Do you have a mouthy teenager? Are you constantly reminding your teen to watch their mouth or telling them not to talk to you like that? If so, I can totally relate, and so can others, I’m sure. So, just how do you handle teen back talk? Here are some suggestions I’ve used which seem to work pretty well.
Nip Back Talk in the Bud Immediately
If you’ve allowed your child or preteen to back talk you in the past, you’re probably going to have a more difficult time nipping back talk in the bud now. But, you can do it. The key is to give your teen a “warning” before the next back talking occurs. Sit them down, and have a little chat with them. Let them know that from this moment forward some things are going to change around here. Let them know that the way they talk to you is no longer acceptable and if they do back talk you, there will be consequences.
Of course you have to determine the consequences that will be most effective for your teen. Here are some things I’ve used: no internet for a week, taking their cell phone away for a week, no car privileges for a week, no TV for a week, no going to friend’s houses or having friends come over for a week. These all seem to hit them right where it hurts the most. You determine the length of time that will affect your teen the most. Go over the consequences with your teen before the next time they back talk you, so they know in advance.
Then the very first time your teen talks back to you, you immediately enforce one of the consequences. As harsh as this may sound, letting them know you mean business right away will help to ensure that they discontinue the back talk.
Some teens just don’t realize how they sound or how their tone of voice is coming across. This is often the case with my 17 year old. Quite often she has a tone in her voice that makes me want to slap her (I don’t slap her, mind you). I have to remind her of how she came across and then she usually tones it down.
If the above consequences don’t seem to faze your teen and they still back talk you, you will have to take more drastic measures. Perhaps something else is bothering them and they don’t know how to express themselves or they’ve been sworn to secrecy, so they backlash at you. Perhaps your teen has anger issues that need to be dealt with. Or they may even be using drugs or alcohol which causes them to act irrationally. If you suspect any of this is the case, you need to get to the root of the problem with some serious help. Here are two very helpful resources for troubled teens: Out of Control Teen and Real Life Guidance for Understanding your Teen.