What Can I Do When My Tween/Teens Talks Back? [3 TIPS]

Mom of a tween and teen / Mindset/Emotional Wellness & Parenting Strategist


Do you remember that summer when your tween or teen was a 5-years old child? She was so sweet and loving. She was all about hugs and kisses and couldn’t wait for summer to be over so that she could begin her new journey in Kindergarten. Precious memories…

Now, you’re probably wondering… what happened to my cutie 5-years old? If you do, you might be facing the TT years;  “terrible tweens/teens.” Your sweet little boy or girl is now testing the waters and, worse, talking back at you. You dream of the day that your darling grows out of the TT’s and goes back to her sweet, loving self.

As our children go from childhood into adolescence, they are experiencing quite a few changes in their bodies, minds and souls. And frankly, they’re not mature enough to understand, let alone, deal with all these sudden changes. Between the menstrual cycle, wild hormones, physical development, voice cracking, new desires and curiosity, puberty can be quite challenging.

Just because your precious child is mutating into a teenager, doesn’t mean you’ll grow apart from each other. In this post, I’m sharing with you three tips to help you handle ‘talking back’ in a healthier and effective way.

TIP 1. Stay Calm

When they talk back, we tend to focus on the behavior and how disrespectful it is. And if we aren’t careful, we lose control and start yelling or scolding them. Why don’t we focus on how we’re going to react to our child’s mood swings before we correct their behavior? One way to do this is by not engaging in an argument. Instead, stay in control and calmly say…

Jake, you’re disrespecting me (or hurting my feelings). I don’t appreciate the way you’re talking to me right now.

What I’ve found is that the best way to address tweens/teens’ smart mouths and even mood swings is by remaining calm, in control and be patient. Are you surprised? If I get upset and start yelling at my daughter for being disrespectful, guess what she’ll likely do? She’ll probably raise her voice to compete with mine. On the other hand, as I stay in control and show empathy toward her while addressing the issue, she will likely follow my lead and calm down.

Remember, we are our kids’ role models. There’s more power when we model the desired behavior over telling the kids what to do.

TIP 2. Play Smart

Most people reason better when they’re calm and in a good mood. If you’re asking your boss for a salary raise, would you do it when she’s angry or dealing with a stressful situation? Probably not! The same principle applies to your child. When she or he is talking back at you, it’s usually because she’s upset, moody or simply wants to be left alone.

Find the right time to bring up issues so that they can be receptive to your teaching. When I want to discuss a serious matter with my tween and teen, I usually bring it up when they’re calm and receptive to listening. Often times, these conversations happen during a car ride or when they’re in their bedrooms chilling and listening to music. I tell them I would like to speak with them for a few minutes and then bring up the issue.

The key here is to avoid being judgmental or jumping into conclusions as these two will trigger confrontation.”

TIP 3. Set Clear Expectations

Most tweens and teens have an internal desire to impress their parents and earn their approval. They love when we encourage and motivate them, even if they don’t show it or tell you. They also thrive for clear expectations. The clearer we are with our child, the less room for tension and confusion. Have a conversation about how you feel when she respects you and doesn’t talk back at you. Also, be clear about your expectations. Start with something like this..

“Honey, now that you’re getting older, we might disagree in a few things. Disagreeing with each other is ok. What’s not okay is talking back or disrespecting me when you do. I’m expecting that, when you disagree with me, you’ll let me know in a respectful way. Instead of talking back or yelling at me when we disagree, let’s have a conversation about it. We can even wait until we’re calm to go over it.”

Provide the motivation and encouragement your tween or teen needs to own the expectations you’ve set for them. As your tween or teen begins to understand the expectations you’ve set for them, they’ll be willing to listen and more open to your guidance.

Raising a healthy child isn’t easy.

I know, I’m a mom of a tween and teen. We have to keep in mind that we are our children’s role models. They’ll imitate what we do. If we yell, they’ll yell. If we lose our cool and get out of control, they’ll likely do the same. It takes two to tango just as it takes two to engage in a heated conversation.

Next time your tween or teen talks smart at you, I encourage you to take a step back, breath deeply and do your best to stay calm and in control.

“Patience is what we have when there are witnesses.?” – Unknown

Which of these three tips resonates with you the most? Share below!

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