Well i'm here again! I hope you ladies can help me as you have done in the past!
DD1 is now 5yo, 6 in 6 weeks.
She is pretty amazing - very intelligent, very verbose, funny, fun and usually pretty wonderful. Recently though she's been back-chatting a LOT, and been really quite disrespectful.
We (OH and I) mainly raise her, but she does also see a lot of XP (her bio dad) and he has her overnight once a week and sees her twice midweek. We're a really cohesive family (DD1 calls OH "daddy" and DD2 calls XP "uncle" - he's over for dinner twice a week, we spend a lot of very civil time together) so there's no particular tensions surrounding that BUT XP's style is less respectful than ours, he does tend to name-call, in a joking way, but still, she's 5 and identifies when "joking" is appropriate and when it isn't poorly.
To give a few examples - every request is met with a stream of backchat:
Me: okay, your teeth are done, wait a minute while i do your sister's and we can go to bed...
DD1: (opens the door - DD2 (20months) tries to leave)
Me: DD i asked you to wait, close the door please.
DD1: (very "attitude" tone) well you say "don't open the door" but i wanted to go out, and my teddy is out there, and anyway i don't WANT to wait here, and... (at this point i cut her off and said i didn't want to hear more, and she started again to deride and i raised my voice a little and said "not one more word" - i don't feel great about that as a response, but i really didn't appreciate being spoken to like i was crap and i guess that's the ugly truth of how i automatically deal with it.)
Or in a pizzeria:
Me: DD what do you want? Just the normal?
Me: ok, do you want garlic?
DD1: No Mama, you tool! I only want pepperoni!
(i will admit at the point she called me a tool i said "did you just SAY that out loud to me!" in horror and she immediately apologised - the "tool" thing is one of XP's and he has since agreed to not use it and discourage her from using it, but he still will say she's a spanner etc. I don't love it but i can't control him. Plus to be honest it's the tone of derision that i don't like, more than what she's saying).
She's had a big growth spurt recently, and has had a few problems with another girl at school, and has been otherwise VERY loving with me (to the point of being jealous of her sister at times). I do think some of this is developmental, some hormonal, and some because with starting school she's grappling with totally new challenges.
I feel bad for her - just now i'm being stern and telling her it's not going to get her anywhere to speak to me like that, but i really think there's a better way to deal with this than punishment and i just don't know what it is. I wouldn't have dared to speak with disrespect to my own (gentle) parents, nor would OH. XP did a LOT of backchatting and was punished (physically) for it profusely which made no difference, and he always likes the last word even now, but he's also hard to give the last word to - if you let him have it he just keeps escalating until he gets another reaction, he finds it hard to let things go. We all want to help DD to control the feelings of wanting to hurt with words, and also for her to not feel so frustrated that she feels that way in the first place.