You, That Called My Daughter Sassy

Recently, while at the Children’s Museum, you spotted my 3-year-old daughter doing tricks on the handrail in front of me while telling me not to take my eyes off her while she climbed over and under it. As she pulled herself up time and time again, she would attempt to climb onto the kids’ cave made of wood and would stop each time I asked her to. You heard her ask “why?” multiple times, as I explained to her the dangers of climbing up there. After a few attempts, she decided to settle for not climbing up there, and while she continued to play, you leaned over so that you were in my peripheral sight and said, “she’s sassy, isn’t she?” Without taking my eyes off my daughter, I opened my mouth to respond, but Eva was off to the next toy so I walked away.

This isn’t the first time that this has happened. My wife and I have both had encounters where someone has told us our daughter was sassy. The intent seems not to align with the meaning though, as whenever I look up ‘sassy’ and ‘kids’, I’m met with hundreds of articles on how to deal with outspoken children that talk back and are out of line.

Let’s dive into this and what I seem to think about my kid’s behavior.

Exploration:
While at the Children’s Museum, my daughter tried to climb higher with each attempt because we taught her to be fearless, and even though you might get some bumps and bruises, you never give up and go as far as you can.

Attention:
My daughter insisted that I watch her every move whenever she was showing me a new trick because we taught her that she needs to ensure that her voice is heard, and that when speaking with someone, to request 100% of their attention and make sure you do the same.

Questions:

We taught her to question everything and to ask as many questions as needed, so if you see her asking me “why” five times about the same situation, it means the first answer hasn’t quite made sense and that she’s in need of more information.

Adventure:
If you see her playing with one thing then going on to another, it’s because we told her the greatest lessons and experiences come exploring, and that she should constantly be in search of new things.

If the intent of your comment was that our child was being defiant and outspoken, you’re wrong. She’s demonstrating the traits that need to be seen in a society of silence. Why not teach someone how to use their voice and exercise judgement later in life? That makes no sense.

The behavior that you noticed is driven by the same characteristics that guides our entire household. Everyone is held to the same standard, so the next time you see our child out, and her behavior leads you to make a comment, I’ll remind you of the golden rule and that if you choose to make a comment, be prepared to answer “why” multiple times.

Barry Johnson