn more about how Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies can set up your child for a lifetime of success, find a Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academy location near you.
About Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies® Headquartered in the North Atlanta suburb of Duluth, GA, Kids ‘R’ Kids Learning Academies® provide secure, nurturing, and educational environment for children ages 6 weeks - 12 years. We help children to bloom into responsible, considerate, and contributing members of society. With over 160 locations in 15 states, Kids ‘R’ Kids International® is a family owned and operated organization that ranks in the top 10 nationwide for franchised early childhood education centers. Find a location near you.