When Your Kids Make Faces at You

Updated on July 18, 2012
I.X. asks from San Clemente, CA
18 answers

What do YOU do when your young child ( mine is 4.5) makes faces at you, sticks out tongue...... (mine does this after I give her a verbal direction or a punishment)

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So What Happened?

Thanks Robin R. I was looking for that happy medium. My daughter has a fire in her belly to begin with. I was giving her double punishments when she did this but it seemed a bit harsh. I think your idea of addressing it for what it is (disrespect) and providing an opportunity to apologize or be punished sound like the best advice to me.

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answers from Dallas on

I "pretend" not to see it and announce to the air around me "I KNOW that there is not a child behind me making disrespectful faces at me. Because I KNOW that the child KNOWS how much trouble they will get in if I see it".

If my child were to do it directly to my face, I would grab them by the shoulders, get down on their level and say sternly "That is VERY disrespectful, and I do not tolerate disrespect. You have 3 seconds to apologize to me"

To me this falls under the category of basic respect, and does need addressed!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I see I'm not the only one with a growly daughter.

I've told her that she may not like x, but that doesn't mean she gets to be disrespectful when she gets the consequence of HER actions. I usually give her the opportunity to apologize and straighten up first. If she keeps it up, I tell DD I don't play that game and if she is going to be rude to me, she can sit in time out an additional minute to think about it.

We've either ignored or pointed out the rudeness to the teens, too. Depends on how big an infraction it was. I've had my keys in my hand (before they could drive) and said, "Oh, really? Well, if that's the attitude you're going to have, it stays here. I don't waste my time for people who cannot respect me while I'm doing them a favor." and then put the keys away til I got an adjustment/apology.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Erie on

I mock them. Works better than physical punishment. This works great when they are teens, too.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I make faces back or say it is going to stick that way in a sing song voice. I never claimed to be the mature one of the family. :)

Thing that is funny though is by doing it I take the power away from the face and they lose interest quickly in doing it.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I grab my camera and take a picture or (even better) a video so they can see how it looks. I've only ever had to do it once or twice per kid -- they never do it again.

I don't make the face back because I'm trying to teach them to behave as an example -- so if a kid is mean at school, they should still treat that kid as they wish to be treated, not retaliate with the same behavior. I can't teach that lesson if I don't follow it myself.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

It really depends--
if it's a silly face, made in fun, I make one right back.

If it's a stinky face, I might either:
Ignore it. Nothing has power if you ignore it. It's a way of venting for them-- doesn't mean I have to answer.
OR--"Oh, go get a cloth wiper and look in the mirror. You have a stinky face on. Go fix it please!" (said lightly, playful parenting correction)
OR---if we've had other stinky behaviors, "Wow, it looks like you aren't feeling friendly or ready for company. Take some time in your room and don't come out until you have found your happy face."
OR, if it's wrapped up in lots of stinky behavior and I've had it, "to the room, good sir, and I will come get you when *I* am ready for your company!"

Do not give the stinky face power.:) I am a strong adult. My son knows that stinky faces will not get me to buy into a power struggle, an escalation... I do not feel my parental authority is threatened by the stinky face.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I'm with Jo - I make the face right back.

However, my 6yo has taken to growling when there is something she doesn't want to do. I don't expect blind obedience - let's just say, peer pressure is not likely to be a problem with this one - I am willing for her to ask, "why?", but once the rules are explained, I DO expect her to follow them. She doesn't have to like it, but she has to do it. "Silly" expressions of distaste are fine; actually saying "I don't like it" is fine, but no stomping, no throwing, no growling... Fine distinction, I realize even as I'm typing this. We're working on it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

The only one who intentionally makes faces at me is my middle daughter, who has Autism. It's very impulsive when she does it, and very toddler-ish. I give her The Serious Mom Look and it's usually enough to make her stop, but sometimes she'll continue and it progresses to tears and insults. I take her by the hand and bring her to a "time out" area, or quiet zone, and give her some sensory input while I talk to her about what upset her and give her a script for an appropriate response. While I "give her sensory" it not only calms her down and redirects her, but gives her a chance to focus and concentrate her thoughts to explain herself and in her own way, apologize.

She's currently 9 1/2 years old, but I did this with my other girls in a modified version (without sensory input) when they went through this phase. It's about giving them tools to express their feelings appropriately. At 4 1/2 years old, a child can't possibly automatically "know better." They still need to be taught and given a replacement behavior for the negative behavior.

You need to show them a respectful behavior to script with rather than the behavior you're trying to replace or something equally rude in return. So if your daughter makes a rude face to you, why in the world would you take someone's suggestion of "popping her in the mouth?" That's such an extreme and disrespectful measure to take for a minor offense. Returning non-violence with violence doesn't teach a child anything except that you're willing to inflict pain and corporal punishment randomly. To a child that's still learning and needs to be taught how to navigate and how to be respectful.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I told her, I was "going to take a picture. hold on let me get the camera.. "Then I would try to force her to make that face again..

If I needed a time out, I would send her to her room and ask her to look for her regular face,.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I agree with Victoria, that IS disrespectful behavior and at 4.5, it's high time to start teaching that disrespect won't be tolerated.

I'm one of those Moms that doesn't put up with disrespect AT ALL. I'm your mother, NOT your friend.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

I would discipline it. My 4 and six year old don't do it, but they were disciplined for it once or twice when they first tried it (about 3?) Kids often do that as a defense mechanism for their ego type thing. It's the same as smarting off or talking back. Like any other disrespectful habit, it's best to nip it before it's super ingrained. My three year old has been warned for it and then stopped because she knew what a second warning would mean. This book is great for that age: Back to Basics Discipline by Janet Campbell Matson.

If you know it's a disrespect thing, and not a silly thing, NEVER ignore. Never never ignore. Nip it. Unless you want it to continue.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

How do you normally discipline/punish for disrespect?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I pop them very firmly in the mouth.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

It depends what the attitude is behind it.

I have, gotten my camera or video camera out (I keep it nearby), and took photos of them.
Then, made a "list" right there, of tally marks, and logged it.
It was enough to stop them.
All the while, I am silent... while doing this.

Or, if I am in a mood myself, I make the same face right back at them, with the same remarks, the next time my kids ask me for something or for whatever they need me, for.
Then I tell them "You... were not nice to Mommy earlier. You did this same thing to me, earlier when I asked you to do something. It is not nice, is it? Think about that....before you request something of me next time. And CHOOSE how you will be, again." Then I walk away.
I also tell them: "YOU can have a nice Mommy or a strict grumpy Mommy... you choose..."

And at times, if it is a face along with an attitude... I just sit myself down. Open a magazine, tell them no... and do not do anything until, they stop it. I create a stalemate. And they realize that their face making, has no impact on me.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

The first time my kids stuck out their tongue at me, they got soap on it, they never did it again. =)



answers from Los Angeles on

Ignore and know you're making the right impact.



answers from Baton Rouge on

When my daughter stuck her tongue out at me, I told her to roll that thing back into her mouth before she tripped on it and get busy doing what I told her to do.

Soap? Oh, hell no. If you saw your child eating a bar of soap, you would take it away from them and tell them that it doesn't belong in their mouths. So why would you deliberately put it in their mouths as a punishment?



answers from Los Angeles on


Anything that comes out of the mouth that is dirty/mean, we just wash it out and make sure it's clean.

My son was 3.5 years old when he picked this up at pre-school. I told him that if he did it again, I'd wash his mouth out with soap. He did 2 weeks later. Guess what? He's NEVER done it again.

My daughter will get soap for her ear drum breakage scream, instead of using her words.

My other son will get soap for cussing. He likes calling people names, like "dumbass" so we don't tolerate that.

Soap seems to be heard much more than any other punishment or my words.

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