10 year old Manav is the apple of his parent’s eyes, but things have changed suddenly, he now talks back at every given opportunity! No amount of ‘go sit in that corner’ or ‘you won’t get to play today’ kind of punishments work on him, in fact the problem has quickly escalated from the household to the school.
Manav’s example isn’t a solitary one and there are many other children who talk back, much to the dismay and shock of their parents, who are more surprised than anything about this change in their sweet and gentle off spring!
So what prompts this change?
Every human that is born evolves in terms of his personality and thinking. This constant evolution tends to become much more visible in the early years of one’s life i.e beginning from the age of 10- 11 years and continues till the end of the teenage years. Talking back is one of the result of this evolution, as Dr. Anshu Kulkarni suggests, “Talking back or answering back is actually a physiological phenomena that begins to surface in children at the age of 11-15 years, when the child is actually searching for his autonomy”.
How long will this ‘talking back’ phase last?
Just as there is no exact time for when the kid can begin talking back, except that most children start talking back around the age of 10-15 years of age and stop when they are out of their teenage years.
This is mainly due to emotional maturity and a self confidence that takes time to develop along with the child’s personality. “The best way to deal with a child who talks back is with complete understanding of the fact, that the child is not bad” says Dr. Anshu Kulkarni.
But how do parents deal with children who talk back constantly?
Parents should desist from nagging their child, every now and should not challenge all his thoughts every time. While there can clearly be no thumb rule to deal with children talking back, as each child has a unique personality which is still developing.
While there can be no set of guidelines that can help parents deal with children who talk back, parents should keep in mind certain things such as:
Never to lose your anger – Don’t lose your temper when reprimanding your child for talking back, as research has proven that children mimic the actions and behavior of those around them. And as parents if you make it a habit to yell at your child every time he talks back or does something wrong, chances are the next time you correct him for talking back, he will yell!
Don’t argue – There is a very thin line between reasoning and arguing, parents often forget this and end up arguing with a child who is back answering! Never get into an argument when dealing with a child who talks back, instead tell them that you do not like them talking back to you and also that it’s a wrong thing to do.
Remember to keep an authoritarian tone, to let them know that you are the adult in the situation and that they should listen to you.
Discuss – “Discuss household problems and responsibilities with your child, consider his say in certain important matters. Basically make him feel important and valued” says Dr. Anshu Kulkarni, highlighting the importance of discussing important topics of the household with the child. This results in him feeling more responsible and is helpful to curb the talking back in the long run.
Patience – Patience is an important virtue when dealing with your child as it helps you to understand what exactly is prompting the outburst from him, plus having patience ensures that you don’t lose your cool when dealing with him.
Along with all these points, the parents must keep in mind that the child is not the culprit here and that he is doing the ‘talking back’ not to annoy you or because he enjoys it!
Most parents hold peer pressure responsible for their ward back answering to them, is it true?
“Sure, peer pressure is responsible, but isn’t it present in every child’s case? Parents should know that other than peer pressure there are a great many factors which could be making their child talk back to them!” says Dr. Anshu Kulkarni.
Factors such as a search for their own autonomy, their individuality and an evolving personality along with peer pressure are equally if not more responsible for a child who is back answering. Moreover parents should put themselves in their child’s shoes and try thinking from his view – point, whether or not his demand or want is justified, letting go is another option that works well in such situations. Also it would help if the parent were to address the child’s feeling at that particular moment with a calm and rational mind.
While the above techniques can turn out to be of great help to parents of children who talk back, they have to remember that the child is not ‘bad’ and is not doing it to annoy them on purpose. Till then, Happy parenting!