9 answers

How Much Should I Intervene with My Bossy 5 Year Old Daughter?

My kindergarten daughter can be very bossy with her playmates. Sometimes when she is playing with friends, I overhear her telling them what to do with what seems like less finesse than other girls her age. She wants to always play the games SHE thinks up, and has difficulty following the leads of her friends. She is a bit of a tomboy and tends to enjoy playing with boys more. How can I help her get along better socially without being too intrusive? I want to let her figure things out as much as she can on her own, but sometimes I feel she needs guidance. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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K.,
Well, at the other end of the spectrum, my daughter has a friend that spent a lot of time alone in Jr. high because she could not handle people who don't take her orders.
Where that will put her in 4 more years, who knows, but I would teach her some finesse, now while she is little, as I myself have had a hard time learning it as an adult. Guys seem to understand what I say more that women do. Women don't like the way I word things sometimes. Hope this helps, and I know it will make her life easier as an adult.
W.

1 mom found this helpful

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Hey K.,

You have a leader on your hands!! I think the only time I would intervene is when her behavior is hurting other kids. You want to correct her and show her how her actions effect others (teaching her compassion). Of course correct her without humiliating her in front of her friends because that would just cause feelings of insecurity and might stifle her (or she might take that example and use it on someone else).

Don't feel bad about guiding her, she's only 5 and hasn't learned life's lessons yet. That's what parenting is. I remember asking my Dad why he didn't let me experience more in life (he was a little strict) and he plainly told me... because he had and it's his job to protect me from getting hurt. Of course we still make our own decisions, but it's the job of a parent to guide kids towards the better decisions. :-)

Just the fact that you are tuned into her... you are already a great parent!! Good job K.!!

~B

3 moms found this helpful

Go easy on her. My sister was like your daughter at age 5. She had a cadre of minions who would (much to my amazement) follow her orders; and order them around, she did! I, being the wise big sister, used to advise my lil' sis not to be so bossy if she wanted any friends. She ignored my advice, as most little sisters do, and always had plenty of friends.

45 years later, my sister will soon retire from the Army, where she has had a distinguished career. I would never have imagined she would do well in the military, because she was rather sassy toward our parents and "uppity" in general. In college, she decided to enter Army ROTC (reserve officer training corps), and she just thrived.

So, like I said, go easy on your daughter. She'll make friends, albeit friends who prefer to be followers. Encourage her athletic interests while keeping them well-rounded. Take her camping and teach her all about knots, plants, insects, and wherever her interests naturally lead. Enroll her in Aikido, where she can learn the art of nonviolently diffusing aggression. She may grow up to defend you and your family, and possibly excel in a military career.

3 moms found this helpful

My daughter is bossy too, but I realized one day that if she were a little boy, I wouldn't call her bossy, I'd call her a natural leader.

I was in a seminar at work where they were saying that as a boss, you need to hire people who can think creatively and problem solve. And then you need to get out of their way and let them do it. That really struck me on a personal level. So... I get out of my daughter's way and let her do what she knows how to do.

I am ok with her playing mostly with boys - let's face it, the higher up you get in business, the more you are likely to be the only woman in a man's world. I think it's a useful skill to know how to deal with men on their level.

It sounds to me like you are doing a great job with your daughter!

2 moms found this helpful

K.,
Well, at the other end of the spectrum, my daughter has a friend that spent a lot of time alone in Jr. high because she could not handle people who don't take her orders.
Where that will put her in 4 more years, who knows, but I would teach her some finesse, now while she is little, as I myself have had a hard time learning it as an adult. Guys seem to understand what I say more that women do. Women don't like the way I word things sometimes. Hope this helps, and I know it will make her life easier as an adult.
W.

1 mom found this helpful

Bettina D. said it right. I would only suggest getting the book called "To Train up a Child" It is pricless in your situation. It will teach you how to manage her nature so she will not become burdensome to others and yet not break her spirit. This is something you really need to get a handle on early on. I was a leading, bossy child and a real nightmare to my family. I wish they had implemented these techniqes on me. It would have been much easier than having to retrain myself as an adult. Let me know if you choose this route how it works for you.
K. R.

1 mom found this helpful

my thoughts are pretty easy... better for her to be a leader than a follower! If it were me, at this point I wouldnt bother much on trying to get her to be too bossy. I would instead do my very best to teach her morality and strength as a young child. Teaching her right from wrong and kind and gentleness. She already has a crowd following her lead, as her parent I'd be sure to make sure she was leading her friends in the right direction.

1 mom found this helpful

Wow, thank God it's not just mine. My husband and I were laughing (but not really out of humor) just this afternoon as we watched our 5 year old daughter boss the neighborhood 6- year old boy as he continued to follow her around. Miracles never cease. Seriously though, one of my greatest fears regarding her is that no friends will like her because she always has to be in charge. After reading your experience and the responses I feel much better. Thanks for asking! Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful

That's the problem with leaders - they are bossy. Let her be a leader. Just gently remind her over the years to have SOME concern for others' feelings, but other than that -- let her lead!! If everyone were concerned with how everyone else felt there would be no leaders.

I remember a 7 year old girl on our street years ago who was the bossiest thing I've ever seen. They would play a game and she would tell everyone exactly what to do, boys, girls, kids older than her -- and they all did it. It was quite fascinating, and also impressive. (As females we are always so overly concerned about others' feelings, it's kind of refreshing to see one who isn't.)

1 mom found this helpful

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