Says my 5 year old with his hand on his hip. Quite frequently actually.
How would you address this?
"It's a good thing, or you wouldn't be getting paid this week."
Humor and a reminder that I am the parent and thus responsible for them is what we did. My favorite is actually "You can't tell me what to do!" Well, um... actually we can. We try to be respectful, but there comes a time (say 10:30 pm on a school night) where I am going to tell you to stop reading and go to sleep, since you clearly can't self regulate this behavior yet.
Well, you are not, that's the truth. My response would very much depend on the situation. If I am ready to give up as much control over my child as possible but still to keep her safe and healthy, most of the time I would answer "No, I am not. Do you have any other suggestions?" I am quite sure that after implementing this strategy, in situations where I am not ready to discuss my ideas, my child would be much more willing to cooperate. If that is not the case, being patient with explanations and avoiding things like "Because I said so.", "Because I am your parent.", etc would really help. I am sure, humor is not the way I would chose. I think it is not fun for those kids (I have 6yrs old and 4yrs old at home) and they want us to take them seriously. There is also danger that we slip from light humor to irony or sarcasm and this is what small kids don't understand at all.
I'm getting this a lot lately, as well as "I gotta do what I gotta do!" For example - "It's not dinner time and you can't make me wash my hands and I never want to eat again!"
I usually give him some agreement followed by limitations:
"You're mostly right - I'm NOT in charge of whether or not you eat, or drink or pee or sleep or choose to play with planes instead of trains, am !? Who is in charge of those things?"
and he loves saying "I AM!" and then I say
"That's right. But Daddy and I are the bosses of what is safe and healthy for you, and washing hands is one of our mealtime rules. If you don't want to eat right now, you don't have to, but when you are hungry, let me know and I'll help you wash your hands then."
Then I quickly change the subject and get dinner on the table anyway, trying to control my extreme frustration that dinner is cooling and we may be heading to a low blood sugar tantrum.
"I AM your boss. God says and the law says. I love you and everything I instruct you to do is to help you learn what is right and become a more loving and thoughtful person. You can choose to obey, or you can choose X consequence. If you choose to continue not obeying you will lose X for tomorrow as well."
My Aspergian child is the only one who is "mouthy" (so far). For her, logic and directness are the only ways to get her back on track. No long drawn out philosophical discussions. If you do X, then X will happen. Then again, my daughter loves us and respects us very much, and while she tests the limits constantly, she has not, at age 6, said anything along those lines. We always make sure that she understands that SHE CHOOSES her path. If good or bad things happen in her day/life, they are because of the choices SHE makes.
ETA: re-reading my post, it almost sounds as if I'm inferring that kids who do say that don't love and respect their parents. That isn't my slant at all! I guess I meant in our particular family dynamic, that isn't something that our kids would say (there's always a first time though!). However, I have heard "I am a loser" a few times lately from my Aspergian, but after some discussion it became apparent that this phrase was overheard when we were out running errands.
I get this too from my 4 and 6 year olds and I quite like the spirit of it, so I take it in good humour. I explain that it's true, and that when they're older they'll be able to make all of their own decisions. Until then, my job as mother is to sometimes make choices for them that I think are the best for them.