LAS VEGAS - There's a new sound in our house, and it goes a little something like this.
Me: "OK. Bath time. Go get in the bath."
Six-year-old daughter: "No. I am not taking a bath."
Or this if I didn't make her lunch right: "It appears to me that you messed up."
What's going on?
My sweet, little princess has a mouth like a teenager. She also has a snotty "Helloooo" when she asks me for something and I don't get it immediately.
We have arrived at the age of the back talk. And she's getting pretty good at it while I'm getting pretty good at losing my patience.
Child psychologist Jim Bozigar said back talking is actually just proof that my daughter is becoming her own person and separating from me.
"She's learned that she can say no and have some power in her life," said Bozigar, co-ordinator for a bullying prevention program in Pennsylvania who used to run a back-talk workshop for parents.
He suggests not giving my child the opportunity to say no by offering a choice such as: "Do you want to take your bath now or do you want to take it in three minutes?"
Bozigar also said to give my daughter responsibilities at home, telling her that everyone in the family has to contribute. Suggestions include separating laundry, putting toys away, getting her backpack ready, putting dirty dishes in the sink.
"As part of this dynamic of wanting to be independent, you have to give them responsibility," he said.
I also need to talk to my daughter about the correct way we speak to each other and when to apologize for using the wrong tone with someone.
"When they talk to us that way, we have to stop and engage them in what's going on," Bozigar said.
He said to tell my daughter how it makes me feel when she talks back or speaks rudely to me.
I also realize that some of the phrases my daughter has picked up have come from me. How many times do I yell "Helloooo" at another driver who doesn't go when the light turns green.
Sometimes I tell her to "try again" when she puts on an outfit that doesn't match. So when it comes back out of her mouth, I know she is just modelling what she hears.
Leah Korona, a Henderson, Nev., mom of three, has taken to shaving minutes off her six-year-old's bedtime when she back talks or tells her mother no.
"She is pretty blunt about just saying no I'm not going to do it when I ask her," Korona said.
Usually her daughter says no to simple requests such as "give your brother a washcloth or go to your room."
Korona adds: "I've had to resolve to ignoring her. It comes down to when she doesn't get her way."
Her six-year-old also uses the "this is the worst day of my life!" complaint.
I haven't gotten that one yet, but I do get: "You are ruining my life."
For now, we're working on how to speak nicely and not back talk mom. And for me, I'm trying to watch my sarcastic "Helloooos" when I drive.