Mommy Hacks

Why my Children Backtalks and How I Deal with it

In case you do not know, I was very calm and reserved as a child. My aunt used to tell me that I was so silent as a toddler that my mom would just prop me on a chair and people would mistake me for a doll.

Fast forward to a couple of decades after… who would have thought I would give birth to extroverts and talkative parrots? I know I didn’t. My boys were so good in storytelling, conversing – and, here comes the bad part – in dishing out sarcasm and talking back.

It is never good when children backtalks, especially when it’s a smart ass comment wrapped in a raised voice. I used to react to these antics violently, often matching their voice and questioning their respect.

But why do children do this? Upon closer inspection and through communication, I realize not all backtalking is intended as bad as I have concluded it to be. Here’s what I understand from what I’ve gathered and ways on how I dealt with it:

1. it’s their way of expressing their frustration: 2 weeks ago on a Friday, I had an argument with Lance about some school-related forms that I need to sign up. I told him that I’ll do it over the weekends which made him flip and talk back. Based on what he said, he’s upset because in the past I’ve promised the same and forgot what I have to do after.

HOW I DEALT WITH IT: Children are not adept in expressing their emotions yet. I kept this in mind while I told Lance that his points are completely valid (I AM forgetful) but that in the future he can express his frustration in a calm manner, this way his message gets across rather than his attitude.

2. it’s their way of getting attention: One time, just out of the blue, Levi said “Mama is King Kong and she farts all the time”. Of course he deliberately said this within earshot so he can get get my full attention, because bad attention is still attention, right?

HOW I DEALT WITH IT: There’s 2 ways of dealing with this. If the remark is as silly as the above and is an obvious cry for attention, you may choose to ignore the remark completely and just give the attention needed in a nice way. if it’s a clear insult though, you may need to have a talk with your child about how insults can be offending and choosing better words to say next time, regardless of whether the purpose was to gain attention or not.

3. It’s their way of ‘adulting’: This one is our fault, sometimes Rush and I are sarcatic to each other so they must have gotten the notion that sarcasm and talking back is an adult thing.

HOW I DEALT WITH IT: There is no way around this but to be a better role model. What a child sees, a child becomes. In my case, I explained that there’s a right place and timing with sarcasm otherwise it may be taken negatively. I also explained that it’s okay to talk back if you have something to say that the other party needs to hear but to do so in a calm manner.

I do not mean to excuse backtalking and sarcasm, it is unacceptable behavior regardless of the reasons behind. The actions I shared above  may just be applicable for first time offenders and is not a one size fits all solution. Backtalking and sarcasm can become a problem in children if not addressed early on, so above actions must be accompanied by disciplinary actions and consequences if repeated.

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