Your 8 3/4-year-old: Handling sass

Your 8 3/4-year-old: Handling sass

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Your 8-year-old now

Impudence may be copied from sassy friends or TV characters. To an extent, it's a reflection of your child standing up for himself. He's letting the world (you) know that he won't be walked all over. That's an admirable intention but the wrong approach. It's not an attitude anybody wants to live with, and the sooner it can be curbed, the better.

Don't give attitude back: no rolling your own eyes, yelling, or making fun of the 'tude. Simply let your child know it's not an acceptable way to respond to you, and you won't continue in conversation with him unless he can address you with respect.

Be careful that you're not accidentally framing commands as questions that open the door to "no" and further debate over why. ("Will you pick up that wet towel?" instead of "Hang up the wet towel, please.")

Much sassing comes from a desire to be seen as a big kid or to fit in. Be sure your child's self-esteem is being stoked in other ways. Is he lost in an older child's shadow? Craving attention because he doesn't get enough one-on-one time with parents? Make sure he has pastimes he enjoys and gets praised for.

Your life now

Active, rambunctious kids are prone to the occasional accident. If you suspect a sprained ankle, a common injury in active young kids, here's what to do: Ask whether your child can move the ankle and put weight on it without a lot of pain. If he can do so, it's less likely to be a serious sprain or broken.

Follow the RICE method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Have your child stay off of the ankle as much as possible. Immobilize the area by wrapping it in an elastic bandage. Then elevate the ankle to reduce swelling and pain. Apply ice – not heat – until your child can walk without great pain. Doctors usually recommend icing for 15 minutes, with a washcloth or some other barrier between the ice and the skin, then removing ice for 20 minutes or so before icing again.

If he's complaining about pain or you're at all concerned about a more serious injury, always call your child's doctor or visit an emergency room or walk-in clinic so it can be checked out. For more details on how to tell whether it's a strain or broken bone and how to handle it, see our articles on broken bones and sprains and strains.

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