It is important to understand the psychological reasons behind why does a child back answers every time you tell him/her something.

  • Whenever you notice that your child is back answering, the first thing to do is observe your own behaviour with them subjectively. A child always models your behaviour.
  • Look for incidents or triggers which motivates them to back-answer or not to listen to you.
  • When you talk about your misbehaving child, look for any circumstances which they are not able to make you understand, look for their requirements or their hidden feelings and emotions.
  • Sometimes a child is unhappy because of some dispute with their siblings or friends and is unable to do anything about it or unable to talk about it, in that case, he may come to you and shower in his frustration in terms of back answers or misbehaviour. Here, a child is either thinking of not reacting or is unable to express their feelings and so this acted as one of the triggers to misbehave.
  • As a parent we usually command them to do certain things, we don’t even try to understand their needs, their feelings and emotions, what would they appreciate. We just look at our perspective as adults and go ahead with it. So the child can misbehave to prove his/her point. Sometimes they know that their behaviour is not appropriate but they would still continue to do so just to prove their point.
  • Age factor plays a major role in understanding a child’s misbehaviour or back answering. If the child is too young, say 3 or 4 years and is misbehaving, they might have some unmet needs. They are seeking your attention and trying to grab you more in this negative manner. The need could be as simple as sleep or hunger but they don’t understand themselves so they are unable to convey it correctly.
  • For a 5-8 year child, by misbehaving they are trying to lure you or trying to bring your attention towards them. The reason could be a lack of proper communication. You may feel that you talk to your child all day and night but no! What you might be doing is just giving guidance and giving commands or pointing out their mistakes. For example “did you finish your work?” “Stop banging the door”! “see! You forgot to flush the toilet”. There is no communication.
  • Communication means even you are listening to them rather than just giving commands or pointing mistakes or doing the interrogation. Irrespective of age, communication is extremely important for your child.
  • So rather than scolding, getting irritated or upset with them, calm them down. Make them sit. First lower down your voice, ask them to talk to you in a soft manner. If they feel that they are disturbed, ask them to calm down for a while and leave them for a while. Leave them with a calming thought.
  • Give them time to reflect on their behaviour. Don’t start commanding or being their boss, saying, “Stop doing this”! “You can’t do this to me”. By doing so you are giving them the image that it is okay to shout, it is okay to back-answer. You don’t want them to learn this from you, right?
  • The behaviour you want from your child should come first from you. If you feel you aren’t giving enough space, give them space. If the issue is about giving time, give them enough time. Time here doesn’t mean watching TV or playing video games with them. Giving Time means planning an activity for spending quality time where you both are involved in the process. The child should enjoy that time with you, The child should enjoy being with you and communicating with you. Teaching them, making them learn, going on long drives would not count here. Before doing any activity for quality time, make sure your child likes it, talk to them and know their viewpoint.
  • What a child wants, is to sit beside you, talk to you about their fancy ideas, wants you to hear their school and bus stories, their teacher’s talks and all about what is happening in their life.
  • Usually, we tend to overlook this criterion wherein a child is having some issues outside the house, either in school, with batch mates, with peers, or someone in the surroundings or there could be a pressure of studies as well. Study pressure is not only during board exams but it may be their own expectations towards their own selves.

Just verbalise it, bring it to point, explain them and still if they misbehave try to find the root cause rather than just shouting back at them.