What can I do for a bossy child?

Stacy - posted on 03/25/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )




My son who happens to be 3 is...for lack of better words, a butt. He's very bossy towards his younger brother who's about to be 2. I have tried many things to get him to not be bossy. I've almost run out of ideas to help this situation. Is there anyone out there that has dealt with this before that can help me out?!?!?! Please, I'm at my wits end with this one!!!


User - posted on 03/25/2012




Children are great mimics. Is it possible that he is just trying to be like you in getting his little brother to do what he needs to do, like picking up his toys or being quiet..??

Or is it more like bullying, where he is after him about everything ?? Either way, he may think (even in a small way) that he is helping.

Maybe if you gave him 1 specific 'boss' job when it comes to his brother, like getting him to clean up his toys (and it requires him to show him how it's done) and to leave all the other stuff to you...


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[deleted account]

You could turn it into a positive thing. Like been suggested before when it's time to tidy up toys, he could show his younger brother how to tidy up the toys quickly/nicely etc.. Use him to set an example.

Also children are very good at copying behaviour/phrases that they learn from the main people around them in their lives.

Certainly found that my eldest liked (and still does to a certain point) bossing her two younger sisters around. As they've grown up, the two youngest now like trying to sort out their big sister and will stand up for themselves.

One thing that I allowed my girls do from an early (ish) age was to choose their own clothes - they all know that on school days it's school uniform, but on non-school days they're allowed to choose their own clothes (weather/activity dependant), which they really like doing. It gives them that little bit of independence and ability to become their own bosses.

You could also give him little tasks to use up some of the bossy energy. At appropriate times of day/evening - can he be the dirty clothes person and put the dirty clothes/towels into the wash basket for you. Give him lots of praise for putting the dirty clothes away. could look at other 'little' jobs that he could do and to show his little brother how to do them.

Deidre - posted on 03/25/2012




He is a born Leader. He is utilizing his Leadership skills. Create circumstances where he CAN be the boss. At his age it is quite common to stretch limits and go beyond the boundaries. He is becoming his own person and feeding his god given right to his independence.

Play some role playing games where he is The Cashier at the super market, The parent to the baby, The Teacher at the school. Give him choices so he can feel in control like "Which shirt would you like to wear today the blue one or the red one?" Try to anticipate what he is trying to run. In our house I find the kids don't fight as much when I make sure they are doing a structured activity. I wright down a list and cross things off along the way and they seem to really respond well to that system. Practice writing letters and numbers, read some books, color in coloring books, eat lunch, play hop scotch, play four square, play hide and seek etc... Children are going to push the boundaries because it is in their nature. What I have learned is that they truly crave direction, guidance, and structure. When they are given too much free time to do what ever, they tend to get themselves in a lot of trouble not to mention cause mommy to go stir crazy from all the chaos. I know it may seem like a bit of micro managing, but it really pays off in the end. I am a single mother of 3 growing boys. I feel for your frustration and I know what it's like, trust me :)

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