And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Evil "8's" (or) How to Parent an Eight-Year-Old


My beloved Big Sprout is becoming a royal pain in the butt. We have had issues the last couple of years with her being snotty and rude, but I thought we had dealt with most of it.

I was evidently wrong.

Lately she has been more and more sarcastic and snotty in her attitude to everyone. I have tried everything from explaining that her behavior is hurtful to giving it right back at her and then telling her that that is how she sounds when she talks to us.

Nothing seems to be working.

I have combed parenting sites and books looking for an answer to this problem, and the general consensus seems to be "gentle but firm". Yeah, right.

I am considering some sort of punishment, but can't seem to figure out what is appropriate. Is losing TV privileges enough? How about soap in the mouth? I have never really spanked my kids (the closest I think I got was slapping Big Sprout's hands away from a hot stove), but I have been considering taking up the practice.

I don't want my child to be that nasty little brat that no one wants to talk to or have around, and right now I feel like that is who she is being. I think it is important she learn to express herself in a more constructive way. The worst part is that I don't even think she really realises she is being so mean. When I say something about it, she always acts as if she is surprised and hurt that I would say that to her. I have heard that this is part of the age she is at, but I don't think I (or anyone else, for that matter) should have to listen to it.

If any of you out there in parent-land have any pointers, I would be grateful!


Anonymous said...

As you may remember, soap in the mouth works for a while if you wear braces but doesn't work in the long run. I'm interested in learning what worked for others who've been in this situation.


Kati said...

*snort* Welcome to adolescence!!!! Wish I had some good advice, then I wouldn't be dealing with the same bit. My DD starts with a bad attitude & sassy mouth to DH & I then when we call her on it she starts yelling over HOW MEAN we are, how much she HATES being treated like a baby, and going on about how she's NOT going to do what we're telling her needs to be done (brushing teeth, showering, doing her portion of the dishes, vacuuming or cleaning her room). And periodically (about once a day) she pulls the "you treat me like such a slave". Generally when we're telling her to pick her dirty clothes up off her floor & put them in her hamper or similar activities. *shaking head*

Nope, no idea what to suggest. But if it makes you feel any better at all.... I think they're all like this at this age. I know. It doesn't REALLY help knowing your not the only one. Even seeing other moms (and dads) going through the same thing, I still look at my kid and think "But damnit, I didn't want my daughter to be one of the brats.... Just because everybody else's kid is, doesn't mean I want mine to just be part of that crowd."

In theory, they do out-grow it. Sometime around 22 or 23 years of age. Which means we've got another..... Crud. 12 or 13 years for me, 13 or 14 years for you. Best of luck!

barefoot gardener said...


Oh, what sweet memories!


Can't we just put them in a nice padded cell until the insanity passes?

Kati said...

I wish!

Wendy said...

Oh, but you can put them in a nice padded cell. The "padded cell" is called a "bedroom."

The issue is that she is being socially inappropriate, and if she is behaving in a manner that is not appropriate in a group setting, then she should be removed from the group setting. Send her to her room. If she can't be with people, let her be alone for a while.

Or give her something to do. When my ten year old starts acting snotty, I tell her "Don't be nasty." Usually followed with whatever chore needs to be done that she will end up doing alone "Go clean up your room." "Go take the clothes off the line." "Empty the dishwasher." "Feed the chickens ... and make sure they have water." "Take that bucket and pick tomatoes." The key is redirecting her energy to something positive and constructive.

My ten year old can still be plenty snotty, but at least the chores are getting done :).

Wendy said...

P.S. About the "slave" bit. If I tell my children to pick up a toy or a piece of clothing and they balk at doing so, I will let them know that it is not my item, but if I have to pick it up, I decide where it goes ... where it goes may be the trash, it could be Goodwill ... who knows? At this point, they know not to try me, because I've sent bags of assorted floor-lying items off to charity so that I didn't have to pick it up once again.

I had a hard time doing it, at first, because I spent a lot of money on that stuff. The first step was to stop spending so much money on STUFF, and once I got past that hurdle, I realized it was just stuff. If they didn't want to take care of it, it could be gone, and it wouldn't be any skin off my nose.

After they lost a couple of Polly Pockets, a few Barbie Dolls, and a couple of bags of stuffed animals, they finally got the message :).

CG said...

No more school, or other encounters with the normally socialized. And Elaine Mazlish's book, How to Talk so your Kids will Listen book.