Bossy toddler advice: 7 ways to survive a bossy boots toddler

Bossy toddler

The 2s are an incredible age in many ways – just imagine, not being able to express yourself properly for the best part of 2 years and then BAM! you have language, you have power, you have influence! Of course, after these incredible revelations, it probably won’t be that long before your toddler realises that he/she can have their way without using their fallback plan of having a tantrum…by taking things to the next level of advancement and getting their own back by…bossing you around! Cue you searching the internet for bossy toddler advice.

Although you might marvel at this new found ability at first, not long after, it becomes a rather relentless pain in the ass. Because who likes being bossed around like a sissy? *Silence*. Yes, I thought so. So once again, strategies are required. And quickly. In my typical scatter gun approach, I quickly fired out the following seven:

  1. Go along with it – For an instant fix, this might SEEM like a good idea, but be warned, this will create the mother of all bossiness snowballs if you do this ALL the time just for a bit of peace and quiet. Not recommended for any sustained period of time unless you want to be the doormat of the century.
  2. Laugh it off – Because at the beginning, this is pretty much a reflex reaction. But of course, we all know what laughing at a toddler means. Attention and it’s beautiful partner, repetition.
  3. You are not the boss of me! – Quite soon, you will realise that enough is enough. You can explain nicely that people don’t always have to do what other people want…but for when that message simply doesn’t get through, this phrase pretty much puts the bossy boots back in his or her box.
  4. Give them more control (but not too much!) – Bossiness is a normal developmental stage which is closely linked to getting control over their little turbulent lives. I have always offered choices to my little one, but since the bossy brigade marched into town, have ramped up the choice factor with a choice for pretty much everything we do, within reason. I’ve found the more our resident toddler has a choice, the less of a dictator she tends to be. It can be tedious, but worth it for particularly strong-minded little folk.
  5. Ignore – For the times when you just can’t be arsed, sometimes that’s all you can do. However be warned that you might be staring a tantrum in the face before long if you choose this strategy.
  6. Hide/deflect – And when number 5 doesn’t cut it, a bossy boots can not boss around someone who isn’t there, so either hide somewhere, or pack them off with someone else and change up the pack order.
  7. Please ask nicely – Let them know that the way they are demanding this, that or the other, is quite rude and do not do whatever they say until they ask politely. It takes a lot more effort to ask nicely, and at least eventually, after asking them to do this a bajillion times, they will one day, some day, get it.

So far, we have had greatest success with numbers 3, 4 & 7 which obviously require more work but are the most effective way of redressing the bossy balance quickly. However of course, we are all imperfect in this parenting thing so that’s what the other numbers are there for.

Do you have a resident bossy boots? How have you redressed the bossy balance? Do share here….

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  1. Ha haa ahh we have a bossy boots in our house too (as well as me!). I love your advice – I was trying to get by with no. 2 alone but she got annoyed at me and shouted “NOT FUNNY!!!!!!” – apparently I wasn’t taking her demands seriously enough. Mim x

    • Lol give the boss of my a try love – seems to have righted stuff over here the best! Guess we should be pleased they are bossy and know their minds but just a little less bossy would be good! Don’t want to crush their spirit of anything x

    • haha good luck with that! I told my little one if she didn’t like it that she could go back home today (we are on hols at the moment) = big old meanie. But it stopped her being bossy though haha. Not my proudest I have to admit.

  2. This is so happening in our house already…told where to sit and who can do what for him and we still have another 4.5 months until 2!! I totally agree with 3,4 and 7 working the best but the other numbers being essential for the maintenance of sanity!! #fromtheheart

  3. Love all these! Especially giving them control, in fact I think that works for all bossy people in life. I sometimes forget that a lot of these toddler behaviours are mimicking. My boy is preverbal and still wags his finger at me sometimes (I am naughty though) 😀 Thanks for sharing #fromtheheart

  4. This is only supposed to start at two?! My practically non-verbal one-year old can be VERY determined about getting his way…but then I try and see it from his point of view: it must be pretty annoying to have every little thing determined by the adults in your life!

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