My toddler is very bossy!
The toddler years, although a blessing, they are also a challenge. Toddlers begin to be assertive and demanding early on in life. Your toddler starts to resemble your defiant teenager. You notice they become demanding, disruptive, show some risky behavior choices, and become very bossy. Is there anything that can stop this bossy child from taking over the house? I am glad you asked!
You Are Not His Friend
The one main thing to keep in mind is that you are a parent, not his friend. Therefore you have much more say of what goes down around home than your sweet little toddler does. You can show flexibility in the guidelines and rules; just do not forget to set the limits and boundaries. All children need and yearn for guidance and direction, and they look to a parent to provide just that.
When you set clear rules and limits early on, the toddler begins to learn right away not to push the limits. Set the basic household rules that you expect all children to follow. You can create chore charts and keep them posted and adhere to toddlers completing any chores next to their name. Charts can even be created to maintain family routines. Any or all can change or be altered when a parent or guardian states such.
As hard as it may prove to be at times, you need to remain consistent. You cannot insist chores are done one day, and then the next let them play before completing those same chores. This confuses the toddler at a time that they need consistency. If your child makes a second attempt at not doing the chore, you, as a parent, need to be confident in the boundaries you set forth. If a parent or guardian shows hesitation, the child will jump at the chance to get out of the chore.
Parents should understand that there will be a certain amount of battling or defiance when it comes to following rules and boundaries. This will not stop until they reach adulthood. As frustrating as it is, children will push back. This is part of a normal childhood. You could also say that it is a healthy part of their childhood. The action you take by enforcing the guidelines and rules is teaching your toddler, guiding him or her, and setting limits for them.
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Oh My, the Tears!
Please learn early on in parenthood that you cannot give in to your toddler when they begin to cry. Crying is good on multiple levels. For one, it cleans the tear ducts. Secondly, it also helps children learn about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. A child may not be able to express his or her true feelings clearly, thus the tears.
Two Act as One
The incredibly frustrating aspect of parenting is when both parents are not on the same page as far as rules and guidelines. This is a must for all parents before the issues arise. Curtail the bossy little child that has suddenly made an appearance in your lives! It is highly pertinent to act together and follow-through. There will be many years of your child playing one parent against the other. Practice singular follow-through between both of you starting early on.
Not all rewards have to be money or treat that is bad for toddlers. Rewards are also praised or one on one time spent together. A trip to the library, the park or a play date can be just as rewarding.
It Will All Matter
Following-up on guidelines, rules, chores, and behavior should lead to praise or rewards. It should not matter what the rule is, give your toddler some praise and maybe a cookie or banana for doing what is right. This also includes the action portrayed by the toddler. If they decide they want an extra cookie and throw a tantrum, the parent must follow through on the guidance. Do not give in and give the toddler what they want; it will lead to further and many more outbursts.
Your Behavior Matters
Whether it is picking out your clothes, choosing a meal, or some other choice you make daily as an adult, your child wants to imitate you. So when you are reaching for that extra cookie after telling your toddler no, they are expressing the emotion. They are frustrated that you told them one thing and are doing the exact opposite. They do not understand that you are the parent, and rules may be different for you.
Patience Is a Virtue
After saying that toddlers are imitating what they see a parent do, please keep in mind that they are also mimicking other people they see as well. Sometimes all the toddlers may need is a little extra guidance and explanation to understand the rules. We, as parents, do not want to stop all the bossy behavior as it will benefit them as they get older. A toddler is capable of choosing their outfit for a day. Even if the colors and style clash, let your child be the boss over some of the smaller decisions.
Make a Request
Sometimes the toddler may comprehend more if you sit down and explain that you are more willing to play that game, read that book or do that activity if they can ask nicely, with appropriate behavioral actions. If a toddler decides to hit you to get your attention, they need to understand that it is wrong behavior and why.
The Proverbial Tattletale
For households with more than one child, with one being a toddler, this could be a lifeline to sanity for you. Find a way to ignore the tattling from your toddler. (Or your older child also.) During that time, when the toddler is venturing into the bossy zone, ask them to please try to work out the disagreement with their sibling. Reiterate that hitting and screaming are not acceptable. By teaching him or her to work out smaller issues, you are teaching the toddler empathy and how to be compassionate to others.