Ask Kim lashes out against teen sass

Page 2 Advice
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Dear Kim,

I have a young teenage daughter who has become quite sassy when asked to do simple household chores.  I feel like we’re arguing over simple requests and it’s really bothering me.  What can I do to help us get over this sassy hump?

Anonymous

Topeka

Dear Anonymous,

Anyone who thinks the terrible twos are bad, hasn’t raised a teenager!  Sass takes on a different dynamic when coming out of the mouth of a youngster who should know better.  When they’re little, it’s all about testing limits.  Children are learning what they can and can’t get away with doing.  You’d think by the time they are a teen; the battle should be over.  Brace yourself my friend.  That limit testing is about to grow exponentially.

Seriously though, for whatever reason, it seems some lessons need to be re-learned.  Sassy or rude behavior in children, turns into rude behavior by adults.   It’s up to you as the parent to make sure your teen understands the boundaries. 

Probably the hardest part of the situation (at least for me), was not letting the kid drag you into a debate.  There’s really no debate.  You’re the parent.  I remember a trip to summer camp as a teen.  The camp advisor was very clear about expectations.  He said he would “ask” us to do something once.  He would “tell” us to do something if he had to make a second request.  The “third” time the topic had to be addressed, we were out of there.  That was clear to all of us.  We had to do what was asked if we wanted to stay.

As parents, we sometimes overlook our kid’s bad behavior.  Not everything is worth fussing over.  However, the lesson for us – this isn’t in anyone’s best interest.  Set clear boundaries, don’t let them drag you into an argument and follow through with a consequence if necessary.  You’ll both be much happier.

Good luck!

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