You want more peace and calm at home. Dealing with your kids answering back is not only super annoying but I bet it’s not how you WANT to spend your day.
I want to share with you the first step to make a huge difference and often puts an end to the back talking for good.
I’ve had many parents tell me they’ve ‘tried everything’ to change their child’s behaviour. The time-outs, the taking things away, cancelling playdates, banning screen time, the reward charts… Not only does it leave you feeling utterly exhausted and hopeless, it doesn’t work and actually makes things a whole lot worse.
If you need help with a persistent back-talker, you can book in for a free consultation with me here, click here to book your call.
They may have ‘tried everything’ they know about…but they haven’t tried this.
Fortunately, you can put an end to back talk, rudeness and disrespectful behaviour without the usual rewards and punishments and without losing your mind.
First things first, before you make any real change, you need to peel back the surface behaviour and dig a bit deeper to understand what’s really going on for your child. It’s only from understanding that real change can happen.
Language of Listening® the 3-part framework I use and teach gives you a wonderfully simple framework to truly begin to ‘see’ behaviour in a new way. Want examples of the Language of Listening 3-part coaching model? My brand-new downloadable phrase booklets have hundreds of examples so you are never left wondering what to say in challenging situations. Check them out here.
Back-chat is usually a big red flag that your child doesn’t feel understood or heard.
One of the premises of Language of Listening® is children MUST continue to communicate until they are heard. This makes perfect sense for why your child will escalate their behaviour to make sure you get the message of how they are feeling.
Think back to a time when you felt not listened to, or someone didn’t let you tell your point of view. How did you feel? Were you able to speak in a calm way or did you feel hurt or frustrated? It’s the same for your child.
You see, most of us react to disrespectful behaviour. we focus on what our child is doing or saying rather than the message they are communicating with the behaviour. – “I want you to understand me, I want you to see my best intentions.”
So many of us are triggered by our child’s surface behaviour, (maybe you have visions of your child ending up in jail or with no friends in the future if they carry on talking like that.) we feel we need to come down hard on the ‘unacceptable’ behaviour, but by doing this we do the exact opposite of what our child really needs from us. Acknowledgement, understanding, acceptance.
Of course, we need to teach our children to speak in a respectful tone, but don’t we as humans naturally speak in a respectful tome when we first feel heard and validated?
This is why listening is the first step to stop a child from talking back.
In order to stop the backchat, we need to put teaching aside and listen to our child first.
In Language of Listening® we call this step Say What You See® you literally say what your child is doing, saying, feeling or thinking.
So, instead of saying: “I see you can’t be bothered to pick up your toys.”
Try: “You’re busy playing, look like you want to finish before tidy up time.”
Instead of saying: “How many times have I told you, you’re not having ice-cream today, quit the fussing, you’re sounding spoilt.”
Try: “Oh! boy, you love ice-cream. It’s so delicious and today we’re not having any.”
Instead of saying: I don’t care, it’s time for the iPad to go off. You’re addicted! You carry on fussing, you won’t have it later either.”
Try: “Ack! You wish you could play more! It’s hard to switch off.”
Saying what you see is always the first step, as it’s the step of connection and validation. This is not some woo-woo theory; it’s based on neuropsychology and how the brain works.
Connection calms the brain, and helps regulate your child’s emotions and supports them to get back to their ‘thinking’ brain. It is only from a place of calm can we communicate clearly.
Now I know, so many of us were raised to believe that we shouldn’t give our ‘rude or disrespectful’ child attention. That we should ignore them, tell them off, and send them for timeout or to their room.
But can you see how that reaction leaves your child feeling even more unheard and powerless which just fuels even more talking back?
Validating what’s going on for your child is always the first step to breaking the cycle.
So, A great place to start.
It’s what Language of Listening® calls centering phrases. They help your child feel heard and validated and have the added bonus of connecting your child to their inner guidance system.
Here are a few centering phrases to get you going:
You like that.
You don’t like that.
You know what you want.
You don’t know what you want.
You want me to understand you.
You’re trying to tell me that…
You wish that…
You know just the way you want to do…
It all starts with noticing what your child likes and doesn’t like, validating what she wants and doesn’t want, instead of taking it personally.
It sounds so simple, so easy but yet we so often look over this step. I often hear from parents that they feel that validating their child’s wants or emotions is agreeing with their child’s behaviour and can lead to more mis-behaviour or behaviour they don’t like.
I have to tell you; this is far from the truth. Acknowledging is not the same as agreeing. In fact, acknowledging your child’s wants and wishes is the first step to calm the situation down, builds connection and opens up communication.
Oftentimes a child who feels heard and validated doesn’t feel the need to talk back. Client after client of mine sees results within days by acknowledging their child’s wants and wishes.
If you need help with a persistent back-talker, let’s chat. You can schedule a complimentary, no-obligation call. You can do that by clicking right here.