Dear Benchmark Girl,

Can I just say something honestly and for real for a minute?

Being rude, flippant, sassy … it is JUST.NOT.CUTE.  It just isn’t. In addition, it makes people feel like crap and puts the adults in your life in a super awkward position. Let’s look at it from their perspective for a minute, shall we?

Here is a scenario I am sure you have NEVER seen before ….

You roll your eyes and ask a semi-sarcastic question, and then disregard any legitimate answer your mother attempts to give you.

Now your mom has a few options:

OPTION #1: She can ignore the entire attitude and carry on with life as usual.

*****PRO: This may avoid a fight and escalating emotions, which is often desirable for both of you.

*****CON: She fears this encourages you to continue to treat her (and potentially other adults) with similar disdain and lack of respect, she is also concerned that this will become a habit of how you treat people in general and thus push friends away as well.

OPTION #2: She can confront you about the attitude.

*****PRO: A line in the sand has been drawn; she makes it clear that this behavior is UNACCEPTABLE and WILL NOT BE TOLERATED in this house (etc. etc. etc.) So at least you both know where you stand.

*****CON: An argument likely ensues as you claim you, “didn’t do anything” or ask, “what about when you act that way?” or yell “you are being SO UNFAIR” …and she risks the two of you not talking for several hours or days.

OPTION #3: She can laugh it off due to embarrassment that her child would treat her this way (she is more likely to do this if there are other people around)

*****PRO: An uncomfortable situation and possible argument are avoided and you both live to fight another day.

*****CON: Her feelings are still hurt and she doesn’t know how to approach this with you, especially once the moment has passed. She may resent your remarks/attitude, and then be upset with you, and express it later catching you completely off-guard.

Do you see how much thought has to go into being a mom and handling life with daughters? She has to think about how to handle each moment, knowing that how she handles it will impact the future of your relationship, how you act outside her home, and in her mind …EVERYTHING.

And this doesn’t even take into account the fact that her mind is also racing with what to make for dinner, who has after school activities when, how to squeeze in a quick work-out and make sure the laundry gets done and the oil in the car changed…

So … just in case you are wondering. It isn’t cute. It isn’t appreciated. And it won’t get you anywhere you actually want to go with your mom, your friends, your teachers … or anyone.

So, in so much as your teen brain is able… try to cut it out. OR EVEN … when you realize you added a little too much sass to your most recent interaction, just apologize quickly. We (as moms) know it happens (we do it too), but the faster we can get through it – the better for everyone. (And the more likely we are to let you go out with your friends next weekend, or buy those new shoes you have been wanting… #justsaying)

We promise (pinky swear) that we will do the same for you. When we overreact, jump to conclusions too quickly, or add a little too much sass ourselves… we will apologize too – we know we are setting the example for you to follow.

xo – erin

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