Don’t Talk Back

Talking back--Good or Bad?

Do Your Children Talk Back?

I am guessing this admonition began in the era of parenting when children were to respond, “Yes sir. No sir.” Sounds close to what was required of slaves. Is there a difference between unquestioned obedience and honest questioning? On the face of it, “talking back” could be a good thing in some situations when the child honestly wants an explaination for what he is expected to do. On the other hand, when the child is being manipulative, whining, or disrespectful it can be very annoying.

Model Respectful Behavior

Tired, overworked, short of time parents can be vulnerable to losing rational control. Easy to say, staying calm will get you the best result, but it is much harder to do. If you can manage to stay calm and talk in a firm voice, you can repeat your request a couple of times with no explaination. It is important not to give in and not to defend your position. Avoid saying, “you need to….” Modeling respectful behavior is far more effective than demanding it.


Whining works only if it gets attention and leads to getting a response. Try to avoid giving the child attention when whining other than saying, “when you talk in your normal voice, I will be able to hear what you are saying.” Lower your own voice rather than raising it.

We want our children to share their feelings and thoughts, but we want them to learn to do that in a respectful way. If parents do not talk to their children in a respectful way, chances of children learning to do it are slim.