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Podcast Episode 71: 5 Steps to End the Backtalk

Let’s talk about Backtalk!

We asked online…

And here’s what we got…

Hang on! Just wait! You do it! I’m busy!

But mom, that’s not fair! I don’t like you!

All my friends have….

Why doesn’t my brother have to? But but but….

You are the strictest mom in the world!

“You should’ve played with me…grumble, grumble….today is the worst….grumble, grumble….so mad…”

What is backtalk? Is it the same thing as talking back?


Essentially backtalk or talking back is when you tell or ask your child to do something and they give you a verbal response in defiance (often in a disrespectful manner). And I don’t know about you, but I find i so frustrating!

Recently I had this run in with my youngest. 

My daughter wanted to go clothes shopping. She’d just had a growth spurt and hardly anything fit her. So I agreed to take her later that afternoon when I had about 2 hours for such a shopping trip. When she came down to leave, she was in her PJs. And in our house, we don’t go out in our PJs. Call me old-fashioned, but we just don’t do that. And this isn’t a new rule people. This has always been a rule in our house. So I told her to go upstairs and change.

Then the backtalk started. 

“That’s so stupid mom!”

“That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!”
“Dad doesn’t care!”

Yep. I heard it all. 

I’ll spare you the back and forth. But after what felt like forever (which was actually only about 15 minutes according to the kitchen clock), my youngest went upstairs, cooled off, came back downstairs all changed for her shopping trip, and even apologized for her behavior later while we were out shopping!

Yep. You read that right! She apologized! Which is very rare from my tween. 😉

Wondering how I was able to stop the talking back?

I have used these 5 easy steps to put an end to the backtalk battle! And I use them anytime backtalk pops up and I have found that they both greatly reduce the amount of talking back!

Here is how to stop the backtalk:

1. Reflective Listening

Now this is simple and yet hard to do at the same time. This is where you acknowledge what your child said. You aren’t condoning it, or agreeing with it, but just saying it back.

“I hear you. You feel like this is stupid.“

READ: Kid Backtalk: What to Do and Consequences for When Your Kid Talks Back

2. Ask Curious Questions

Drill down and figure out what the issue is by asking a follow up question. 

I know. This sounds hard, but really, it’s more about being curious and looking beneath the surface when it comes to figuring out the motivation behind your kid’s behavior. 

“I hear you. You feel like this is stupid. Can you tell me why?”

“You said you want to do it later. Can you tell me why?”

I know that this will be met by eye rolling, sighing, and sometimes the ever irritating hoodie shut. But just try it. More often than not, you will find this will open up a dialog rather than a fight involving backtalk.

3. Think About Your Role

Take a minute to reflect on what you just did and said. 

Did you interrupt your kid with no warning? 

Are you asking that something be done right now and not wait because you want it done now? Did you perhaps have a “tone”? (Oh the dreaded “tone”!)

Maybe you were already frustrated about something else and it boiled over into your interaction with your kid?

I’m not saying that your kid’s backtalk was your fault. But what I am asking is just to take a moment to really look at the situation. Did your actions or words play a hand in their response? 

If so- what can you do about that?

4. Give Your Kid More Freedom

Most talking back seems to occur when you are asking your kid to do something. Am I right?

A chore, 

their homework, 

get dressed for school, 

the list can go on and on. 

But what if you let your kid have some say in the timeline? 

Instead of saying the task needs to be completed right then and there, ask your kid when they think they could get it done. And if you don’t think their timeline will work, share your thoughts about why. Then ask how they can address your thoughts.

This will show your kids that you believe they are capable of doing what is asked, you trust them, but also that you expect them to stick to what they said. 

READ: Mistakes Every Parent Makes When Disciplining Their Kids (and how to avoid them)

5. Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When to Fold ‘Em, Know When to Run.

Kenny Rogers was a wise man

You’ve done all four steps above, but the backtalk keeps coming from your kid, you might just have to stop feeding those flames. 

That might be walking away from the confrontation.

I find that once I’ve done all four steps above, I move into my- “I love you, and the answer is no”- approach. This is true. I love my kids, but this isn’t open to debate any longer. We have each said our piece. The expectations have been laid out. 

So what do you think of these 5 Steps to End the Backtalk? Have you tried any of them? Let us know what works for you in your household by leaving a comment below!

Resources We Shared:

Eat At Home Discount code NOGUILTMOM

Calm and Happy Parenting

Download the Transcripts Here

The best mom is a happy mom. To better take care of you, download our No Guilt Mom mindset here .  These reminders will help you second guess less, and feel more confidence every day in your parenting.

Brie Tucker

COO/ Podcast Producer at No Guilt Mom
Brie Tucker has over 20 years of experience coaching parents with a background in early childhood and special needs. She holds a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Central Missouri and is certified in Positive Discipline as well as a Happiest Baby Educator.

She’s a divorced mom to two teenagers.

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