My 4-year-old has been sassy...advice?

Need some help from veteran moms or mommas who have dealt with this before. My daughter is 4, turning 5 next month. Lately she has been so sassy and combative. I caught her coloring on her baby doll and told her to stop or I’d take it away. Her response “you didn’t buy this baby so I can do what I want.” Fair, the doll was a Christmas gift but the response is uncalled for. My husband told her to stop jumping on the couch. Her response “you didnt buy this couch, mom did.” Well, no. Mommy and daddies money is the same but whatever. Its just becoming a daily thing and I dont know how to fix it. We take her tv time away, we take stickers off her behavior chart, we make her write sentences. Nothing is working and I dont want to raise a disrespectful child but I’m at a loss at what to do.


Pop her in the mouth. I did it to my daughter. Hurt her feelings and she never did it again. (I didn’t hit her hard, just enough to get her attention and hurt her feelings.)

At that age it’s definitely normal for her to be testing you. Every child is different, but what works for me kids is “earning” rewards. So after daycare they can’t play or use any device until they help with two chores (of their choosing) it helped my 4 year old daughters as she enjoys the responsibility. You could try that or I’m a huge fan of time outs. 1 minute per year of age.

Doesn’t matter who bought what. If she can’t play with things properly then she can’t play with them at all. No exceptions. You have to be consistent.
And you must never speak t others so disrespectfully

:rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl: welcome to 4!!!

Teach her better respect also explain to her how someone feels how she treats her things someone else backing you would help and of course my response would be if that’s how you’ll use it you won’t have it

What shows is she watching? Way back my son said , never and laughed…it was Captain Hook. So that saying was for playing pirates.

I think this is common. I talk to my girl about being nice and consequences. I also do a timeout until she can be kind and say sorry. The consequence is usually no tv time or something like that. She always feels bad after thinking about it. Then we hug. They are still learning how to deal and navigate with their emotions. Sometimes the sassy is something they learned from someone at school and so I also ask about her days at school. One day someone was mean to my daughter and she was very sad and just repeating it because that is how she was dealing with it until we talked.

A couple of things:

  1. No means “NO!”
  2. Child earns screen time
  3. Have consequences, state consequences, and follow thru with consequences…and one I forgot that is similar to #2:
  4. “Work” before play. Work could be homework, picking up toys, piano lessons, exercise, washing dishes, etc or things like I did growing up like milking the cow before getting on the bus…true story! Another thing about getting your children to work is SHUT OFF the TV and do some work yourself so you’re a good example. A rule that helped us as well is “no cell phones between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.” I will attest to this: NOTHING good happens after 7 on electronics. They should be getting out their clothes for the next day, brushing their teeth, bathing, and be ready for you to read to them if age appropriate. Otherwise, they should have a book they’ve chosen on their own to read.

Tell them no jumping…set rules in place on what your supposed to do. Time outs, talk with them, and have extra chores. Just have to keep doing it. She’ll get the point when you don’t back down.

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Consistency and consequences for rules breaking and crossing boundaries. She pushing back age appropriately and that’s great for her learning. Just keep on with the discipline and punishment so she learns that when she breaks rules or boundaries that there will be consequences whether it’s loss of a toy, a time out, etc.

Congratulations on the next 13 years of your life.


It’s just the age lol and it doesn’t seem to go away :rofl:


When you tell her to stop doing something, give her the reason why and a safe alternative. “Don’t draw on your baby doll, not everything is safe to draw on or with and that means we may have to throw her away. Instead, here’s your coloring book/ notebook you can draw in with your baby doll” “don’t jump on the couch, it can break the springs/ pieces in the couch and we’ll have to buy a new one/ sit on a broken couch because we can’t buy a new one. Instead why don’t you go outside with xx toy and get all that energy out”
Sometimes as adults and parents we focus too much on the “Do as I say because I say”, but children are people too and a lot of times we want to know WHY. Why can’t we do the thing we want to do? Why is your word more important than mine? By explaining your reasons behind why you say things, you’re telling your child why it’s important they listen to you. And it helps with their decision making skills. Some kids also do better with choices. “Don’t jump on the couch because that will break it, instead you can go outside to run around or you can go into your room/ playroom to play”. My nephew responds better to choices, my son responds better to explaining your reasons.


Congratulations :clap:you made it through the terrible 2s, the tyrannical 3s, welcome to F.U. 4s

I’m old school and believe in a old fashioned butt whooping when needed… when I was growing up if I was to do that I would have gotten a few pops on the behind and once I was done crying I was sat down for a eye level conversation explaining why talking to an adult like that is not acceptable and very disrespectful not only to the parents but also to the home, and valuables in the home rather that be furniture or toys and it doesn’t matter who bought or gave said items!

My mom’s pop on the mouth fix my problem


Stop negotiating or justifying. Start parenting. The purchaser or owner of the item is not relevant. Mom\Dad said so is all the kid needs to know.

And get ready now, sounds like this kid will try to play their parents off against each other. If you ask mom and don’t like the answer so you ask dad means mom’s answer stands and you get a time out for trying to get around the answer you didn’t like. Have a chat with dad, get on the same page and together show the child.

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I wouldn’t even engage in that discussion. She can sit in her room alone until she’s talking nicely.

The way I handle it is: “please try that again in a nicer voice”, or I can’t hear what you need until
You are kind” or “try saying that again” however it works, just be consistent and don’t give rewards/snacks/ treats until they say whatever it is nicely.


A good smack on the mouth will stop it. If you dont get a hold of it now it will get much worse.


I will have thrown all her crayons and the doll away immediately.
The next time she responds to you in a similar way put her in her place and tap her on her mouth


A warning, do it again and a spanking to her bottom. Think what she will be like @ 16 years old!!

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It’s normal for sass at that age but it’s also normal for you to get a handle on it young, because it gets worse. The fact that you answered ‘fair’ to her saying you didn’t buy it makes me think she is the boss, it doesn’t matter who bought something, she doesn’t get to do it, so take it away, stop her from jumping, until SHE pays for it she doesn’t get to destroy it.

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Personally I would have taken the colouring items and the doll, want to jump on the couch? You don’t get to use the couch, my friends children used to jump on my couch so they had to sit on the floor until they figured out it was for sitting not jumping. Also making a 4yro write sentences… are you mad? She’s 4 and I can tell you that writing sentences, the bible or the dictionary out, doesn’t make a child listen or respect you.

I think if you ignore what she says she will get fed up with saying it, especially if she gets no response, she must have heard someone sat it, perhaps on TV.

Stop it now or you will regret it later


Have her tested by a phystrcist/behavioral therapist. It could be a chemical imbalance in her brain. Do this ASAP with her attending school soon they won’t tolerate this behavior. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Good luck.

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You have to be consistent, the moment she colored on her doll , no more colors. Jumping on the couch, no more couch till you can sit. Kids crave consistency and boundaries. It doesn’t matter who buys what, tell her she didn’t buy anything and needs to be respectful of her things and yours as well. It’s tough as it’s the age they definitely get daddy and test. You have to be on it and make sure she understands talking to you that way is not ok. I have a daycare if a child jumps on the couch, we come off and can go back on when we’re ready to sit on our bum. If they color on themselves or anything intentionally that’s not paper then no more markets. If they rip a book then we learn how we be gentle with books and can’t look at them without me with them…just stay consistent and ding show fear :rofl::sweat_smile: your the adult and she will learn that and will listen , the key is stopping the attitude right away. I feel kids that are on YouTube or screen time are worse with the sass…good luck :crossed_fingers:


IMO: Kids today have not been spanked and it shows. Everyone is afraid to discipline the kid because this is a soft weiner generation caught up in being afraid of child welfare and other peoples oppinions. I have 10 kids and not one is like this when they try it they get put in their place . Theres a difference between discipline and abuse learn it


She’s 4. You just keep telling her until it sinks in

When u get a good answer, please tag me I have a sassy 6 yr old. The comment’s that come out are so sarcastic you’d think she’s a teen.

Girls are sassy it’s just the beginning… you can teach her as she’s older to not be disrespectful but the sassiness will remain


Shes juat repeating behavior she hears.

What I have learned having 3 daughters is that they all go thru times in the young age seeing what buttons she can push and what she can get away with. Just stand your ground. don’t make threats that u don’t follow thru. If u tell her that you will take away her doll if she does it again. Make sure you do. If she keeps jumping on the couch let her know that if she keeps doing it she can’t sit on it anymore cz mommy and daddy work very hard to have things in the house and YOU deserve a couch that isn’t broken. I had the hardest time w my youngest (she is now 9) she thought she was allowed to do and say things that her older sisters did and say. Not sure how this worked but I would tell her to “take her attitude (sass) and stomp it into the ground” if she didn’t stop she needed to go to her room cz nobody here needed it. My girls are now 19,16,9 and they have grown out of it. Hope it helps.

Explain that it doesn’t matter who bought it, respect your belongings and other people’s belongings whether at home or not.

Take all technology away until her attitude can improve. She is hearing or seeing that type of behaviour and mimicking it.
When she has no respect towards her toys ect TAKE THEM AWAY.
You are the parents not her.
Send her for time-out stick to your boundaries stay firm and strong.

A couple things come to mind…
You can point out that just because you didn’t pay for the item doesn’t erase the fact that you’re her parent and that she’s doing something (wrong) that you aren’t okay with. Let her know you aren’t replacing things when she wants new ones.
You could also use her own words to teach her. She didn’t buy the items that she’s destroying either, so :woman_shrugging:t3:
Also she sounds like she’s overhearing and being involved in grown folks business… and then using that information to be sassy. Try to make sure when adult conversations are had that little ears aren’t able to hear. :ear:t3:

Are there any other concerns with your Daughter…

Not saying its this, just offering advice but pda (pathological demand avoidance) its a type of Autism and presents in a different way to typical Autistic traits…

Girls can appear sassy, doesn’t deal well with being given demands… It can look like bad behaviour but underneath it, they’re extremely anxious and demands can make them angry, aggressive, argumentative, rude…
The way i look at it is its like a panic attack for them…

As i said I’m not saying its that but maybe read up on it and see if anything resonates with you…

My hubby says whoop her, I say that she’s smart and needs to be talked to directly face to face but stopped immediately in her tracks. Your face should stop her in her tracks. Tell her about consequences and things other parents do to their kids. Have a time out spot. Stay consistent and keep Dad on the same level. My hubby use to have to kneel on rice and get smacked around. I was not smacked around and I raised two young men on my own and I never spanked them. It’s the child sometimes spanking works and sometimes just talking to them n helping them understand what you says goes. If you treat them with respect they will be respectful. Sassy could come from being around sassy too.

Swat her across her bottom


I think she doesn’t understand value of anything. She have been told “it’s not yours so don’t do it”. If you make her understand that if this couch get broken then we wouldn’t have couch to sit on, or if doll get broken then she wouldn’t have doll to play and next time santa wouldn’t give her doll because she couldn’t take care of it. She have to understand value

“I don’t care who bought this couch, stop jumping on it or (insert punishment here).” Then follow through with it.


She’s hearing that somewhere, a child of that age isn’t coming up with that in her own, with that being said, idgaf who bought it, it’s my house, it’s my rules and now you no longer have this baby doll and keep it up and you won’t have anymore ever


I would have taken that baby doll. And the crayons.
I wouldn’t take stickers off behavior chart bc she earned those.
I would also put her in her place with the money thing n tell her she is yours and she will do what you say. And if she doesn’t want to listen there will be consequences.
I remember 1 day my daughter refused t9 clean up her toys. So I told her I was going to black bag it. (Big garbage bag) she didn’t think i would. Well, I sure did. Sometimes you have to do something drastic to get their attention. And make them know u mean business.


She’s wanting attention. Whether it’s positive or negative. Try rewarding positive behavior as much as you can and try to ignore the bad behavior.

It doesn’t matter where she learnt it. That wasn’t in the post.
She is testing you need to be firm. If she jumps on the lounge she sits on the floor until she can respect it let her know household furniture is both mum and dad’s. Colors a doll don’t clean it make her, use the exact same words I didn’t buy it. Turn her words against her if she wants something ask her where her money is, let her know if she doesn’t respect things why would you buy them for her. She sounds like a smart little cookie that is testing your boundaries. Good luck

Positive reinforcement. Taking everything away and threatening her toys will make it worse.

You didn’t buy her so you can slap her bottom

My question is why a 4 yr old is so obsessed with money.


Pop her one good time on the butt and she will most likely straighten out. And you soft parents don’t come for me. Im not saying take a belt to the little girl. Im saying pop her hard enough (ON THE BUTT )that she will remember it for next time.

I know I’m immature because I’d be telling her she didn’t buy a damn thing so I don’t know why she’s all worried about who bought what. Then take whatever until it’s respected. No couch until you can respect it. No dolls or colors until you can respect it. Be consistent with it.

she learned the behavior from somewhere, who else is she around?

They’re toddlers. They’re gunna be mouthy and act out. :roll_eyes:

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What’s the difference between a mom and a momma?

Laugh at her and keep it pushing

Sounds like a typical 4 yr old to me🤔

I agree pop her. Also at the store she wants a snack or a candy bar… sorry mommies money don’t buy candy bars.

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My daughter stuck her tongue out at me ONE TIME. I swatted her mouth and she never did it again. She is 19 now and remembers that day and has never done it again. Now I’m not saying go beat your kid. Save that for when she is 14 lol


Has she got siblings?
Start showing them you value the nice way they play, follow rules, don’t give backchat - and reward them.

Catch them “being nice” & reward them.

Chances are that Miss Four will get perturbed at being left out, and elect to change behavior.

If she persists, scratch the surface a little more. Explain we don’t usually talk about people’s money, or who bought what, for a start.

Additionally, “I am your mother, you are my child, and I’ve told you the expectation is that you follow rules. If you don’t want to follow those rules, that’s alright, here’s your doll and your coloring supplies. But I will be removing other (high value) things, since you have chosen not to follow the rules. (TV, IPad, whatever The Thing of the moment is.)

These allow her the sense of control and independence youngsters seek - but gives her clear choices which fall inside your parameters.

Like ok you can’t work with not coloring the doll? Okay, I’ll meet you where you are on that; but I’m eliminating this stuff.

She can choose to follow or not follow the rules, but coloring the doll is going to get old quick. And she doesn’t get a replacement. At least… not right away. (Maybe if she asks for one at her bday or something. )

Obviously she hears that and is repeating.

Buy a helmet and buckle in sis cos they get worse.

It would be I don’t care u didn’t buy it either so get yo ass off the couch

My son pulled the money thing but slightly different. I would tell him not to run and flip and jump onto the couch from across the room, not to leave his toys lay because when they get broken I’m not fixing it and not listening to him complain. He would say so what it’s only money. And his birthday was coming up and he gets roughly $30 a year from various friends and family so I decided it’s only money and had it all made I to singles. I hung up each dollar and Everytime he misbehaved I took a dollar. After two days he had nothing left. He was livid. I said who cares it’s only money and since you don’t respect my stuff with my money I will use yours to replace it. And he eventually earned some of his money back and bought something, well he broke something awhile later so I grabbed his newest most fav toy and “broke” it. He thought that was unfair. And we went through I don’t have to listen to you, you’re just a mom phase and I’m smarter than you phase. Children are mind games if you do it right. Reasoning, taking stuff away means nothing Becomes they know you will cave and give it back. One time my kid headbutted me because he didn’t want to pick up his toys and told me to get up and do it myself. So I did. I grabbed two garbage bags and grabbed everything I could find in the entire house that wasn’t in it’s designated spot and he laughed and said I’ll help and started giving me his toys thinking it was a joke. We filled two 30 gallon bags from toys to even his fav shirt that he didn’t put in the hamper and I walked the bags out to the garbage truck that was coming down the road and they went in. We lost a lot of stuff that day…well he lost a lot. He never left a toy out like that again. Kids know they can get under your skin, throw a fit be annoying you will give in and give what they want. My son is now 10 and for the most part perfect with picking up toys, mostly respectful attitude (unless football is on, but I think that’s a guy thing), helps the best he can but he does have days where he starts with the tude ans I belly up to him abd remind him its fine to be mad or whatever but it’s never okay to disrespect anybody and even the badest gangsters respect their mommas and run home when they need somebody and he better watch himself. And he comes back around. But at 10 he is as tall as me (5’3") and weighs half of what I do. I’ve been parenting him on my own since he was 9 months and he is autistic but very high functioning and intelligent so he likes to think he can outsmart and I don’t play that game. My son when he was 4 didn’t have TV time or tablets or gaming systems. When he was 8 he was able to have his own TV time slot and still no gaming systems or tablets.

As soon as my daughter started kindergarten at 5 years old she has been a nightmare telling me how kids in her class scream at the teacher. Tell the teachers no, and flip up their middle fingers at each other. She learned about sticking up middle fingers and it meaning the f word, from school. I get they’re gonna learn things at school from other kids but my child has never been so disrespectful in her life. Honestly I blame crappy parents and crappy parenting because parents aren’t teaching/disciplining their kids properly or at all. Smh I’m over it and won’t be allowing my child to act that way.

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You have to put her in her place. When she says those things, you have to tell her it’s not okay for her to respond to you or anyone that way. Keep reinforcing the idea that it’s not okay. My daughter did that and I put a quick stop to it and she stopped.


. If she jumps on the couch- no getting to sit on it till she can use it properly
. If she draws on things then, no colouring in for a few days
. If she talks back, time out.

Having fire is good it means she would be a leader so there is a balance between letting her have a voice and her being disrespectful. Just choose your battles as well.


:rofl: It only gets worse lol. Consistency and consequences are important. I would’ve taken the dolls and crayons away for day if her attitude changes then allow it back with clear rules ‘do not colour anything unless it’s on paper’ etc if the attitude carried on I take away screen time


You need a “time out chair” and learn to use it. Do not cave in, an, add time for screaming or tantrums. Sorry Mom it goes with the territory

Where is a 4 year old learning that she can do what she wants? And why do you think it’s fair if you didn’t buy what she is destroying? She needs an old fashioned punishment ! And never reason with that type of bad response by a child!

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If you want respectful behaviour you need to first model what respect looks like. Time outs, taking things away, etc, are all not respectful. It sounds like she’s looking for more control in her life. She probably hears too many “no’s”, so find the yes…. Why can’t she colour on her doll? It’s her doll, let her do what she wants with it. If she is jumping on the couch, give her an outlet like outdoor play, or get her a trampoline. It’s triggering to hear her say “it’s mine, I can do what I want” but it’s also a great quality to have. When our children are adults we want them to question everything, and to have their own voice, but in order for that to happen, we need to allow them the opportunity to do so while they are growing.

Try to get it under control now. Before you know it, you’ll have an out of control disrespectful teen. Consequences for her actions for sure!

It only gets worse stay consistent. take things away immediately. Soon as it happens. I would have taken the crayons and baby . And make a point we only color in books and paper . What I do with my youngest crayons markers and stuff like that we keep out of her reach . When she wants to color we bring it down . We let her know only in coloring book or paper or we take them . If she jumps on furniture she gets one warning if she doesn’t stop she comes off . Consistency is the key . We also have talks with her that it’s not nice to talk back. Sometimes it’s a daily thing with her . Mine is 5 and she is very sassy :tipping_hand_woman: at times . But she’s getting better cause I stay consistent. Time out is a good thing to do also designate an area for her she has to sit . We do a minute for each year of her age . She’s 5 so she sits 5 minutes . And every time she gets up or talks we start over . Until she sits still for full 5 minutes. Every time she acts up . She gets time out and it works also . But if you don’t react every time she does something it will set you back . Always be firm also . Kids these age are very testing, they test their limits . good luck :four_leaf_clover:

They call it the effing fours for a reason. But consistency is key.

F!!! That!!! Dad needs to snatch her Lil butt up and give her a talking too you don’t talk to you parents like that!!!

Time out……5 mins in the time out spot every single time. After the 5 mins get down to her level look her in the eyes explain why she’s on time out and why she can’t do whatever it was then give hugs and kisses and start again. Do not engage with your child at all when she’s in time out tell her no talking that you will talk when time is up no toys in time out no tv no electronics. This needs to be swift immediately and constant she back talks boom time out no if and or buts about it. Tell her this so she knows what’s gonna happen but follow through every time or don’t tell her you are going to!