November 01, 2011

Fighting the Sass Monster

It's not often that I will blog about anything particularly useful; I suppose I've come to the realization that my blog is niche-less, not really parental in any fashion, far cry from the "mommy blogger". Useful? No. Humorous? Nope. At any rate, today is a departure from the Vagina Monologues of last week and I'm talking about something important!  I know, I'm as shocked as you are.

Those of you who may read my blog know I refer to my 6 year as the Drama Queen, I don't know where she gets it, I blame her father, I suppose. I may also be wearing a Tiara right now. But I'll say it again; I don't like kids who sass me. Who does?  Now before you start rolling your eyes, and saying things like, "just wait, ha!” I know, I know it's normal, I know it only gets worse, teenager, blah, blah. But really when is it too much? That's my question. When is the sass out of control? And...can you nip sass in the bud?

I've been called a lot of things, 'good Mom', 'strict Mom', 'crazy Mom', 'hot Mom', oh wait....there are others too, just can't recall, blocking out. My favorite insult regarding my no-sass policy and manner requirement was this line, "you are raising little adults"; uh, yeah, pretty much, but I digress, means nothing coming from the parent whose child is standing on his chair at dinner kicking his sister. Not bitter whatsoever. Here's the situation:

Drama Queen, the boy, their Dad and I were going to Toys 'r Us, long story, but we were going there together. In hindsight is good, because Toys 'r Us can swallow you up and spit you back out worse for wear. Drama Queen had $5 dollars to spend and knew we were going that day. All morning long she was a down-right brat, now I don't like to call my child a brat, but it is what it is. Sassy, throwing tantrums and huffing around, I had called her on it one too many times that morning and she and the corner were plotting against me. I had worn out the line, "knock it off or you will not spend your money today". Finally, at each incident I just got down to her level and said, "Remember how you are acting right now, and what you just said to me, because I'm going to ask you later." Four times I quoted that.

Now at the toy store I advise her Dad that she won't be getting anything, I had warned her. Had I not been there I think he would've crumbled. She started talking about what she was going to pick out and I said, "sorry, hon, you're not getting anything" {insert crying eruption} through the tears were why, why, whys and I calmly said, "remember when I told you to remember how you were acting and what you said to me...that's why."

Mean Mommy trick? Maybe. Okay, totally. But nothing else was working. Did I know this would cause a meltdown at the toy store? Meltdowns don't scare me, my son has Autism, I kick meltdowns ass.  Okay, sometimes they kick mine...but most of the time.  The threats of not getting anything weren't working; so I had to take action and follow through. If there is one thing I have learned as a parent it is IF YOU THREATEN YOUR CHILD WITH A CONSEQUENCE, BE PREPARED TO FOLLOW THROUGH. Otherwise, you lose all credibility. You may as well just hand over the car keys and call it a day, they're driving.

In the parking lot things escalated, a full-on screaming tantrum by the Drama Queen. Those are practically unheard of for her, so this was rare. I was walking in front with the boy, Dad had DQ by the hand, and we both said nothing. Tried the 'ol, ignore it approach. No dice. I supposedly ruined her life, was mean, etc. Okay kid; get it out of your system. Then she says, "you just hate me'. I finally whipped my head around and yelled, "Enough, you're done". We were drawing a crowd of on-lookers, and I was done with the pitiful me fest.

Now, I put kids in car, and told kid's Dad he was not off the hook and he was getting in and we were talking to this kid. We didn't really have to discuss our plan of action, because neither of us tolerate bad behavior, and I'm lucky in the fact that he will most often times back me up. I am the disciplinarian, always have been. Kids need to know their boundaries; otherwise it just leads to insecurity and anxiety, or acting out... Then there was fifteen minutes in the car lecturing the DQ where she ultimately lost Trick or Treating privileges for further sass, which she had to earn back; and did {she even got a note home from school about how she had gone out of her way to be kind}. So I consider this bump a success.

We are all blazing new paths on the parenting trail, and nobody has all the answers. One day I think I know what I'm doing and the next it's all gone to heck. I think this is especially hard when it comes to Co-Parenting. So as not to make this post too long, my Thursday post is all about co-parenting, discipline, giving in and guilt because of the absence of the other parent, oh yeah and the fun parent. Been there, done all of those.

Let's also not lose sight of the fact that there is a line between voicing your opinion and being disrespectful. Far too many kids are just downright disrespectful to their parents. I think I would be doing my child a disservice by allowing them to whine and sass me, that is not how you get what you want in this world.

So how much Sass is normal? And how do you deal with it? There is no parental judgment happening here, I sincerely want your opinion.  I am wielding the power of the blog and asking for your best advice, even if it is Dr. Phil-ish.

{Disclaimer:  I am fully aware that I am one of the most sasstastic people that has ever roamed the Earth and this is my Karma.}


  1. With a 1 1/2 year old, we really only have tantrums, or her saying no to us. The sass is yet to come. For now, ignoring works best, because that's what she wants. But I am not above bribery (not during tantrums, but to reward good behaviour). I think you did just right, and I'm glad you had backup. I'll be watching the further posts on the subject!

  2. As a mom of adult children, I have to say, I'm very impressed with all that you have done so far. We always say, if there was a perfect way to parent, someone would write a book about it....guess what? There are millions of books written about the subject and we still don't have definitive answers to our parenting guidance.
    Here is a list of things I know for sure, the rest is anybody's guess.
    1. Love is a great blinder
    2. Love is a great atmosphere
    3. Love is a great attitude
    4. Love is transcending
    5. It's harder to Love than hate.
    6. All children seek Love and attention. Don't we all? Don't confuse the two. They are not the same.
    7. Say to yourself: This too shall pass.

  3. I have been using the losing privileges thing with my daughter. And if she throws a fit she continues to lose more and if we run out of stuff she loses stuff tmrw etc etc. Works pretty well now that she's old enough to understand how it works. Breaks my frickin heard sometimes when she isn't allowed to go out to play because of bad behavior...but she remembers it and we have to stick to our threats. I will not have "that kid" because I'm "that single mom". I think you and your family handled your situation perfectly and big ups to DQ for getting the good note from school ;)

  4. I think it is so awesome that you guys did this together. The talking and punishing. Even though you are the usually are the only one doling out the disciplin, just to have back-up and a little unity is so great.

    Meltdowns make me laugh... am I sick or what.

  5. First of all, I love that you refer to yourself as "sasstastic." Lol, that's a great word.
    Anyway, I know I'm not a mom or anything, but I do work with the kids at my daycare and believe me, they are probably more sasstastic than you can imagine! I think that you are doing a wonderful job in the discipline area. I see so many kids whose parents just don't care. When she's a mom someday, she will be using the same techniques you are using on her, so don't sweat it. :)

  6. Well done Cari. I can't see anything wrong with how you handled this situation. I'm a big proponent of pointing out that all poor behaviors have consequences. I don't threaten the consequences I just illustrate the facts. Just the facts maam! So soon all I had to do was give "the look" if that didn't work up goes one finger, then two and I've never had to get to three since consequences were understood. I loved it when early on my kids used to ask, "well what's the consequence going to be?" My response, "Do you think with every C there is going to be only one possibility?" Uh uh. The unknown was too much for them to go against! It still is. I don't really like the counting to three but it's so effective w/my kids and gets the point across often times in silence. I love that. Even though they are older now when I hold up a finger and look to the heavens they know...Oh mom's on the brink!! In life they aren't always going to get three chances,love isn't always going to be patient, but they will and should be able to read the vibe and know when to can it or act accordingly.

  7. First off, let me put this Cosmopolitan issue down and give you a round of applause for what you have done- and continue to do. I can't imagine how I would handle such a situation.

    I guess I'm lucky my 5-year old isn't as much of a drama queen as I am!

    The sassiness I put up with comes from the kids I deal with at work every single day. I work in an International School library (elementary kids), so I pretty much have a garden variety of sassiness each day. When I'm in a bad mood, I give them a dose of their own medicine. Other days, I am more patient and will just level with them squarely without blowing my head off.

    I don't know, it's really hard...

  8. Well, I think you handled it well. I haven't been there yet as little man turns two this month. He's a handful as is. I agree with what you said about follow thru. It's so true even in my short mommy experience. It's not easy but we'll be thankful later that we put our foot down. We are raising little adults. These little people will run the world. How they run it, how they treat people, how they handle themselves has so much to do with us. We have to at least try to get it right.

  9. Agree 100% that consistency is key when disciplining the kiddos. Consistency between words and actions, and consistency on following through with punishment.

    I'll go as far as saying there are no "terrible twos" if we don't allow it. Kids will act up to the degree parents allow them to. By default, children will act terrible if we don't correct and train them. If humans can train up dogs, surely we can train up children.

    I spanked when daughter was little. Got the job done quickly, no need for "time out" fails, and she's turning out halfway decent.

  10. You guys give brilliant advice! I surround myself with good people, I tell ya!

    @Maeve's Momma- You're going to do just fine, you have a cutie pie! Oh 1 1/ they have tantrums, can't recall...been so long ago *sigh* :-)

    @Suzi- That was fantastic. You know in the entire post, I didn't talk about love, at all. Letting your kids know you love them is as important as the discipline. Great advice from a great Mom!

    @Christina- Sometimes I do think the punishment is hardest on the parent. Probably why a lot of parents have trouble following through. But YES! Don't want THAT kid with the frazzled out single mom going buck wild!

    @Nessa- You're a sick puppy. :-) So hard not to laugh at them sometimes though. In fact, I think it's good when we can laugh and shake it off. Have to have parental unity or it's all over.

    @Star- Ha! Great! Love the 'more than one possible consequence'. Every parent has mastered the look, and I think every child should fear it. I don't have the whole counting to three thing down, we're more like 10ish, but I'll get there.

    @Pepper- Bless your heart. How you do it I do not know. That would be hard. Must say were I in your situation, I would probably sass them back too, just the way I am.

    @Cam- Yay for two! Exactly, we are raising the future and owe it to them to do it right!

    @Beard- I'd say Pigtail's is turning out perfectly. In fact, you can take the Drama Queen for a year or so until she is straightened out. I'll do an even trade straight accross the board!

  11. @Amanda- I'm a tool, and accidentally overlooked you...probably because your so sasstastic. It runs in the family. Thanks for reading sweetie and your kind know, you should start your own blog, just sayin', you're a great writer.

  12. Oh yes, Cari, I do sass those kids back :)

  13. Finally, I'm going to comment (better late than never). Like so many others have already said, it's great that your kids' dad will back you up on the discipline and that you were a good enough communicator to make that happen. But oh it can be hard not to threaten something that's really hard to follow through on when I'm on the heat of the moment. I have to really check myself and be careful that I only say things that I'll really follow through on :-).


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