Successful parents know that clear communication is the basis for effective discipline. If you aren’t communicating with your child in a clear and consistent manner, there isn’t much more you will be able to do.

If your child starts to talk back or act sassy every time you try to discipline them, the behavior blocks your communication and you will not get far. Furthermore, this type of rude behavior can become a habit that is very hard for the child to break and will drive even a patient parent crazy. Therefore, if you can nip the rude behavior in the bud, it will benefit everyone.

Here is how you can deal with children talking back and acting sassy:

Call them on it. When your child talks back to you, you need to let them know that very minute that it is unacceptable behavior. Rudeness is not never allowed. Of course you don’t want to be rude back, even if what your child said is frustrating you for the 10th time.

You’ll want to try and encourage them to change what they said so that they learn from the experience. I have often found the short sentence: “Please say that again using your manners.” to work with my children. You can try that sentence or something similar. You’ll want to remember to try and keep any frustration or sarcasm out of your voice. If your child looks at you quizzically, give them the words that you would prefer to hear.

If your child complains because you are not tolerating their talking back and they continue to talk back, whine or sass, then it’s time to have a full discussion with them about their rude behavior. Ask them to take a timeout and once they are calm, you can talk about it. When your child is calm down discuss the rude behavior and talk about ways to prevent it from happening again.

Don’t get sucked in. In other words, do not get pulled into the whirlwind that your child is creating with their back talk. When a parent does get pulled in, both parent and child loses, as the parent tends to get frustrated and may become sarcastic or may begin yelling. At this point, no real communication is happening. It’s time for everyone to take a step back and a deep breath.

You can not get sucked in by remaining confident about the rules and limits you’ve set. Know that your child does not want to follow the rules so they are bringing you off on a tangent, hoping to not have to do what you have asked. An example:

Parent: Our rule is to pick the things up off the floor of your room before you watch television. Please go do that.
Child: But you didn’t make the baby pick up his things!

What should the parent do here? Should they say something like: “Of course not! The baby isn’t able to pick up their own things.” No. The parent should be confident in the role as the limit enforcer, repeat the rule calmly and not get sucked into the argument. Your goal is not to rationalize why the baby doesn’t have to do things older kids do, it’s to get your child to pick up the floor of their room.

Encourage your child to speak to you respectfully. while some of the cool slang terms may sound funny coming out of your child’s mouth, if you encourage this behavior it encourages disrespect towards you and other authority figures. so , praise your child when they use respectable talk towards you. Recognize when they ask you a question with a ‘please’ or answer with a ‘thank you’.

Set a consequence. When you talk to your child about talking back after an incident has escalated or your child is falling into a habit of back talk, make it clear that there is a consequence for continuing to use this rude behavior.

Here is a list of suggested consequences:

  • Loss of television privileges for one day
  • Loss of cellphone privileges for one day
  • Loss of computer privileges for one day
  • No outings with friends for one day
  • 5 to 10 minute time out

You’ll note that these are quick consequences. They have a fast reset time so that your child has the opportunity to change their behavior quickly. If you were to take their privileges away for a week for talking back, what’s the point of them trying to change the behavior the next day? Quick reset consequences tend to work best for back talk.

In Conclusion

Rude behavior like talking back and sassy type behavior cannot be tolerated as it stands in the way of raising a successful child. If you’re able to stop it right away, you’ll benefit from the many times it does not get in the way of your effective discipline. So, strive to bring out respectful behavior in your child – you can do it!