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Manners and Discipline Topics..

You are here : home > Manners and Discipline > Disciplining Children > Bossy children

Bossy children

Buy me that toy!  I want an iPad!!  I am not going to eat that!!!

If these sentences sound are in the presence of a bossy, demanding and pushy child. Learn how to transform bossy, demanding, and aggressive brats into confident and assertive children here.

If you are wondering whether bossiness is a normal phase in children’s growth, you would be right. At three or four years of age, children start to test their surroundings. They begin to require more independence as they begin to make up their minds about what they like and dislike. They do this by trying to control things and people around them to see what is acceptable and what is not. Shaping that bossiness at that stage can transform negative aggressiveness into positive assertiveness and
confidence, skills which are very important to succeed in today’s cutthroat world.

Playing Hitler

Stamping her feet, throwing things, crossing her hands in front of a puffed out chest, throwing the dirtiest, scariest glare that communicates – ‘Do Not Defy or Deny Me’ are classic signs of bossy, Hitler-like behaviour. When your three-year-old starts firing orders at you and at other children, there is no doubt that it can be quite amusing. However, soon the charm of seeing your pint sized termagant bully others wears off, and you will then realise that your initial amusement at her behaviour and pride in her confidence has allowed her to become more constantly unmanageable, egocentric and embarrassingly demanding. Considering that your child thrives on being bossy and aggressive, using that same Hitler-like behaviour will not help in thwarting her antics. Treat aggressive bossiness with firm confidence and composure. Encourage your child by providing rewards and recognition for good behaviour, while showing no reaction to tantrums and bossiness.

Bossy Children Find it Difficult to Make Friends

As your child grows older, she will find that bossiness does not help in winning friends and influencing people. Bossiness can be a real turn off and could result in people either ignoring her or avoiding her altogether. Another disturbing off-shoot of bossy behaviour is that it could develop into bullying. Realizing that being bossy is one way of attracting attention, even if it is negative, your child may escalate from bossiness to bullying. Because other children do not react well to taking orders, the dictatorial behaviour of bossy children leads to them being unable to develop long-lasting friendships. This can leave them feeling lonely and misunderstood. Use confidence in other people’s behaviour to shape your child’s behaviour, by stating, “You can’t get what you want by simply yelling and demanding...maybe if you asked your friends nicely instead...they will listen to you.”

Altering Your Child’s Behaviour from Bossy to Assertive

So should you panic the minute your child starts showcasing signs of bossiness? No. A little bossiness is a good thing as is serves to make your children more assertive and confident. It teaches them to be go – getters. Bossiness is often a reflection of a strong-willed personality. A strong will can be an asset if channelized properly. If you teach your child to communicate well and develop emotional control, his bossiness can be transformed into assertiveness and good leadership skills

Tips to Deal with Bossy Children

  • If your child acts bossy with you, a friend or another adult, do not react in any way that can be construed as encouragement. Do not laugh or make fun of her. At the same time, do not give her negative attention by scolding or lecturing her. Stay calm and tell her to repeat her request in a polite manner.
  • Do not do anything for your child if she orders you. She needs to understand that she is nobody's boss, especially not yours.
  • Supervise her social activities by joining a small play group with a few other children and their parents.
  • If she shares her toys and is courteous, compliment her on her good behaviour.
  • If she displays bossiness, point this out by whispering in her ear. Do not make an issue of it in front of the other children. 
  • If she shows no sign of relenting in spite of your admonition, take her aside and tell her that you will take her home if she does not behave properly.
  • Play non-competitive games at home and encourage her to take part in team sports. 
  • If your child is left out by other children, do not be overly sympathetic and blame others as in all likelihood her bossy behaviour is the culprit. Instead, try to help her see what aspect of her behaviour could have put them off. 
  • However, it is important that you think and act positively with your child so that she doesn't feel that she is the 'bad guy' all the time. Teach yourself and her to express her strong will in a way that can be perceived as persistence and assertiveness rather than bossiness. 
  • Keep the lines of communication open and talk to your child often so that you can identify what triggers the bossy behaviour.

Does your child boss everyone around? How do you deal with your child’s bossiness? How to channelize your child’s bossiness into making her a confident and assertive leader? Discuss here.

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Riya.5 years ago
I have seen few kids who carry this kind of trait. Hard to control them! Good one!
Ajay.8 years ago
bossiness will not help our child all the way. we should teach our children to behave in a polite manner.

good article with informative tips.
likitha.8 years ago
really very articles i think this is the best way to treat children.
Ritu.8 years ago
bossiness is a trait which usually child embibes due to the pampering he might have got through his parents. some parents are ready to fulfill their childs each and every wish irrespective if the fact how viable is that. this kind of behaviour paves more way to the bossiness of a child
Lauren.8 years ago
this article was very imforming. bossy children can be a real problem. i was not aware of how to handle a bossy child in a group of other people. i was always taught that by bring the problem to attention in front of everyone and the child would be embarrased and not do it again. i will put these other techniques into action a.s.a.p
toni.8 years ago
i have a bossy child, she is 10 years old and has always had a pretty strong personality. however, i want to assure those who believe that bossiness only happens when a child is pampered, that they are very much mis-informed. my daughter is far from being pampered though i do believe that that might be the culprit. i have been considering that maybe i don't give her any "control" over herself and that is why she might be constantly fighting for it outside of me. because the bossiness is usually acted out with other people.
CC.8 years ago
good tips!
brooke mcgrath.8 years ago
just kick that people up the but and tell them off away from other people
meg.8 years ago
i don't believe at all that i have pampered my child, if anything i've been strict and tough. however, my daughter is bossy with her peers at school. i am going to encourage good behaviour and whisper when she's bossing, and have a talk every morning before school about how she's going to act towards the other kids. i would be extremely upset if her behaviour led her to having no friends. on the upside, i am glad she's a leader, and hope that, if taught good channelling for the bossiness now, she will grow to be a leader and strong woman.(whilst compassionate and kind).
lara.8 years ago
my daughter has been strong willed since day one and now at five can be very bossy at times,i worry that she will isolate herself at school if this continues so any advice on the matter is always helpful.
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