I remember feeling dis-regulated and overwhelmed when my daughters got sassy. Often their sassiness escalated the more tired I was at the end of the day.
I also remember my father shutting me down with, “Don’t back talk me!” And I remember my vow that I would never shut down my children…only to be told by my daughters that I was shutting them down. It was incredibly painful and it ignited my conscious parenting journey to find practical ways to honor all of us.
So, what is Back Talk anyway?
It’s a buzz word/ phrase parents use when they are stuck in the old authoritarian model of trying to control kids, rather than connect. But, conscious parents respect teens autonomy and their right to voice their emotions and opinions. Often teens need help to learn and then practice respectful communication from a place of calm centeredness. They need us to calm and center ourselves and model how to communicate with respect and kindness.
It’s Developmental! Not Personal!!
Our teens bark back or try to get the last word for 2 reasons.
1) They don’t feel heard or honored. Teens get “defensive” with parents as a result.
2) They need to be different from us as parents in order to grow into independence.
How do I handle it?
We can approach our teens with conscious communication. We can use I-Messages to communicate how disrespect feels and model how we would like to be spoken to.
– I don’t feel heard when you bark back at me when I simply made a request. (Request and don’t demand to avoid defensiveness.)
– I am doing my best to speak in kind tones to you. I would appreciate the same from you.
– I feel disrespected when you make demands instead of requests of me.
– Thank you for using gentle tones. It helps me hear you better.
Empowered Conscious Parenting
The tone we set in our home of respect and kindness prevents the disrespect that perceived back talk can bring. We can use our powerful voices as parents in gentle tones by expecting respectful, kind communication. Conscious communication parent coaching helps us use our voices and ultimately helps us facilitate theirs.