My 5 year old daughter is bossy!

United States
July 7, 2012 3:27pm CST
My oldest daughter turned 5 in December. The past few weeks she has become very disrespectful to me and is bossy to everyone!! I mean, everyone! She tells her 3 year old little sister what to do, she tells her friends what to do and she THINKS she can tell Mom and Dad what to do. When she and her little sister are playing she makes all the rules and decides what they are playing. Even with the TV she decides what to watch. When me, her Dad or babysitter tell her to take turns with the decisions she gets very upset. She has even mad the comments "everyone is always so mean to me" or "nobody ever let's me decide" when honestly, she almost makes all the decisions when it comes to the toys, games or TV. I know at times it makes me very upset to hear her be bossy and I tell her that people don't like bossy people, they are not fun to play with. I don't know how to discipline this situation without making her upset. I have talked to her about it and she gets upset or she says "I'm not being bossy" I have even put her in time out but she honestly doesn't see what she is doing wrong so it's not really helping. Kids need to know what they have done wrong to understand punishment, right?
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7 responses
@Ixodoi (445)
• Israel
7 Jul 12
I actually had the same problem with me 2.5 years old. The reason for that was that we kept tell him he is now a big boy - we just brought his little sister from the hospital & we were told this is a good idea to keep his moral high. Well it kept his moral high, but also made him think he can make the decisions now. When we informed him he is mistaken (by actions or talking) he became very upset. It took me some time to understand that while we see that as "they are taking decision" - they see it as "Mom & Dad are bossing me" - after all think about it, you girl might be making decision when she plays with her little sister. Yet, in the important things she really has no saying - it is your decisions that count, so her wording "nobody ever let's me decide" are actually true. I'm not saying let her decide. On the contrary - when it comes to those things talking is nothing - you need to show her by actions that she won't be the boss, and if that makes her upset - well she will just have to deal with it. Life are full of upsetting stuff. On the other hand - she must understand that while she is the biggest child - she is still a child. So she can make some decisions, but only minors one, and she can't force her little sisters / brothers, since she isn't their boss.
• United States
7 Jul 12
I most certainly agree with showing her she isn't boss at home. But, I also don't want her to think her opinions don't matter. She gets so upset when we have to tell her to stop being bossy. I am scared that when she was younger and her sister was a newborn we wanted her to feel needed and important (like she was) I was so worried that the new baby would make her feel unloved or not important. Now I think she realizes she is big sister and I let her help so much before.
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@Ixodoi (445)
• Israel
7 Jul 12
Showing her you love her & appreciate her ideas is one thing, and letting her go just because she is upset is a completely different things. Even when I tell my son "No" he knows I love him. Never forget the children need limits, they actually ask them for us. 99% of children "bad" behaviors are actually behaviors they know they aren't suppose to do. Yet , they do it and wait to see how we will respond. They want us to respond. If we are ignoring it, and don't put the restrictions where needed - they will push further more in hope for us to respond. Tell your daughter you love her consistently (BTW I think this is a good advice for everyone you love), take her on a one on one fun hours so she will have some alone time with you & won't feel the "little baby" is stealing her parents, let her make decisions in small & insignificant stuff you don't mind. However, put a very clear limit, and don't let her cross it - not even once. Even if it makes her upset at first, she will learn the "new rules" fast enough and will learn to live with them. BTW are you sure this "getting upset" isn't a manipulation? Kids are champ in parents reading, if she know it bothers you she will use it against you consistently.
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• United States
7 Jul 12
It may very well be a manipulating me! My husband tells me I tend to give in a little to her tears. I do tell them both I love them all the time. On a daily basis, sometimes 100 times a day. The 1 on 1 time is very limited. I don't do it enough and I know I should be. Thank you!
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@Jessi_T (380)
• United States
7 Jul 12
Try intervening this way have your oldest daughter pick something to watch and after half an hour say "Now it's (youngest daughters) turn to pick something on TV. Do this with games and books too. Sometimes say something like (youngest daughters name) can choose what TV show to watch first and make sure when the time is up you let oldest daughter know it is her turn. Maybe she does not realize what being bossy is, or doesn't know how to share. If that is the case that is the best way to show her. Help her by telling them when their turns are and when there over. If she gets upset during this, when it is plainly being called out whose turn it is then there is not reason not to give her a time-out to discipline her as she gets older and in higher grades at school if she continues to be bossy and not share it could lead to a lot of problems.
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• United States
8 Jul 12
I am going to try that! I'll use that type of routine with a lot of different activities and things! Thanks a lot!
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@shylade (3138)
• Philippines
7 Jul 12
That's tough. I have a 2-year old son. Ever since we always told to be considerate of other's feelings. It should not always him alone and should share with everyone. Being a working mom, I feared to not teach him to behave well because I work almost everyday since he was two months. We left him to a nanny. I told the nanny do not tolerate his wrong doings but never hurt him. So far he cooperates well. I hope he'll still be the same when he grow. Anyway, I really don't agree with physical punishment. I know your daughter can understand you already. Talk with her alone so she won't feel everyone is against her. I hope that helps.
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• United States
8 Jul 12
I work full time also, 40 hours a week. I hate when I am home and have to fuss or punish my girls! I try and not let them walk all over me though.
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@samar54 (2456)
• Egypt
8 Jul 12
You can let her help you when you feed your baby , or when you're giving him a bath .... etc. This will make her feel with responsible I think this will make her happy ,you cat talk with her about your love to her and her importance in your life.
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@peavey (15770)
• United States
7 Jul 12
Maybe she doesn't fully understand the word "bossy"? Maybe if you rephrase it to say that it's not fair that she always watches the show she wants, get to play with the toys she wants, or whatever the situation calls for and that others should have a choice, too, maybe she will understand. Why are you letting her make "almost all the decisions when it comes to the toys, games or TV"? That reinforces her bossiness.
• United States
7 Jul 12
I have told her a few times in the past few weeks when she's started this that "you need to share and take turns with the games, toys and TV. That making too many rules with the games is being bossy and it's not nice. I even asked her how it would make her feel if a friend made all the rules and kept telling her what to do when she was playing. I have explained to her that only mom, dad and other grown ups are the ones who can make the rules" Trust me, I don't let her make the decisions. I correct her when I see it!
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@verolop29 (1096)
• United States
7 Jul 12
kids do what what bossy is. they see it in their parents and caregivers. but they want to act on it and see if they can be like the big person they admire, like mommy or daddy. however dont yell, that'll scare them! and another thing kids dont like to be told what to do. give them options and make them feel like they're not little. i've read that in a parenting magazing that kids like to do things that make them feel important. ill find the book and tell u what date and what magazine i found it in. if u like
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@verolop29 (1096)
• United States
7 Jul 12
kids do know what 'being bossy is. thats what i meant to say. lol im mulititasking here!!-baking cookies and doing dishes while im on mylot!
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@dorannmwin (36695)
• United States
11 Jul 12
This is actually a stage that your daughter is going through. My daughter has been through this stage and my son is in the midst of this stage right now. I think that the reason that children go through this stage at this age is because of the fact that they are getting ready to start school for the first time and they know that they won't at all be able to be in charge when they are in school. The best thing that you can do is to constantly remind your daughter that she is just a child and is not in charge and also make sure that she is taking turns picking things and making rules when playing.
@Hatley (161985)
• Garden Grove, California
9 Jul 12
hi jesslee potts perhaps she feel jealous of her younger siblings'and is making a big bid for moms attention. more one on one time with her might help a bit.I realize you cannot let her boss all the time but she is only fivenot preteen and in time I think she will learn that her younger'sister and her friends will not like her being bossy with them. I am elderly and my only child now is 53 lol. he and his sister were onley 11 months apart so they were pretty fair with each other. we lost our daughter when she was eight to pneumonia.