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Bossing Kids Frequently Leads To Kids Talking Back! 4 Ways To Prevent 'Sumasagot Na'
  • Prevention is better than cure, and it works for discipline as well. You can recognize signs that your child is about to throw a tantrum, and do everything you can so it doesn’t happen. It’s the same for kids who talk back. 


    For Pinoy parents mostly, talking back is assumed to be disrespectful. Talking back is a good sign of a child’s development because it’s part of gaining independence, learning critical thinking and negotiation skills, and voicing their thoughts and feelings.

    We’ve written about what to do if your child talks back (click here and here), but what can you do to prevent it?

    How to prevent kids from talking back

    While backtalk is part and parcel of parenting, kids still need to have boundaries. They need to learn how to compromise and navigate situations where they can’t get their way. It’s all about balance.

    Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic - A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World, shares how to prevent and stop kids from turning backtalk into a habit. 

    1. Give your child avenues to use their newfound independence

    Let them choose their outfits or what to do during their playtime. Giving kids choices makes them feel that they are in control. Identify when they can do so beforehand, instead of going into a power struggle. 


    “Parents unknowingly contribute to the power struggles that produce backtalk by bossing kids around too frequently,” McCready writes. 

    Instead of ordering, correcting, and directing your child’s every move, try to listen and engage in things your child wants to do. They need to practice their decision-making skills to learn. 

    2. Pay attention to your child’s needs

    Regularly do an attention audit. When was the last time you spent time with your child alone without your smartphone beside you? Just as kids need a space to be independent, they also need your full attention for even at least 10 minutes every day.

    For a whole 10 minutes, it’s just you and your child -- no distractions or interruptions? During that time, you also let your child dictate what to do during your time together. 

    Humans have a fundamental need for belonging and significance, and McCready says parents can meet their child’s need for this by giving you him or her undivided attention. It also dramatically reduces power struggles between you and your kids.

    3. Check your house rules

    Kids need a routine to thrive, but you also need to review your rules after some time. As your child grows, some of it may need updating or better implementation.“More often than not, backtalk is simply pushback to an expectation that hasn’t been clearly outlined or enforced,” McCready explains.

    Discuss routine and rules with your kids as needed. Hearing their thoughts on rules makes it easier for them to comply because they helped make it. Also, make sure the rules are clear, and you can follow through on the consequences.

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    4. Keep calm and do not engage

    It hurts to hear your child talk back at you. Still, remember that it’s one way of asserting their independence. If you react by yelling or shouting instead of responding to their needs, things are just going to escalate. 

    Firmly by calmly tell your kids that you disapprove of their tone and that you will not hear them out unless they change it. Give a warning that the next time they talk to you in the same manner, you will still not engage. 


    When you spend more time with your kids and always have an open and clear communication line with your then, power struggles are significantly fewer. That’s because by doing the above, you be more attuned to your little one’s needs that he doesn’t need to talk back just to get your attention or let himself be heard. 

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