Bossy Behavior - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 03-03-2009, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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My 3 year old son has just started some really bossy behavior - he wants things HIS way - fairly typical kid behavior. I find myself getting pretty irritated by this and don't always handle it the right way and his bossing turns into tantrums of crying and stomping.

He has the hardest time playing with his PRIZED TRAINS with me - His absolute favorite toy!! He wants things HIS way! He wants you to play with him, of course; but he wants you to play HIS WAY.: Now, how is he going to learn how to play well with other children? Doesn't he need to learn how to play alongside others and be accepting that other kids play differently and have their own ideas to share? I know this is totally normal, but how do I deal with this?

What has been working during other times of similar behavior is helping him rephase his statements of "Do this!" to "Can you do this please?" and asking him to "Use his words". Redirecting his attention and being playful and silly in the midst of this feeling of "I want!" is also helpful. But I feel like I am still missing something

I think the biggest thing for me to do is to keep calm myself. I thought maybe I could try mirroring his feelings next time, "You are feeling sad/mad. I see." "Can I help?" But what am I missing and not quite understanding??:

Can anyone help?

Happy Wife & Mama to 1 boy 12/6/05
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#2 of 3 Old 03-03-2009, 04:18 PM
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Really typcial 3 year old behavior and even more so if he's your first born. First born children are generally leaders and can be very bossy. He'll learn how to channel that as he grows older and with your gentle leading.

Just keep doing what you are doing. Explain to him how to speak nicely and model it, etc... It's really the best thing you can do.

Are you involved in play groups or anything like that where he can "practice" a little bit of sharing and not being bossy? Maybe if you have a play date with someone at your house? That way he can learn to share his things.

However, if it's something like his trains, being a prized possession, I'd put those up if you have a play date. Start small, with toys that aren't so special to him. Making him share or give up "control" of his favorite toys would be unrealistic. I would suggest not going there right now. Maybe down the line you can test those waters a bit.

He'll probably always want things "his way" if that's part of his personality. It'll be something you have to constantly keep in check with him and lead by example. It will get tiring sometimes, but you'll see the fruit of your labor eventually.

My 13 year old used to be extremely bossy. Now she's growing into quite the mature leader. But boy did we have some trying years!! And we still do have trying times of course, but she's learning to use those leadership skills quite nicely, without always to have things "her way".

I'm sure you'll receive a lot of great advice on here!
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#3 of 3 Old 03-03-2009, 07:29 PM
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I agree, it's very, very typically three. They've discovered that they really can influence what other people do, and they're trying to figure out just how much they can do that! (So, they're a little like power mad dictators for a bit.)

Spend 30 minutes a day where he CAN tell you what to do. He's the leader, you're the follower.

When you offer choices, make them real choices. A 2 year old responds well to "would you like to wear your red pajamas or your blue pajamas?" after they've adamantly told you they do not want to go to bed. 3 year olds are more savvy. They GET that this is a ploy to get them into pajamas. Ask him whether you should eat lentil stew or chicken for dinner. Have him help you plan the menus for the week. Get him involved in doing 'real' chores (dishes, vacuuming, laundry, cleaning the sink, etc.)

If he's extending his efforts to control the world beyond what's reasonable, explain to him what he gets to make decisions about and what you get to make decisions about. I have regular bouts with our ds about who's "in charge". "Who's responsible for making sure your sister is safe?" "That's her job, and it's my job to follow through. It's NOT your job."

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