It seems almost overnight, your darling daughter who was insistent on being called Elsa, dressed only in tutu’s and tiara’s and ensured every meal and snack became a tea party, morphed into a miniature version of Queen Elizabeth, complete with insistence, persistence and purpose. And, unlike her royal highness, a tongue as sharp as a Royal Sentry sword.
As parents, we know our children will grow through stages, from infant to toddler; toddler to young child and so on. But nestled in between, and usually for an undetermined length of time, young ladies will enter into the first of “their own” and with that, the Sassy-pants phase. Unfortunately, what is cute and funny coming from a 2 year old mouth is not so adorable at 5 years old.
Our first introduction to Little Miss Sassy-pants came from none other than Angelica Pickles. Her spunk, wit, defiance and comebacks made watching those kid shows a bit more palatable; until, our own children began to talk like Angelica.
And, her pre-school teacher.
And—the pastor of our church.
So, what can you do to strike a happy balance between classy, confident and charming while empowering a future generation of no-BS ladies who can speak their mind without being put in time-out? Here’s a few ideas:
Teach your child that their verbal delivery is sassy.
Kids don’t realize that tone and inflection shape our words. Using an example such as “please come here” in a variety of tones can help you explain to a child how their words are coming across as sassy and rude.
Related read: Three Great Ways to Raise Happy Kids
Explain to your child which parts of a phrase are inappropriate
Simply telling your child to “stop” is ineffective. Kids don’t get it –otherwise, they wouldn’t be saying what they are saying. Rather, you can suggest “Susie, when you say “when you reply to me ‘your hands are just as helpful’ when asking you to put your clothes away, comes across as rude and sarcastic. I know you didn’t realize this until now but wanted to point it out so you can be aware.”
Show your child a different and preferred behavior
Kids have a limited range of knowledge when it comes to expressing emotion. For many children, frustration, anger, or feeling threatened manifests in behavioral changes. Just as when a toddler has a tantrum to get his way, Little Miss Sassy-pants has discovered her words can be effective to attract attention, get her way or prove a point. Showing her through your behavior (behavior modeling) is one of the most effective ways you can stifle the behavior. And, remembering to focus on the behavior, not the child as a person, will show her that she is still a good person, but the behavior is what is problematic.
Do you have a Little Miss Sassy-pants story or solution? Send us a note, we would love to hear from you and possibly share your story. Contact us through the link below.
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