Your toddler recognizes that they are distinct from you and is attempting to assert herself. The problem is that, while they are learning new words every day, children their age don’t yet have a large enough vocabulary to express their wants and needs—and they don’t understand that they can not always get what they want when they want it. It’s no surprise that this frustration manifests itself in arrogance and temper tantrums. It’s pretty normal toddler behavior.
Tips to Handle Bossy Kids:
The good news is that, while you can not avoid the bossy stage entirely, there are some simple tips you can follow to lessen your toddler’s demands and meltdowns.
#1 Make it clear what you expect.
If you don’t consistently set ground rules for your toddler, he won’t learn good behavior.
If you are taking your child to the supermarket, tell him ahead of time that he must keep his hands to himself and stay close to you. Saying something vague like “I expect you to behave” or waiting until the cookie aisle to tell him he can’t take anything off the shelves is more likely to result in tantrums.
#2 Prepare your child for changes.
Because toddlers are naturally curious and can become engrossed in activities that pique their interest, they frequently act demanding and frustrated when it’s time to move on. You can set boundaries, so they know what to expect to avoid a meltdown. For example, If your child wants to play on her tablet, tell her, I’m going to set the oven timer for 15 mins, and when it dings, you need to finish playing so we can go to the grocery store. The same is true for any deviations from their usual routine (“Instead of going to the park this afternoon, we’re going to see Grandma. Tomorrow, we’ll go to the park.”)
#3 Provide options.
Dealing with your toddler’s bossiness can be difficult because you don’t want to discourage his newly discovered independence. If you want to satisfy his need for control, it’s important to let him make some small decisions—what shirt to wear and what snack he wants. “The key is to avoid providing too many options.” When you give young children infinite options, they become confused and overwhelmed.” It is best to provide three or four options.
#5 Examine your actions.
You can’t expect your child to ask nicely or manage her frustration if you don’t say please or scream when things don’t go your way.
When you do lose your temper, explain and demonstrate how you’re going to calm down.” “Say something like, ‘I’m starting to get upset, so I’m going to sit on the couch and take some deep breaths to relax.’ This will assist your toddler in learning positive coping strategies for her own frustrations.
#6 Always be patient.
The reality is that your child is most likely mimicking behavior that he or she observes daily. Even if you don’t feel like you’re being bossy, consider what you do from your child’s point of view: you tell people what to do. Instead of panicking over your child’s bossiness, take a deep breath, recognize that this isn’t unusual behavior, and recognize that you may be witnessing the first buds of leadership skills that need to be channeled properly.
It is unlikely that your bossy child will learn more appropriate behaviors overnight. However, with perseverance, you can model and teach healthy communication styles that will benefit your child now and in the future.
Also, tell your toddler’s teachers and caregivers about your concerns about your kid’s bossiness, as well as how you deal with it at home. Communication is essential!