Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Any bright ideas for dealing with 6-year old sass?

This week WFMW is doing a backwards edition where you get to ask the question instead of giving an answer. My question happens to be the very same one Shannon used as an example last week, which could be seen as a cop out, but it is in fact the most burning question on my parenting agenda at the moment so I'm going with it anyway.

So, anyone have any bright ideas for dealing with 6.5 year old sass? Normal 6.5 year old attitude combined with native-born Israeli smartmouth and hutzpah is going to drive me to completely around the bend sometime in the very near future.
Visit Rocks In My Dryer to see what everyone else needs help with this week. Who knows, you might just have the answer they're looking for.

17 comments:

chickadee said...

this book really helped me: say goodbye to whining, complaining and bad attitudes in you and your kids by scott turansky.

Leigh said...

:)

I'm no good - I usually think sass is actually very cute :)

Gina said...

We used "Naughty Mouth" a little over a year ago. I bought a tiny empty spray bottle (travel type) and filled it with vinegar. I brought out the bottle and warned the boys: any sass or backtalk would result in a spray from the "Naughty Mouth" bottle. I kept in my purse, and if they were bad in the store, they got a squirt in the car after I buckled them into their carseats. I haven't had trouble with sass since. My 4 year old has a whining/fit problem though, so I think I will get it back out for that. Good luck! By the way, I know this sounds mean, but it's just vinegar, not mideval torture.

Jo said...

I think it's a perfectly healthy part of growing up and just has to be put up with. Children need to realise they are not totally powerless or how will they grow up? Theo can be quite the mouth on occasion, but it's the same mouth that declares undying devotion to me; rough with the smooth.

Jo said...

Just to clarify: I do give time-outs for cheek, I meant we have to put up with this latest stage of development.

Becka said...

When my children gain a new problam like this, I always explore where they learned it from. I almost always discovered that it has been being modeled by mommy herself. Ugh. So, I work really hard on modeling the behavior I want them to show, and I gently remind them that respect is one of the most important character traits. We have to have respect on our face, on our lips, on our hands, and in our hearts.

The problem is that my parents let me get by with being sassy, and so, I am naturally a smart mouth. It's hard for me to begin modeling a different behavior.

Capturing Today said...

I love this website about childrearing - it has so much really down to earth good advice about this topic!

Raising Godly Tomatoes

http://www.raisinggodlytomatoes.com/index.html

Robin said...

Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts. I think there are probably as many answers to this question as there are parents. In our case, we practice gentle discipline and strive for mutual understanding and respect, while still setting reasonable borders, and look for solutions that fit with our family's parenting style.

I do tend to use things like timeouts and restriction of privileges, etc., but I'd rather be working to solve the problem before it starts by teaching my children to talk and behave with respect, rather than just trying to discipline afterwards (would that it were that easy...). In my son's case the worst of the behaviors are absolutely coming from his peers (Israelis tend to have a very different attitude towards acceptable child behavior than Americans), but I do try to model (and discuss) what I feel is appropriate behavior at home. I particularly like what Becka said here:

We have to have respect on our face, on our lips, on our hands, and in our hearts.

No matter what parenting path you take, it's never simple is it?...

Thanks again everyone for weighing in, and more suggestions are very welcome.

Jo said...

Sorry but have come back to say that I cannot get my head around somebody putting vinegar in their child's mouth. To me that's just plain wrong....not only is it a misuse of power but it could also cause a choking fit.

Jen said...

No, have no answer for you, but the recurring thought that our sons would have a field day together plotting against us. ; )

Mom not Mum said...

I think each child does this at different ages - my 10 year old never got sassy but he's a pleaser and I'm sure that the backtalk is still to come. With my 5 year old I just say "excuse me?" And that gives her a hint that she needs to correct herself and try again. Sometimes she needs more than one "excuse me" but eventually she clues in that I'm not taking what she's giving out.

Mrs. W said...

Wow... I think all mommies are so brave. We don't have children yet, but in Sunday school I usually use the "Excuse Me?" comment when confronted with sass; second time gets one last warning. Third time they are escorted to mommy & daddy in the sanctuary until they can apologise and behave themselves to return.

pussreboots said...

Usually I just stick my tongue out at my son if he's being sassy. He's often times using sass as a way of clowning. If he's really doing it to annoy me I'll put him on time out or send him to his room.

phyllis said...

oy...i have a somewhat sassy almost-6-year-old too...hang in there, people tell me it gets better. i use the "excuse me" thing too, and i will make him repeat what he said in a "nice voice." sometimes i will even model how i want him to say it and then make him repeat it. it seems to work more or less:-)

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I just pretend I can't 'hear' the sass. "Excuse me? Did you say something?" Kind of like giving them a do-over.

Of course, this makes me sound so amazingly calm and level-headed. There are plenty of times I yell, "don't you dare talk to your mother like that!!!!"

Melissa Garrett said...

All I can say is be patient. We get A LOT of sass from Hannah (age 8), and it started the day she turned 6. Luckily, we haven't gotten any from Jacob yet. I think it is just a normal part of growing up (I had QUITE a sassy mouth - hard to believe, I know), and the limits are being tested. Just show him that you love him, but that you will not tolerate rude or disrespectful behavior. Don't overtly punish him for it, though, and whatever you do - try not to lose your cool. I think that kids should be allowed to show their feelings and emotions, because it's the only way to learn. He's growing up and testing the boundaries. That's the best advice I have. :-)

PS - the vinegar in the mouth - NOT COOL! To me, that is stifling a normal child behavior. I'm with the other parents who say, "Excuse me?" because it offers the child a chance to rethink what he/she meant to say.

Anonymous said...

Im so glad to have found this site. I'm getting to be at wits end with my 2 school aged children... their personalities seem to be going through a shift or something, because they have suddenly become brats. I've had to speak to their teachers several times in the last week, and I just dont get it. Nothing at home has changed, if anything it's happier (at least from the mommy pov).

I gave up my career when I had my third child so that I could stay home and keep things going smoothly here - and now I find out that they are still having the issues I was seeking to avoid.

Disrespect seems to be rearing it's ugly head at school now, specifically with my 6 year old. I get a little at home, but nothing compared with what the teacher is being forced to deal with - and it's been an overnight transition.

Unfortunately I have tried (and continue to use) most of the suggestions here - other than the vinegar (I agree that it's not mideval torture, but it seems to be a power trip to me, and it may bite you on the bum later on... but then again - what do I know?!?) lol

Its just nice to have some confirmation that there IS in fact a disrespectful stage around the age of 6... Be well Ladies, and GOOD LUCK!