WHAT-EVER!! Ideas for responding to sass with class

What-EVER! (with an eye roll)

You’ve seen it a hundred, maybe even a thousand times. Your child doesn’t like what you’ve said and responds with a head tilt, and eye roll, and the grand pronouncement, “What-EVER!!!!”

What do you do when this happens? The tendency is to shut it down, NOW!  But your angry response communicates to your child that she is in control of your emotions. This gives her the “powerjolt” she needs to pull this behavior out again the next time she’s frustrated with you.

In this Q & A, Jim and Lynne take 7 minutes to respond to this question from a mom who is tired of her 8-year-old daughter’s sass. You’ll hear some quick pointers for how to respond with grace while keeping a child accountable for better behavior.

LISTEN HERE

As you respond, you’ll learn to communicate:

  1. You’re SAFE with me: Stay calm as you take a deep breath. Your kids are not your report card.
  2. You are LOVED even if you sass: Express empathy. “This is really hard, isn’t it? If it’s hard for me, I’m sure it’s hard for you.”
  3. You are CAPABLE: Ask a question. “You don’t like how this is going. What would be a better way?”

We hope as you listen to this audio you are encouraged in your parenting!  As you learn to follow these three steps to decrease the “sass-level” in your house, take joy in the small victories.  We are here to help you in any way we can as you seek to grow your connected family.


Frustrated by constant discipline challenges? Take 15 minutes to read our free ebook 4 Messages All Children Long to Hear: A Discipline That Connects Overview.

Responding with Compassion When Kids Don’t Make the Grade

Do you have a teen or pre-teen that is tough to motivate regarding school? Perhaps this scene seems familiar: Your daughter is consistently behind with schoolwork and does the minimal amount to keep adults off her back. When she does complete assignments they are disorganized and sloppy. You do your best to encourage her and she snaps back, “I don’t care about school! It’s stupid and useless. If you’d just stop nagging me I’d be fine!’

So you prepare yourself for battle and hope for the best. Something inside of you knows there is a better way, but you’re just not sure how to get there. You desire for your child to ultimately take responsibility for her life and pray your relationship isn’t damaged by the conflict.

There is hope! As a parent coach, working primarily with parents of teens, I’ve seen many parents find success, and I’d like to help you find it too. It helps to understand the cycle that often happens:

Fighting For Love – Even What It’s Hard

Valentine’s Day and anniversaries are often viewed as a barometer for our romantic relationship. But it’s NOT roses and romance a couple days a year that define a relationship — it’s the deep commitment to fight for connection no matter what.

— ROUND 1 —

Jim’s and my 25th anniversary evening was an adventure to say the least. Jim planned a boat outing on a nearby lake, and packed sumptuous hors’ d’oeuvres. I had composed a song about the joy of our journey and would surprise him when the mood was right. As we hit the lake the wind kicked up and was soon blowing 40 MPH! This hampered our ability to freely cruise the shoreline, so we headed for the protected side of an island and made a wonderful campfire.

Our top 5 posts of 2017

Every day, the staff of Connected Families goes to work, seeking the wisdom of God, and shaping our resources to fit what we think our readers, parents like you, need most. We spend hours writing, editing, and discussing our content, making sure we do our best to communicate God’s grace and truth for families. At the end of the day, we hear from you through comments on our social media feeds, or through email responses, but we don’t know for sure what lands most until the end of the year when we take a look at our stats.

What did parents of 2017 find most relevant for their family? What parenting resources were they frequently seeking out on the internet? The algorithms have been crunched, and below are the top five blog posts clicked most often in 2017 in descending order. Which one resonates most for you? We’d love to hear!

And then, share your favorite article with your friends or parenting groups you are part of! Our marketing dollars are limited, and word of mouth is simply the best!

5. Six Practical Tips to Tame Your Temper

4. Intense Kids: The Essential First Step in Responding to Big Emotions

3. Helping Kids with their Anger: A creative activity to reduce outbursts and prepare kids for healthy relationships

2. Should We Demand Immediate Obedience?

1.  Are You An Emotionally Safe Parent?

Old vs. New, Don’t vs. Do

How the birth of Jesus breathes new life into parenting

Do you have a bunch of rules for your kids? No hitting. No whining. No screens before homework is done. No messes in the living room. Having rules provides structure, and some basic ones are essential.

When your kids struggle with obeying the rules, do you ever try to regain control by making more rules or making the penalties for breaking them harsher? And even though your intentions may be good, do your kids get more resentful and rebellious? We’ve often heard parents say things like, “It doesn’t matter what I take away; this kid is just defiant!”

Family Gatherings

Who's in Charge?

Large family holiday gatherings can be tough for lots of reasons. Over-stimulated, over-sugared,  over-excited and under-slept kids are simply going to struggle. But there may also be some relational dynamics that complicate things when you all get together. See if you relate to this pattern:

  1. You feel anxious around the watchful, possibly critical eye of parents or other relatives.
  2. You work harder to keep kids in line and are tougher on them than usual.
  3. Your kids (who are already extra stressed) sense your angst and act up more.
  4. Gramma or Grampa (or others) intervene to keep youngsters in line, with good intentions but unhelpful strategies.
  5. You feel embarrassed, undermined, and maybe frustrated or resentful.
  6. Kids watch the power struggle between the adults and are left feeling more stressed and insecure than ever.
  7. Repeat.

Is the holiday stew smelling rotten yet? If so, this post is for you.

What do I do when my child just says no?

Recently we received this question from Michelle:

I am struggling with a tween who often says no to my requests. She is a good girl most of the time, but she will be disrespectful to me, and I have no idea what appropriate/related consequences to give her when she tells me “no,” and then in essence dismisses me by looking back down at her book, ipod, etc.

I try to remain calm, but when I tell her this is a warning, and that she will have a consequence for not obeying, she will look at me and ask what it is. And normally say, “Oh well, no big deal,” and still not obey me. I also realize that hormones are playing a part in her behavior, but she cannot say no to me when I ask her to do something. HELP!!! Normally she will apologize later that night when we are praying together, but she still didn’t do whatever I asked.

Jim’s response:
It’s so great that after an encounter like that your daughter will apologize and pray with you. It shows that she respects you and feels remorse for what she’s done. This is actually rather uncommon, and you can feel grateful for this – even affirm it in your daughter.

Why “Stop it!” Doesn’t Work

How to gain perspective and a plan

I’d HAD it! I was sick of this aggravating behavior, day after day. I stopped in my tracks, glared at the little one who was driving me crazy, and yelled at the top of my lungs, STOP IT!!

Do you relate to this? Has this happened in your home? It happened in ours.

But this wasn’t an incident from my early parenting of three crazy kids, it was this spring, and the little offender was a red winged black bird.

Seriously. I screamed at… a BIRD.

How to Break the Cycle of Crabbiness and Negativity

“I’m bored. No one wants to play with me. I hate my classes and that teacher. I’m no good at anything! Everything is just dumb!”

Sound familiar?

Kids can be pretty good at complaining and crabbing their way to get parents’ attention. And to make matters worse (if you’re anything like I was as a young parent), parents’ well-intended responses often upset kids more, and the snowball of negativity keeps on growing. Like this:

6 Survival Tips for Parents of Teens

In our work coaching hundreds of parents of tweens and teens over the years, we’ve uncovered six common themes that leave teens feeling a little more encouraged and willing to respect their parents. (And, if you’re a parent of a tween or teen, we’ll be featured Saturday, Sep 23 on the FREE online Parenting Teens Summit!)

1. When your teen challenges you, don’t fight them. LISTEN!

This is NOT about giving in or being a doormat. It is more about incorporating listening and affirming as part of your process in guiding them. To do this requires stopping, taking a breath, maybe even uttering a short prayer when challenged: “Lord, help me reflect your grace and truth here.” You’ll gain far more respect and authority in your child’s eyes by this approach than by forcing your agenda on them. Kids that really feel listened to gradually learn to listen to others.