Useful Rules for Successful Parents: Dealing with Bossy Children

Useful Rules for Successful Parents: Dealing with Bossy Children

Assertive children have many good attributes that when developed with cooperative strategies can lead to excellent leadership qualities. But if assertive children are allowed to use their traits to ‘be the boss’ of those around them, they end up with a poor sense of self and peers who do not trust them. Not to mention it is no fun dealing with a bossy child for a parent, either. Here are some parenting tips to teach your bossy child some social and leadership skills so they don’t end up being someone no one wants to be around:

Set your expectations. Research shows parents expectations matter to their children. When you expect your child to share and are clear in your message, to take turns and be considerate of their friends and siblings, then that is how they behave.

Explain what it means to be cooperative. Describe giving other people a turn when playing games or with a special toy. Then, practice ‘taking turns’ with your child using the words so they understand what ‘taking turns’ means. Explain further to your child why it is important that everyone should get a turn. The next time you ask your child to take turns with their siblings or friends remind them what it means. From there on out, your child should know what taking turns is and you can expect that cooperative behavior from them. Along the same lines, explain to your bossy child that sharing is a sign of caring. It is important to care about the people around us. Your child can do this by sharing their things.

Communicate your expectations to your child a regular basis and when you see them being bossy. This does not mean you need to embarrass them in front of their peers, but it also does not mean that you should hold back if your child is continually ignoring your requests for them to act considerate.

Be reasonable with your expectations. There are going to be things your child does not want to share – ever! These are prized possessions and you should suggest to your child that they put these things away before friends come over to play. Teach your child to take precautionary measures when necessary and avoid any conflict that may arise.

Assist your child to develop strategies that will help them be more cooperative. This includes using their manners, tactics that can pick one out of the group – like picking someone’s name out of a hat, eenie meenie miney mo and flipping a coin – house rules and again, taking turns. When sharing a toy, kids can use a timer and everyone can use the toy for a certain amount of time. When your child learns to use these strategies, their behavior will be more cooperative.

Catch your child being cooperative and let them know you appreciate it. When kids get attention for doing something right, they are likely to continue doing it. Be sure you let your child know exactly what you saw them doing that you approved of and encouraged them to continue doing that type of behavior.

Recognize all bossy behaviors. At times bossy children may seem like ‘big helpers’. And they may even be very helpful with their younger siblings. But if your child is being too assertive, you can create a passiveness in their siblings. That’s not a good thing. Encourage your older child to allow your younger children to do things on their own. Explain that it is okay when their siblings make mistakes, this is how they learn.

Pay attention to how you act with your spouse and other adults. Are you modeling cooperative behavior? It is important to model cooperative behavior around your children. When you do, your assertive child will learn the strategies you are portraying.

Be careful of your reactions to their bossy behavior. If your child begins to boss you around, it is important you to not treat it as a joke. It may seem cute and funny at first, but should it become a habit it will no longer be funny. Having a parent who is in charge is a stabling factor for your child’s sense of self. You need to let your child know that you were in charge, this is very important to do when you first recognize that they are trying to tell you what to do.

Take action. If you are past the point of preventing your child from becoming bossy, call them on the behavior and use consequences. Be clear with your child as to what behavior you expect (see above tips) and nurture those cooperative behaviors until you see your child using them on a regular basis.

How do you encourage cooperative behavior in your children? Please share your advice and experiences below in the comments area.

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