Talking Back and Teaching Kids Respect –UGH!

  • My 9 year old has begun to talk back when we punish him or fuss at him for doing something he is not supposed to. We have tried grounding him and talking to him about this newly developed behavior, but it isn't working. What do you do to prevent your kids from talking back and how do you teach them to be more respectful? -- Bonnie, Strongmoms Facilitator

  • Tough situation and sadly with his adolescent personality begining to blossom i am not sure that there is anything you can do other than setting very clear rules, very clear punishments that you know will get to him (taking away a video game ect...), and consistency. I think after a while of battleing it out he will get with the program if you are consistent.

  • Ah welcome to early adolescence!  I think the first thing is that mom and dad have to sit down and develop a plan of how to deal with behavior, and then thy must be consistent and follow through.  Teens will try to divide mom and dad and if they are going to grow into well adjusted older teens, this cannot happen.  Teens need solid structure, clear expectations, routine and then lots of positive reinforcement.  The consequences of not following through with the correct behavior have to be consequences that  the teen understood and he/she must take ownership for their behavior.  Outside of this stuff it's really important that your pre-teen is getting his/her basic needs met, as if these are skimped on then the behavioral issues will take flight.  These basics include enough sleep with set bedtimes/lights out and a set wake up time.  Teens need a lot of sleep and it directly affects how they cope.  Teens need good nutrition with meals and snacks throughout the day.  Keeping enough glucose in the brain is essential for mood.  A variety of activities is important-both outside and inside, active and not.  Friends, family and security/safety is essential.  Who can function without those three things?!  NOT ME! lol.  I think that is enough to get you started.  I will be interested to hear what our other parents have to add in.  This is a BIG topic!  -Jess

  • Well things have improved a LOT lately. My son has ADHD and the medicine he was on was making him moody. Once we changed his medicine, he turned back into his old self! Never underestimate the ability of medicines to affect your child's moods and personality. 


  • MommyRN, I am so glad that you are so tuned into your son's mood/behavior and the effect of his ADHD medications.  Kids/Teens are very tricky in that medications affect them differently than they do adults-but this is poorly understood.  Kids with ADHD that are on the wrong or to high of a dose of medication can get suicidal, angry, and anxious.  On the contrary, to low of a dose and the kids don't benefit from meds, continue to struggle but not understanding why ss "they are on meds".  I think the most important thing in helping our children is really know them-their feelings, behavior and needs.  You did a beautiful job of identifying that things weren't going well and got things adjusted.  NICE WORK! :)  -Jess


  • Yes, I think it is natural to think "oh well, I guess we are just at that time in his life..he's getting older and moody", but it is important to look for other factors as well- - diet, sleep, and medications are HUGE!


  • Yep, MommyRN I totally agree!