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When Preschoolers Talk Back (page 2)

When Preschoolers Talk Back

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based on 13 ratings
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Updated on Sep 3, 2013

Stay strong

Teach your child that he will not get what he wants, nor will he get any attention, when he talks back. Stay very calm, paying attention to keeping your face and voice neutral when your child responds with backtalk, and let your child know that you can continue when he is able to talk with you in a more polite way. For example, say, “I do not listen to mean words, such as... You can find me in the kitchen when you are ready to talk politely without using those words.” Then walk away. Make sure that you always respond in a similar way to backtalk. 

Take action

If you feel that your child understands what is expected of her, and backtalk continues, then set a consequence. Be specific about what behavior will not be tolerated and what the consequence will be if you see that behavior again. The consequence should occur immediately and be related to the backtalk. Remind your child of the link between the two, such as saying, “When you chose to say…, then you chose to leave the park.” Do not back down, no matter what your child says or does at the point. 

Look out for positive behaviors

Give your child a lot of attention for polite responses, pointing out specifically what she did that was respectful or courteous. Take care to acknowledge polite responses in situations where your child previously may have talked back or been rude. 

Set boundaries

Keep in mind that while children should be given positive attention when they act politely, just because he asked for something in a polite manner does not mean that the child should get what he wants. Part of limiting backtalk is teaching your child that he is not entitled to everything he asks for, and that he needs to learn how to express anger or disappointment in a way that is not hurtful to others. 

Look at your own behavior as a role model

How do you treat others when you are not able to get what you want? Do you react how you would want your child to react, either to you or to others in positions of authority? Pretend that your child is going to copy every one of your responses, in terms of words, tone of voice, and gestures, and then try to adjust your behavior accordingly.

Keep it positive

Think about others that your child is exposed to, both children and adults, and try to limit your child’s interactions with those who tend to display rude behaviors. In addition, limit exposure to media that depicts children talking back to adults, especially when there are no consequences for doing so (or the consequence is the sounding of the laugh track). When you do see others talking back or being disrespectful, point out to your child the specific behavior you see and remind your child that you expect him to act in a kinder manner. 

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