How to Deal with Bossy Children


Authored by Kate Beswick in Parenting 
Published on 07-20-2009

Being bossy is just one of those character traits that a child may or may not have. Knowing if your child will have it is a guessing game but if he does, you’ll know it as soon as you hear it! They may tell you to ‘Get juice now,’ or tell another child to ‘play my way!’ Whatever form the bossiness comes in, you’ll most likely be shocked when you hear it. It can be quite funny to hear your child pretend to be an adult but you won’t be laughing for long as bossiness becomes a very unpleasant quality very quickly. Not only will you soon be annoyed at your child’s bossiness but your child may also start to lose friends. Kids don’t like to be bossed around and so, they’ll stop playing with your child.

The first step in putting a clamp on bossy children is to let your child know that this is not acceptable behavior. Like just about anything else that kids do, being bossy is usually just a test to see what they can and can’t get away with. By demanding that somebody else act according to their wishes, the child is testing the waters. If your reaction is laughter, your child will love being in the spotlight and most likely continue to entertain you. When it becomes annoying however, they will be shocked that they are not getting the same reaction. Tell your child that bossing people around is not nice and that it will not be tolerated.

Also like typical child behavior, if the child gets what they want after telling you to do something, they will continue to do so. Be sure that even if you’ve told them that bossing people around is not nice, that you do not do whatever they told you to do. Withholding a cup of juice, or not allowing them to watch television after they’ve told you to, ‘Turn it on now!’, will teach them that bossing people around is not the right way to get what they want.

Observe your child as much as you can in the playground, or wherever else they have a lot of interaction with other children. If you find that they are being bossy, take them aside and explain to them what they are doing and why it’s not acceptable. If they are playing nicely with the other children and being polite, tell them how well behaved they were and how that must be why they have so many friends. Showing your child how their behavior affects others is extremely important when trying to deal with bossy children.

Initial reaction and consistent attempt to get your child to stop being bossy are the most important things that will help you deal with a bossy child. The first time you see, or hear, any signs of bossiness, don’t laugh or encourage your child. Even though it may be cute when they’ve only started to speak, it will only make it that much harder to break the habit. Also constantly watch your child with other children to make sure that he’s treating everyone fairly and playing with children, not over them.


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