Whining and Talking Back: What to Do

Talking is not just about words and sentences. Tone of voice and language are also very important for kids to learn... and they learn it from you! Try these tips if your kids are whining or talking back too much.And that can be hard to manage sometimes! Here are some tips to help manage some frustrating parts of parenting a young child.

Wipe Out Whining

  • First - why is your child whining? Look first for an obvious physical cause or need. They may be hungry, thirsty, tired, uncomfortable, or feeling sick. If you find they are OK - look for other reasons for the behavior. Are they wanting access to a special toy or food or attention?
  • Next - stay calm. Showing you are upset will only make the situation worse.
  • Later on - take a few minutes to show your child the difference between a whiny voice and a normal voice. Ask your child to tell you which voice is nicer to hear.
  • If it goes on, ignore whining by limiting eye contact and talking.
  • Make sure children have contact with children their own age. It can be tiring for a child to keep up with older kids, and he/she could be using the whiny voice with them too.

How to Manage Kids Talking Back

  • As soon as back talk happens, tell your child, "We don’t talk that way. Please speak nicely."
  • Give choices: "Either finish your homework now or in 30 minutes. It has to be done before you can play basketball." 
  • Praise good behavior: "Thank you for helping me with the groceries!"
  • Do not tolerate swear words. If your child uses words that are inappropriate, stop the conversation immediately and tell them clearly that you don't like that language.
  • Provide appropriate consequences, like giving a time out. The length of time out needs to correspond to the age of the child (six minutes for a 6-year-old, seven minutes for a 7-year-old). Other consequences for talking back could be: losing screen time privileges, no going to a friend's house after school, or having to pay a penny to a jar that you keep.

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