how do I discourage 'smart mouth' in my 8 yr old daughter, conventional methods not working...

Sharon - posted on 03/23/2010 ( 25 moms have responded )

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Middle child syndrome has now turned into 'smart mouth', 'mom you're ruining my life' is the phrase of the week, every time I say no to anything, no matter how petty. Time outs & fussing don't work. I think I need some reverse psychology or something.

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Tara - posted on 03/24/2010

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Children arent going to like any restrictions we put on them, and however we put it to them they will react in wotever way they can, tantrums, shouting insults, sulking etc. BUT ignore it, dont even pay it ne attention, unless of course anything rude or abusive is said then you have to pull them up on it. We all have to remember as mothers we ARE NOT our childrens friends we are their GUIDANCE, there is plenty of time to be friends when they are grown and adult enough to make their own decisions. Until then they will try every trick in the book to hurt you, emotional blackmail, bargain with you, switch blame to you or ne1 else. Just dont rise to it, dont react to it (unless necessary) and be CONSISTENT, FAIR and most importantly CALM, they see you losing it as a weakness believe me, and it usually gives them the green light. Stand tall, be the boss, the guider, the advisor, the provider of love and care and thats all we can do. xx

Hope - posted on 03/23/2010

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My stepdaughter is nine and I too have the same problem. I have found that making her do extra chores or having her jump in place for 3 mins stops that. If I just yell, she just shrugs her shoulders. I refuse to lay a hand on her, so was forced to find other methods. Try having her do her least favorite chore. Once she realizes that she has to do that everytime she runs her mouth, she will at least keep it to herself

Rebecca - posted on 03/25/2010

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admittedly i haven't read all the replies here, but i can't see any that suggests actually talking to your daughter .... all i see is PUNISH PUNISH PUNISH --- my parents beat the crap out of me for my so called "smart mouth" and guess what, it didn't make a damn bit of difference. i felt the punishment was unjustified and the problem was that I was NOT heard --- what i hear here is that your daughter asks for something and you say no and she gets upset, what i hear here is that your are saying no to even little things, what i am hearing here is that you have created an environment of saying NO a lot of the time. i don't hear that you have a climate of discussing things in a reasonable fashion, or ONLY saying NO when necessary and only saying NO with a strong and valid reason having heard your daughter out.

you are giving your daughter NO outlet for proper self expression and discussion, and you are treating her with disrespect by not hearing her out and discussing things properly and letting her make more decisions as she gets older ... if you don't treat here with respect, don't expect respect BACK. and treating someone with respect is about MORE than providing a house, clothing, and food ... it is about having proper conversations with them, valuing their input, having the maturity yourself to change your view or change your mind, not having a knee jerk reaction and NOT punishing because they feel oppressed and haven't got the right words to articulate their feelings.

i don't even call what you describe "smart mouth" -- i wouldn't even react to my kids saying something like that, because i am not threatened by it. what she is actually saying is, even tho she doesn't have the right words is: 'you (mother dear) are a control freak, that doesn't let me make any of my own decisions and doesn't even listen to me.'

sorry if i am being harsh, but sometimes i am not so good at finding a tactful way to say something. but unlike everyone else's comments i read here, i am in favour of understanding what is driving a child's behaviour and only acting once the behaviour is understood.

if you're not prepared to understand your child then she won't be prepared to understand your decisions and accept them.

also pick your battles and only say NO if it is absolutely essential.

Zeenat - posted on 03/25/2010

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Hey, werent all of us exactly that at one point in our lives? Granted that some had verystrict boundaries set by parents and didn't just speak up, but even if we didn't say anything it doesnt mean that we didn't think it.
I think it's more important for us to be able to effectively communicate with our children as for this generation a "because I said so" just will not wash.
It may be hard for our kids to accept that while we expect them to be more responsible about chores and homework, we are still not able to gift them the responsibility to make their own decisions in matters pertaining to discipline.
WE ARE NOT THE ENEMY. We are in fact on their side, and our children need to be reassured of this situation repeatedly. We need to start repecting them now or it will affect their self-assurance, confidence and all future relationships.

Vicky - posted on 03/25/2010

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Dunno if it helps any, but a friend of mine simply took acting up 9 year old daughter to school whilst still in her pyjamas. She never mucked about in the morning after that.



As to smart mouth, yes, its about challenging authority and testing their limits. There's pretty much three tactics - just not react to it "I don't care if you hate me, I still love you, now go and brush your teeth/do your homework/ etc", the punishment model (ie, taking away priveledges etc), and there's the heart-to-heart explaining why such things are rude and hurtful.



Although only 5, rather than 9, when my son said "I hate you!" when I made him go to bed (at the same time as always, but he wanted to stay up... as usual) I simply said "OK" and turned off the lights and walked out, no kiss, no cuddle, no nighttime song. He was uttelry devestated, and balled his little eyes out. I let him stew for a few minutes and then walked in, as casual as anything, and asked what was wrong. Through sobs he said he wanted his kiss etc and I explained to him that when you hate someone, you don't want anything to do with that person, no kisses, no cuddles, no songs etc. He was terribly apologetic after that.



But my boy is a soft hearted one, and heart-to-hearts work with him. Taking away toys doesn't bother him too much.



You have to find their weakness and exploit it. Sounds horrible, but its true.

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As a middle child, I am sympathizing with your daughter. First shes at that age, second shes a middle child. Do you and her spend one on one time with her? Instead of calling her a smart mouth as her why she feels this way. And dont judge her response, simply accept it. Middle children are brillant. Acknowledge the roll she plays in your family. I guarantee that she is smart, creative and has a lot of talents.

[deleted account]

As a middle child, I am sympathizing with your daughter. First shes at that age, second shes a middle child. Do you and her spend one on one time with her? Instead of calling her a smart mouth as her why she feels this way. And dont judge her response, simply accept it. Middle children are brillant. Acknowledge the roll she plays in your family. I guarantee that she is smart, creative and has a lot of talents.

Marie - posted on 06/19/2011

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Wow, that's a lot of advice! I haven't even read them all, though. I got the "I hate you" line from my guys a few times. I shrugged and said, "You're allowed to feel your own feelings. But a better way to express it is ..." and that's where the advice on tone of voice, vocabulary, and physical expression came in. Other complaints received, "Put it in writing, and include 5 reasons explaining what you want." Usually, by the time they got to the 3rd reason, everybody had calmed down and we were able to talk and listen easily. Sometimes they were right, and sometimes I was right. Slang and smart mouth responses were short-circuited by saying, "%^%& is an empty word. Use real words for your real feelings" Hope this helps, too! God Bless!

Nicole - posted on 03/27/2010

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1 on 1 time. Just you & her. Have some fun, pick your battles. Why are you saying no? Express to her how it makes you feel when she says this to you. Ask her how she would feel if you said that to her everytime you asked her a question. It sounds like she is picking this up from school. Limit TV, limit phone time & limit the girls she is hanging out with until she can act appropriately. Let her know you are doing this because of her attitude. It will get worse when she is 15. Hang in there.

Cassie - posted on 03/26/2010

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There is no exact answer to this. You need to find what works for her. All kids go through a period where they will test the waters and see how far they can get with their mouth. Your daughter is at an age where indepence starts to show its ugly side. Maybe it would help to sit down and explain to her y you are saying no to certain things, and disscuss with her on ways you can help her be more indepent and make more of her own choices. for example if you ask her to clean her room and she just doesnt want to either explain to her why you want it done right now, or lay down some ground rules. Tell her you want her room clean x amount of time throughout the week but let her decide when she will do it. Almost all situations can be handled in this manner.. Sit down as a family and make a mission statement and have each member sign it.(look up mission statement for examples) be sure to make clear what will happen when this contract is broken and that it lets everyone in the family down when even one member is rude and direspectful. Choose ur battles wisely or the words she is saying will soon take affect. and try and be understanding that at that moment she is feeling smothered. send her to her room and after a little while when you both are calm than talk to her. Like I said what works for one may not work for another so pls understand that these are only suggestion to try. once you find a method that has even a slight effect on her stick to it. It will not stop over night but after consistantancy it will benifit the whole family. Remember to reward her when she doesnt get a mouth about something and always Remember what you are going through is normal and you are never ever alone. I have four great kids and trust me we all have atleast one kid that tries to mouth off from time to time and even those who try and get away with it more often. one thing we try is for every negative thing we say we have to give a positive. we have seen a diffrence with just that. Remember she is a good girl and just reaching out to you for one thing or another.

Kathleen - posted on 03/25/2010

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My six yr old sometimes says that I don't love him when he doesn't get what he wants-I immediately tell him I do love him very much but now is not the time for whatever he is requesting.I try to distract him from what he is asking for by showing him a picture or making a comment on something.And if he continues asking for it I say I'm very sorry but right now I can't give you that I wish I could,most of the time he understands.I think making them FEEL sorry for what they do by being nice- even though they may not be to you at the moment-rather than making the SAY sorry when they just want to get their toy back is a better way to go.You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Rebecca - posted on 03/25/2010

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@vicky: i almost agreed with your strategy until you used the words about exploiting their weakness --- how may i ask is exploiting someone's weakness a loving act?

heart to heart talks work because kids are open to real discussion and real talk about real feelings, not because you are exploiting a weakness!

Rebecca - posted on 03/25/2010

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and the fact that you use words like PETTY to describe things that are important to HER speaks volumes about your attitude.

Rosemary - posted on 03/25/2010

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My daughter does come round in the end and if very apologetic but at the time it is awful to be around. Thanks for your comments. It is re-assuring that others are struggling with similar issues.

Rosemary - posted on 03/25/2010

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I am having similar problems with my 9 yr old daughter when I asked her to come down for breakfast she shouted something from her bedroom to me in the kitchen downstairs but as I had the radio and the washing machine on I did not hear her but it was all my fault. She then refused to have anything for breakfast how bad a Mum does that make me ? When I asked her to put her shoes on as she was about to be collected for school I was told "It does not take 10 mins to put my shoes on" I just said that her lift would be here in a minute. I am currently on my period and had a dreadful morning flodding everywhere so of all the mornings I really needed her to help me and she decides to play up I am sure hormones are beginning in her. Any help would be appreciated.

Lorrie - posted on 03/24/2010

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My oldest daughter was like that when she was 7-9 years old. In fact I had left the baby monitor on one day (she shared a room with her baby brother for a month until we moved) I heard all the mean things she had to say when she was sent to her room. We had a good heart to heart and I explained how much it hurt me to hear all the mean things she said about me. I just told her how exsausted and frustrated with how much work it was with two pre-teens and a new baby with a few tears and she understood that I wasn't the mean mom she thought I was.
I wish that divorced couples would understand how much they hurt their children when they try to be there friends all the time and not the parent that they need. To this day my daughters father spoils her and always comes to the rescue when she needs something and I only see her struggle with reality. She does not realize how hard it is to actually earn every dollar and struggle for all the things we all want and need in life.
She has become a wonderful mother and daughter now that she is an adult, but I still believe that was from the three years in the National Guard!

Lorrie - posted on 03/24/2010

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I also have an eight year old daughter, she suffers from "smart mouth". My problem is that her father and I are divorced and he does everything for her. He even gets her dressed in the morning. I have talked to him several times about correcting her smart mouth. I think he forgets that he is the parent and not her friend.
A threat of grounding her from TV or computer usually works until she comes back from her dad's house again.

Margo - posted on 03/24/2010

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It is our responsibility as parents to set examples and boundaries. Your child telling you that you are ruining their life is harmless. Just grin and bear it. But if the child becomes verbally or physically abusive, that needs to end YESTERDAY! But children mimic what they see in their parents. So mom, do you bad mouth people behind their backs, do you disrespect your children, or cuss out the bill collector? Just some ideas, not accusing. We just have to set an example. I would ignore minor complaints, but if the talk is openly rude, that is when you act. Just don't micro manage your children, they need to learn when to speak up for themselves and when to behave diplomatically take thier lumps and shut up.

Jenny - posted on 03/24/2010

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i have the same problem with my eleven year old daughter she can be very rude at times ,i have tried grounding her taking away her belongings these work for a short while but then the rudeness continues at the moment i find that ignoring her or removing myself away from the situation works not completley but she stops alot quicker wish you the best of luck

Shannon - posted on 03/24/2010

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Start taking away important things from her every time she gets "smart mouthed" with you and tell her she can only have them back after she thinks about it, realizes why you had to do or say what you said as a parent and when she can properly apologize.
Do not raise your voice just let her know that her comment was inappropriate and that she loses a privilege/favorite belonging and it will continue this way until she either learns or has nothing left but the 3 basic necessities that parents need to provide, a roof, clothing (but only the necessities not the expensive things that are "in style or cool", and food. She will quickly see that you mean business and that she doesn't want to lose her favorite things (TV, IPod, Video games, Phone time, weekend time with friends...).

Hopefully this may help.

Cheryl - posted on 03/23/2010

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i have the same problem with my middle child I say cut thro, take away everything at once, thats whats working for us right now, give 3 strikes and then your out ,nothing fun no candy fun playing etc make her do work instead think of her like a teen ,let the others have fun in front of her. Dont give in your only hurting her in the long run. Be tuff Remember this is your future teen

Lisa - posted on 03/23/2010

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I was hoping for some advice for my six year old. everytime I say no he tells me that he hates me. I've tried correcting him by saying i know that you dont hate me you just hate my decision or choice. sometimes he slips but he cathches himself by the look and corrects himself. he hates the time out its only a few minutes in one spot but that is all it took.

Tina - posted on 03/23/2010

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I did not have the problem with Patrick as 'you are ruining my life". 1 time of "I hate you","you are mean" was the issue around 9. I let him know how I would be if I was mean and I hated him..He did everything for his self for 1 day. I mean there was no communitication and that was all it took. NEW child before bed time the next night. :) Now we will not talk about "smart mouth" at 14.

Dee - posted on 03/23/2010

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with our children( 6 as of now) we made them write sentences pertaining to what they said.and i also gave extra housework.i said if you have enough free time to come up with that you have time to clean.be creative.not mean.the thing they will not like most.i hated saying i was sorry when i was little.or make her write an essay or something.

Amanda - posted on 03/23/2010

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I'm having the same problem with my 8 year old. I found a paper that she had written that says she hates me and I'm the worst mom in the world. She's a big help with the other kids but she has a mouth on her when she thinks that I cant hear her. I don't know what else to do with her that doesn't involve he being grounded all the time.

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