When a teen decides to assert his independence and push the boundaries you've set for him, he often resorts to back talk or disrespectful comments. As a parent, dealing with back talk can frustrate and overwhelm you. However, if you decide what is and isn't appropriate, set limits, and immediately and consistently enforce logical and fair consequences when back talk occurs, you can curb your teen's back-talking habit.
Removal of Privileges
Remove one or more of your teen's privileges, such as cell phone use, TV, video games or computer time, for a day or two. Take away one privilege for each instance of back talk. Start with your child's least favorite privilege, because if you take away what matters most at the beginning, you lose the leverage you have over your teen. It's important to decide on the length of time you will take away the privilege before you have to enact the consequences, so you won't go overboard in the heat of the moment.
A natural consequence for a teen who talks back to you when you ask her to do a chore is to give her additional chores. For example, if you require your teen to load the dishwasher every other night during the week and she talks back, assign her an extra night of dishwasher duty. If she talks back again, assign her another night. Don't assign multiple nights at once.
If you give your teen an allowance, or he has a job, you can fine him as a consequence. Put a jar on the kitchen counter and tell him that he has to put money into the jar each time he talks back to you. Set the amount of the fine at a level that's realistic, but unpleasant for him to have to pay. If you issue your child's allowance at the end of the week, put the amount of his upcoming allowance in an envelope and put it next to the jar. Each time he talks back, ask him to remove a certain amount and put it in the jar. At the end of the week, give him the remaining amount. If your teen runs out of money, enact another consequence.
Removal From Activity
If your teen is participating in a family activity or an activity with friends and she chooses to talk back, you can remove her from the activity -- temporarily or permanently. For example, during a family activity, send the teen to her room for a period or the remainder of the evening when back talk occurs. If the back talk occurs in front of her friends, ask your teen to speak with you in private and give her a warning. Tell her that what she said was unacceptable and if she does it again, you will end the activity and her friends will have to leave.
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images