Don’t blame your daughter (or son) for her sassiness. Nurture, not nature is at work here. Attitudes like talking back or eye-rolling are not appropriate demeanor for young people. Even if we can see it in kids of any age, frequent sass and snark should not be tolerated and still less encouraged. Saying that “little girls are just sassy,” for example, is the equivalent of pretending that “boys will be boys” when a young boy is violent.

Sassiness is not an inborn trait passed down through our genes. Labeling a child as sassy won’t help her to improve her behavior. Frequent and chronic disrespect at an early age is a sign of discouragement and defensiveness. So, what to do in such a case? First of all, stop calling your child sassy (or bad or stupid or any other negative label), this won’t help her mature. Then, don’t simply demand kindness or respect from your child when she misbehaves, this would only make her more frustrated. A good solution is to enter into her heart through small, non-threatening and comforting steps.


Picture: Patience Serious, by Robert Henri (Cincinnati Art Museum, Wikimedia Commons, w/Effects)