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

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  • Laurie Rambo

    We used the “21 Rules of This House”
    They begin with we obey God. We love, honor and pray for one another. In regard to this post, rules 5 and 6 say this: “5. We speak quietly and respectfully with one another.6. We do not hurt one another with unkind words or deeds.

    These rules served my family well, and I do believe they helped shape the character of my children, who, although homeschooled, are now lovely, functional, social adults. 🙂

  • Hollie

    Wow! Timely! I JUST told my husband that my three year old sweet little girl was very sassy today. Exact words. Thanks forthe wise words and encouragement!

  • Sarah

    Wow! Words I needed to hear today. I’ve really been struggling with ways to cut this out with my daughters. Thank you!

  • angelasadventures

    Seriously?! I needed this so much today! My girl, at 2.5 years old is turning into the queen of sass! Yes, it’s cute, but it’s starting to get pretty old. Last night it was “You’re not the Mommy! I’m the Mommy!” Oh my…..
    Anyway, thank you for these tips!

  • Janice

    When my little girl was in third grade two years ago, She developed this sass out of nowhere. I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from, but finally realized she had started devouring every Junie B Jones book that was out there. We put a stop to her reading those and the sass soon subsided. She herself was able to realize that’s where it was coming from and it was a valuable lesson that what they put in their little brains in the form of literature (and media!) really DOES MATTER.

  • Emily Blaisdell

    Great timing. Working on this with our 10 year old son. Things I let slip then, aren’t so cute now. Appreciate “Pay Attention To Your Own Sass”. Yikes! Mothering is hard work. 😉

  • Angi Schneider

    I don’t comment very often but this post struck a cord with me. Most of my children are older. I have five that are 11-19 but then I also have a just about to be 4 year old. When my 4 year old says or does something sassy the older kids used to laugh. But we told them that if we don’t want her acting like that when she’s 13 then we can’t encourage it when she’s 2 (or 3). All my kids have different God given personalities, some are so loud and talkative that the dr. once used the word “motor mouth” (not in their presence and in an appropriate way) , some are so quiet that Sunday School teachers have asked if they ever talked or smiled. They have all been sassy at times. We’ve tried to live by the idea of “If it’s not going to be tolerable in the teen years, we can’t tolerate it in the toddler years.”


    PERFECT timing! My devotion today was about gentleness so I really appreciate the part you where you said that you “can have a gentle and quiet spirit and still be loud and fun because quiet does not mean quiet at all, it means tranquil.” AMEN! I need this for me because I am the sassy one. I can only train my daughters by being a better example of that gentle and quiet spirit.

  • Andrea

    THANK you for this bit! I have a two year old chuck full of goofy attitude and we try SO hard not to laugh as he finds humor in being naughty.

    Also… YES on the Disney channel!!!!! We purposefully do not have T.V. in our house. I watch the shows my niece is allowed to watch in her home. ( She is ten) These shows are FULL of bad choices, bad attitudes, bratty kids and entitlement all covered up by ten seconds of “morality” at the end.

  • Ro Manalo

    I love this post. Don’t have kids yet but I know I’ve got a lot of sass myself. Thank you for the tips.

  • Breanne Mosher

    Thanks for this. I have a babe who can be sassy and it’s funny but not. Thanks for the encouragement and I love those definitions of a quiet heart.

  • Jessica Wolstenholm

    This could not have been more perfect for me to read this week Sarah Mae. My girl {5 years old next week, yikes!} is so sassy. And it’s escalated lately. Partly due to her age and partly do to her being more aware of me {face palm}. I want so badly to cultivate a quiet and gentle spirit in her just like the Lord worked in me when I was greatly humbled after moving away to college. I just want it to develop in her much sooner. May the Holy Spirit use me to help guide her. Thank you for this wonderful insight. Truly timely. Blessings!

  • Missindeedy

    Girl, did I ever NEED this! My just-turned-five but really going-on-13 year old daughter is getting sassier by the minute. And I have to admit that when I read #3 up there, I cringed. In recognition. I love how you laid this out simply and lovingly. This was definitely “a word” said in love and necessary for my ears!

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