by Heather Freeman, click here to get all our posts.
Bossy boots, bossy pants, sassy, strong willed.
Her behavior that may have gotten a laugh out of you when she was a toddler, is now crossing the line.
It’s pushy, overbearing, officious.
But…..then again, maybe this is a little bit of her personality coming through????
After all, she’s getting to the stage where she’s had enough of other people telling her what to do, when to do it. I guess she’s ready to take some control of herself.
You let it slide.
But the behavior persists.
Smarty pants, know-it-all, control freak.
But, did you know that how you see her affects her self-confidence – in ways you may not even know?
It’s the truth!
So, what steps can be taken to redirect her behavior?
How can we eliminate the word bossy and its stigma and nurture a girl’s confidence into a force for good?
1. Watch & Observe
Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, Yahoo! COO Sheryl Sandberg, and former secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, and USA Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez all share a common story of being victimized by the word "bossy."
Hillary Clinton has even more recently been called “nasty,” but that’s another story for another day.
When girls are called bossy it puts a lid on a girl’s confidence. It says ‘keep your voice down, don’t raise your hand, and certainly don’t think about taking the lead.” It leaves a sting that later in life continues to be felt. It can keep ambitious women from taking the next steps in their lives and careers.
The next time you notice her ‘bossy’ behavior, stop and take note. Recognize what may be going on in the situation. It may even help to write down what happens. Simply put, see the world through her eyes.
What do you see? Do you see demanding, Insistent, Stubborn, Bossy, Cocky, Difficult, Challenging, Fixated, Contrary, Rebellious, Defiant?
What if you saw…… Decisive, Determined, Persistent, Authoritative, Confident, Valiant, Gutsy, Committed, Resourceful, Nonconforming, Bold?
How would this shift in your perspective change how you approached her ‘bossy’ behavior?
3. Take the Pledge
Your perspective is the key to her success.
When you begin to see your child as decisive, persistent, authoritative, confident, & gutsy (!), her behavior shifts from ‘bossy’ to leader. And with that, the door opens wide giving her the freedom to share her strengths.
When you look at the honored leaders of our history and of today, you’ll notice how many of them are considered highly
- creative and intelligent.
- passionate and intense in their interests and beliefs.
- curious, as seen by their insatiable need to know ‘why.’
These same leaders
- learn by doing
- tend to have an intense need to test limits
- say no to the status quo
- are typically highly perfection-oriented, (generally when it comes to themselves instead of others)
- tend to need high levels of validation
- act with integrity
- are fueled by their beliefs and an internal drive and passion
- usually have an intense need to be heard
- are often resistant to change unless they feel like they have some control over the change
- are often highly sensitive
- are typically intensely focused on their latest project or interest
- tend to be conscientious and highly committed
- are usually intensely independent.
While there’s no doubt that it’s a challenge having a daughter who seems to want to ‘boss’ others around, there are ways to support her to help her preserve her confidence and nurture her strengths.
As you work to find a balance between setting limits and giving her freedom she will stretch and grow into the young woman she was born to be. Encourage her to raise her hand in school and one day she will raise her hand at work. Recognize & celebrate her accomplishments and she will one day command recognition for the meaningful contributions she’s made to the world.
Watch as your little miss bossy pants turns into the next little miss CEO!
My Little Miss bossy pants is the next little miss CEO (CLICK TO TWEET)
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