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Raising Teens: Tips for Handling a Teen Who Talks Back

Oh, the lovely teenage years – when your sweet angel of a child turns into a back talking, angry, confused little human being. The teen years can take you back to the toddler parenting days. It’s like your child grew up but went backwards at the same time. A teen talking back to parents is completely normal as they are going through a tough stage in life too, but that doesn’t make it acceptable. Here are some tips for handling a teen who talks back, to ensure you and your teen survive these adolescent days.

Give Positive Power

Allow your teen to have some positive power over their world. Giving your teen some positive power over their activities, daily decisions, and other safe parts of their life will help to curb that teen talk back from happening. Teens usually talk back more when they feel restricted from expressing who they are or from being allowed to figure out who they want to be.

Give Positive Attention

All kids, regardless of age, require a certain amount of attention. The level of attention a teen needs may be confusing for adults because most teens seem to push their parents away. Learn to give positive attention to your teen during down times. Take time to stop and listen to what they have to say. Make yourself available to give positive attention to your teen more often as a means to curb back talk.

Consistent Consequences

If all else fails and you are still faced with a teen who is talking back on a regular basis, then it’s time to pull out the consequences. Regardless of the need your teen has for independence and learning who they are, you still must be respected as the parental figure. Remain calm and firm when it comes to enforcing a consequence. Your teen may respond angrily, but in the long run, you will be teaching them to show respect, even when they are upset with someone.

Don’t Yell Back

Often times teens are talking back to get a rise out of their parents. Do not give them what they want. Don’t yell back when your teen talks back. Instead, respond calmly, firmly, and in a matter of fact voice. This will alleviate the talking back and quickly diffuse the situation. Let your teen know that when you hear that talk back tone, you will walk away and when they are ready to speak to you in a better tone, you will listen.

While each of these tips can help both curb and ultimately handle a teen who talks back, it might not be easy. When you are dealing with a teen who talks back, it’s going to take more energy from you to remain calm, cool, and collected as the adult in the situation. Remain firm as the parent and stay consistent in your response (or lack thereof). Soon you will reap the benefits of being the type of parental unit who minimizes and ultimately diffuses that back talking teen quickly.