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When our kids talk back to us, we may feel like it is a sign of disrespect or bad behavior. However, talking back is how your child learns to establish boundaries and if you help them to cultivate this skill – it can be quite empowering.

We’ve all been there: we are trying to get our child to do something and instead of listening, they have words. For most of us, this can be quite infuriating. I know there have been multiple times that I wanted to sit my child down and tell them to stop disrespecting me and that I am doing the best that I can. But, the thing is- talking back isn’t entirely a bad thing. Hear me out.

Why Kids SHOULD Talk Back to Their Parents

It might not be something we want to admit, but talking back is a good thing. First and foremost, kids don’t talk back because they set out to disrespect you. Instead, what they are doing is trying to assert themselves and take back control of their autonomy. This is called positive assertion of self. When they do this, they are trying to assert their own beliefs and opinions and while it may feel like an attack-this is a good thing in the grand scheme of things.

Think about it: when your child is at school, and they have a useful opinion and want to share it, would you want them to hold back (out of fear they will get in trouble), or would you prefer that they stand their ground?

Rather than shutting your child down, try to help them learn how to express themselves healthily. You can do this by making a point to listen to how they feel, even if it isn’t what you want to hear. This includes sitting them down and asking them questions or involving them in discussions. And this also includes acknowledging when they’ve made a good point despite it being different from your own.

So what if they are disrespectful?

If you find that your child’s talking back is disrespectful, emphasize that while it’s important to express themselves, there is a right and wrong way to be assertive.

The Takeaway

You are your child’s emotional coach, whether you realize it or not. This means that instead of shutting down difficult emotions, you need to help them to navigate them. This can be stressful at times, but it is the most emotionally beneficial way to help your child move through life with ease.