How Funny Will that Sassy Attitude Be in a Few Years? {5 Ideas to Tame the Sass in Your Babes}

My Caroline is one sassy little spitfire.

She is also sweet and adorable and giggly and I couldn’t love her more. She is lovely to me.

But that sass. Her hand is just about permanently fixed on her hip, and the girl knows how to throw out some attitude. And honestly, it’s funny. She cracks my husband and I up. It’s cute now, but I’m thinking it’s not going to be so cute in a few years.

And I know this! I know that a sassy (impudent) attitude is not something I want to cultivate in my girl, and yet, I’ve let it slip in, and I’ve encouraged it.

Now please let me put something out there before I talk more about the sass; I love Caroline’s bright and lively, full-spirited personality! I will never try and tame the way God weaved her. She can have a gentle and quiet spirit and still be loud and fun, because “quiet” does not mean quiet at all, it means *tranquil (Tweet that). I want her to have a gentle and peaceful spirit, settled, content in the One who made her, vivacious her.

However, I will work towards taming the sass. I will work towards cultivating humility and kindness and gentleness in her spirit. There are no guarantees that I will be successful, but if the Holy Spirit is in her, the work is really not mine at all do; it is His. I will guide, I will correct, and I will let her see my failures and my dependance on the only One who can mold a person. With these things in mind, here are some suggestions for helping to tame the sass…

Five Ideas to Tame the Sass in Your Little One

Quit Laughing

Seriously, this sounds easy, but it’s hard. It’s hard because you’ve probably formed a habit of laughing at your babes cute sass, and it’s also hard because others probably laugh and encourage the sass (and you can’t control others). Start paying attention to how you respond to the sass, and try instead to discourage it, correcting it immediately.

Correct Immediately (gently and with a smile)

Correction sounds so harsh and un-fun, doesn’t it? And yet, sometimes that’s what we’ve got to do as parents. I remember a mentor once telling me that she tried to have more “yeses” in her children’s world’s than “nos” and I love that philosophy, and I agree with it! We could try and create an environment where we laugh and smile and encourage rather than frown and fix. With “yeses” in mind, when it comes to correcting, one way is to praise when your child acts in humble, kind, generous, respectful ways. “Oh honey, you did SUCH a good job when you spoke kindly to your daddy, I am so proud of you!” {Hugs and squeezes and affirmation.} When the sass rears it’s saucy head, you can gently bend down and say something like, “Words are for kindness and building other’s up. Let’s try and speak in kind ways.” Also, if you catch yourself speaking in a sassy way, ask your children to forgive you; let them know it’s not your ideal. One more thing, be patient with them.

Pay Attention to Your Own Sass (and the Influences Around Your Babes)

I’m pretty sure Caroline gets her sass from me {sigh}. Maybe your babes are picking up the sass from you, or a friend, or a T.V. show. Speaking of T.V., I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but most shows for kids and tweens are FULL of sass and outright disrespect for siblings and parents. We mess up a ton in our house, but the one area we are trying to be super diligent about is what is going into our children’s minds when it comes to movies and T.V. If you’re kiddos watch Disney or other seemingly innocent stations or shows, sit down with them for an episode and take note. Not cool. I highly recommend not getting sucked into the popular kid shows of our day, there influence is strong.

Memorize Scripture

Find a scripture that you can memorize with your child. Here is the one we memorized (I sing it, which helps it stick):

“Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which is precious in the sight of the Lord.” 1 Peter 3: 3-4

If you use this verse, talk to your chid about the “hidden person of the heart”. Talk about what “imperishable” and “precious” mean. Teach your children to ask God to create in them the imperishable quality of a gentle and peaceful spirit in their inner person. Remind them that it is God, through the Holy Spirit who does the work; they cannot “fix” themselves, but they can ask God and they agree with Him.

Pray For and With Your Babe

Ask God to mold your children’s spirits, and ask Him to show you specific ways you can help guide your children; ask Him for wisdom and discernment, and pray that Jesus’ voice would be louder than the enemy’s. Teach your children to pray for these things as well.

Your Turn

How have you dealt with sass in your children?

Love, SM

*From Strong’s Greek: hēsýxios (an adjective derived from hēsyxos, “quiet, stillness”) – properly, quiet (still), i.e. steady (settled) due to a divinely-inspired inner calmness. (Isn’t that lovely?!)

Sarah Mae

Sarah Mae spends her days home-making, home-educating, writing, reading, and drinking salted caramel mochas. Her family embraces life in the beautiful Amish country-side of Pennsylvania. She is the owner of the community site Allume and the co-host of the national Christian women’s social media conference.