Back-chatting and disrespectful behavior are something that all parents are going to face at some point. As children grow and develop, they will naturally push against boundaries and try to establish themselves as equals.
Back-chat is where children “try to have the last word” or demand reasons or deliberately try to look as if they are not under your control.
Disrespectful behavior is where a child is rude or unkind taking no notice of social norms or an adult’s position and tries to assert dominance or deliberately breaks rules.
Although children need to question and learn their place it is vitally important that they are given strong boundaries and that breaking these boundaries leads to consistent consequences.
Boundaries are the rules and it would be unfair for parents to enforce rules without them being clear. For example if your child has a set bed time of 7 o’clock and you often let them stay up till 8 o’clock, this rule is not clear. You can expect your child to backchat and question you, or even disrespect you. In this case as the rules are unclear and not consistent.
Similarly a parent who does not tolerate bad language but often swears in the home is giving a mixed message and can expect confusion and dis-respect.
Consequences are the results of a child’s actions. If you expect your child to be in bed at 7 o’clock and they are not, a consequence might be that there favorite toy is taken from them. It might not be straight away, perhaps you count to 3 first, or have a policy where they have so many minutes to comply. However, it is essential that the consequences are clear and that they are always followed through. A parent that threatens consequences but is not strong enough to apply them will be disrespected and the child will not believe that the consequences will ever happen.
A world without boundaries or consequences is not a nice place to be, and a parent that truly loves there child will ensure consistent and real consequences.
Remember, consequences are not always negative. As often as you can, praise and reward good behavior and encourage your child to live in a safe and secure world, happy to be respectful and full of positive chat!