Living with Children: Sassiness shouldn't be 'normal' for 5-year-old
Q uestion: The “sassiness” that I have heard so much about from my friends started a few months ago with my 5-year-old daughter.
She will say things to me that I actually find myself tongue-tied on how or what to say to correct her. Sometimes, she apologizes, which tells me she knows she's talking disrespectfully to me.
What do you think about 10 minutes of timeout for this sort of thing? Also, on a recent vacation with another family in which there are two other girls around the same age, my daughter became very competitive. She constantly wanted to “race” to see who would be first, for example.
Is this normal for this age?
Answer: I take it your friends think sassiness is normal for this age child. That may be true today, but sassiness was far from the norm two-plus generations ago. Furthermore, there are still a considerable number of kids this age who are respectful of adults.
It is true that television and electronics in general have altered the behavior of children.
Too many of today's kids, from relatively early on, pick up an inappropriate manner of talking to adults from characters on television sitcoms. After all, this sassy manner of addressing and responding to adults is almost always followed by the laugh track.
This is one of several reasons why I am opposed to allowing young children any exposure to television outside of educational programs on channels like Discovery and History.
But even without the toxicity of supposed family fare on television, young kids often pick up sassiness from friends. When she was 8, my daughter had a friend in the neighborhood who talked to her mother like she was a servant or a peer.
Amy would sometimes come home from said friend's house using the same tone with us. When this happened — and without giving her a warning — we would confine Amy to her room for the rest of the day. That curtailed her loose tongue rather quickly.
In that regard, I seriously doubt that 10 minutes of timeout is going to do the trick. If you want this to stop, and you certainly should, then you need to make an impression on your daughter.
Timeout for an offense of this sort is an example of what I call “trying to stop a charging elephant with a fly swatter.” I recommend the “Amy cure.”
As for the competition thing, I encourage you not to give it a second thought. Kids work these sorts of things out among themselves.
In fact, intervention on the part of well-intentioned (albeit, anxious) adults can prevent children from going through the trial-and-error of certain social processes. Besides, it's good to know that the natural drive to compete will survive efforts on the part of many schools to squash it by doing absolutely silly things like banning dodgeball.
Visit family psychologist John Rosemond's website at www.johnrosemond.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Consumer, core prices inch up
- Pitt offense eyes healthy balance
- Flyers continue mastery of Penguins at Consol
- Karns City soccer teams advance
- Leader Times Q&A: Redbank Valley’s Wyatt Hetrick
- Steelers’ defense on pace for fewest sacks in 16-game season
- SEC approves looser mortgage lending guidelines
- The Leader eager for Kittanning finale
- Starkey: Century mark beckons for Ben
- Contempt citation sought by state against Highmark for alleged violation of deal with UPMC
- Pittsburgh Ballet starts 45th season with classic ‘Sleeping Beauty’