All kids undergo a phase when they seem to be sassy, mouthy or disrespectful. The attitude does not just apply to their parents, but other older people as well. This could be a result of different pressures that they encounter in their environment. This behaviour could also be their outlet or way of dealing with these pressures.
If you’re a parent who is dealing with a child who is increasingly mouthy or sassy, how do you handle the situation? Do you simply ignore the behaviour? Or do you directly confront your child about it and take action? To answer these questions, it is best to understand the reasons why kids behave this way in the first place. Why do kids develop inappropriate verbal responses? Take a look at some major reasons:
– These responses could be triggered by certain emotions – particularly frustration, anger and the need to get even with others if they think that they were not treated fairly.
– Abusive language is meant to hurt other people to make them look small and afraid. This is their way to intimidate others so that they will give in. Different forms of inappropriate verbal responses are exercised by most kids. But what would be the best way of handling it? Here are some suggestions for parents:
• When your kid uses abusive language:
Kids use this to attack parents so they will be in control. They are not intimidated by the consequences so parents should handle this behaviour sternly. Instead of saying “Don’t speak to me that way or you will be grounded!”, ask your kid what’s wrong. Threatening them will only worsen their behaviour.
• When your kid talks back to you or to another older individual with sarcasm: Kids will test your patience through sarcasm. When you confront them, they’ll simply say “What did I do?” It is still best not to challenge them. The less challenge you provide, the less power they will wield over you. Most parents also use sarcasm when dealing with kids who do not listen or follow their instructions – so maybe it is time for you as a parent to follow what you preach and set a good example.
• When your kid replies disrespectfully: When asked to do some errands, some kids will reply “Do it yourself!”. Responses to this should be very clear. Be firm and say “I will not be the one to do it, I told you to do it and you will have the following consequences if it is not done”. Whatever consequences given must be implemented; this will surely make them comply. Some consequence that can be done is to take away things that they are fond of such as video games, TV, mobile phone access and the like. Toys can be taken away from younger kids so they will comply.
• When your kid sasses you in public: If the child express this behaviour in public, it is necessary that correction is also made in public. You can say” Don’t talk to me that way, I don’t appreciate it.” But if it continues, then it’s time to take them away either to the car or to a place where both of you can discuss and talk things over.
For all these cases, parents must learn to understand the reason why their kids behave in such manner in the first place. Discuss their behaviour with them and keep the communication lines open while still exercising your authority as parents.