Bossy Stopping

Bossy Stopping

What's the one thing you can do to stop "BOSSY" and get cooperation at the same time?


Commands like:

Give the dog some water.
Put your bike away.
Get in the car now!
Take out the trash.

...and a million others, tell children what to do and model "bossy" at the same time.

Who needs to be told what to do, not just once but over and over again? Someone who doesn't know what to do or worse - someone who is incompetent. That's the message that constant commands send. No wonder kids eventually tune us out.

SAY WHAT YOU SEE sounds like this:

The dog's water bowl is dry.
Your bike is still outside.
It's trash night.

Describing the situation, or simply using one-word reminders when children know the routine, sends the opposite message, "You know what to do," or "You can figure it out."

Leaving solutions up to the children assumes they know what to do and how to do it! Your confidence in the child comes across. The child feels better and so do you.

SAYing WHAT YOU SEE instead of speaking in commands results in kids who do the same. Through your modeling, they learn to describe situations for friends or provide polite reminders instead of bossing their friends around. When you point out their respectful treatment of their friends as a STRENGTH, it becomes permanent.

For younger children, adding connection by staying with them during chores, and keeping them in the lead by letting them direct you, can make any activity fun and build positive associations for the future.

Remember, your children do as you do. Change what you do and they will, too!

If you try it, let me know. Your story could show up here!

PS As Eva always says, it's actually OK to be bossy, too. When "bossy" is needed, you can model it without anger or blame by just owning it, "Yep. I'm bossy right now. I'll do whatever it takes to get this done now! What else do you need me to tell you to do?" Just know that the less you use it, the less you will need to.

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