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Opinion: Handling a child who talks back at you

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When your child responds to you in a disrespectful manner, it can leave you feeling humiliated and heartbroken. Or have you yelled at your child, perhaps in rage, in an attempt to discipline them, only to be met with a yell back? Every parent despises this phase of their children's development. It's not a good idea to raise a disrespectful child who refuses to acknowledge or listen to their parents' advice.

Sometimes, as a parent, you feel like your day is a constant stream of back-and-forth from your children when you ask them to complete their chores, tell them it's time to stop watching TV, or put down rules they don't like. It's one of the most aggravating and time-consuming aspects of parenting.

This is a normal aspect of growing up for kids and a method for them to express their complexity, but parents need to know why they shouldn't take it personally when their children speak back to them. As a child, most of us try out disrespectful behavior toward our parents at some point. It's human nature to grow irritated from time to time and snap at others. There are a lot of reasons why children speak back. There is a possibility that they are testing their own strength in order to see how far they can push themselves. Parents who "boss" or overprotect their children may make them feel disrespected. If that's the case, kids may not be raised in a household that emphasizes open and honest communication.

Talking back is a child's method of declaring, "You're not the boss of me." We are all born with a craving for positive power — the ability to have some degree of influence over our own life. It is counterproductive for us to be overprotective or overdemanding, or to order, correct or guide our children.

Our children's only recourse is to fight back. They can't easily flee, so they fight back with talk back, negotiating, arguing, stomping away, eye rolling, etc. It is a basic fight or flight response. When children misbehave, we tend to jump right to the source of their distress, be it shame, rage, or disappointment. The only thing you're teaching your child is how to draw attention from you by reacting emotionally to every sour word they utter is how to garner attention from you. Remove yourself from the situation before responding to the insults. Take a deep breath and demonstrate actual self-control before attempting to control others. In that case, there is no power struggle.

The following are a few tips to bear in mind:. As you interact with your child, even when they disrespect you, monitor your own language and show respect. Bite your tongue if you're tempted to criticize or yell. Don't be hesitant to set boundaries, but only when you can do so in a courteous and calm manner. Don't take it personally, though. It's important to keep in mind that your child is still developing self-control, and right now they're having an issue that's making them lose patience. Even as you place a limit on their tone, acknowledge their issue (and if appropriate, offer to help). Kids are wary of upsetting their parents' sentiments since they know they have their backs. As a general rule, you should seek out every opportunity to engage positively with your child in order to enhance your relationship with them. Spend at least 15 minutes each day alone with each child, giving them your undivided attention and nothing but good words of encouragement. The best way to deal with your child's disrespectful behavior is to face it head-on and establish a clear expectation of respectful communication.

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