Bossy kids

Do you know that this can actually be a good thing? Yep! Kids who show bossy behavior are in a great place to advocate for their needs and wants. They can even stand up for other kids. The trick to making this work, is to teach them how.
Kids who use a sharp tone of voice and are demanding in their verbal requests are often considered bossy. They know what they want and are determined to get it! After all, we all like getting what we want, right?!
As parents, we want to honor the spark that give our kids personality. Let’s do that by keeping that drive to get what they want out of life and lets make them even more successful in doing so!
Here are some steps to follow to help your kid become less bossy, but still get what they need and want out of life. We call this: Assertiveness.
Being assertive is a life skill that everyone needs. Adults need to assert themselves daily. When we know how to be assertive in respectful ways it results in our jobs, relationships, and daily interactions going smoother. Assertive teens and adults are more successful and more happy with life.
Learning how to be assertive starts with that bossy personality that almost all parents encounter with their kids.
  1. Patience. This is a must have tool to almost every aspect of parenting! Know that taming the bossy beast will be a task that requires patience and repetition in order for our kids to learn alternate behaviors. Remember to breathe and take a mental step back to remind yourself to be patient.
  2. Developmentally appropriate? While you are using those patience, ask yourself if your child is acting in a developmentally appropriate way. It is normal for any child who is preschool age or younger to act in bossy ways when they want something. They don’t know any better. Even if you have told them, they aren’t developmentally ready to use the skill. Keep teaching anyway. Just remember, its normal and to be expected!
  3. Be an example. Do you boss your kids around? How about your spouse? If you expect your kids to use respectful ways to get what they need and want – then you have to be the model for that. They will follow your lead.
  4. Communicate. Find good times to connect with your kids to talk about how to use a kind tone of voice and polite words when asking for something. Talk about why it is important and how to do it.
  5. Show them how. Talking is great. Showing is a game changer! Once you communicate the why and how, its time to show. Demonstrate how to be respectful when needing something. Practice what it looks like and sounds like. Repeat this process and watch your child being using this skill on a more independent basis!
  6. Respectfully decline. No one likes to be spoken to in a bossy way. Make that fact known as you respectfully decline to engage in conversations with your child if they are attempting to boss you. This is what a respectful decline looks like:
    1. Child: Speaking/acting in a bossy manner.
    2. Parent: Stays calm even though feeling frustrated. Even takes some deep breaths.
    3. Parent: “I don’t like the way you are speaking to me right now. Try saying this instead, “_________________”
    4. If the child agrees then great! Learning experience complete! If not…
    5. Parent: “When you are ready by showing me a calm voice and body we will try again.” This statement might need to be repeated until your child knows that you won’t engage in a disrespectful conversation.
  7. Celebrate. Of course we are going to celebrate!!!! Even small steps in the right direction from bossy to assertive deserves praise. Hugs, high fives, positive comments…You name it. Celebrate the good stuff. Celebrating is so wonderful because not only does your child get what they are seeking by being assertive (not bossy) they are getting a second positive reinforcement – your praise and positive attention!
Yes, there is hope. In fact there is a lot of hope for those struggling with bossy behavior from kids. Rest assured that you got this. Follow these steps and you’ll be on the track to success!


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