At a certain age, your child is bound to grow into his own person and have strong opinions about different matters ... like, at age 3. In case you're wondering why some parents refer to their preschooler as "little boss," this is why. "Three- and four-year-olds start trying to show their independence and act grown-up, so they imitate the adults in their life -- although not always in a good way," pediatrician Jennifer Shu, M.D. told Parents.
So what does all this bossiness mean for your child's development? And what can you do so she does not go overboard with this trait and become the annoying classmate? Here are situations you can put under control.
How to deal with a bossy child
Situation #1: She wants to control how her siblings play.
Try being within earshot of your child while she's playing with her siblings, or even her own playmates. Does she insist on how their pretend play will flow? Does she dictate which toys the others can play with? Is she the one in charge of "the script"? It could mean she wants attention for herself. Amy McCready, author of If I Have to Tell You One More Time..., suggests defusing the situation by explaining that that might not be what the others want, then suggesting they try a different game instead. A little extra attention to your little one won't hurt, either.
Situation #2: She has an opinion about your sense of style.
It's both funny and weird that your child, barely able to wear a shirt on her own, would blurt out that something does not look good on you. Don't take offense, though -- it's not personal. If anything, it might be a sign that she's not being allowed to make enough decisions on her own, says McCready. Make her understand that you can pick out clothes on your own, as can she, and that you'll only be there to give guidance.
On his first day in kindergarten, my son could not keep still in his chair. He kept standing up to check on his classmates and see if they'd already finished what their teacher asked them to do, and if they had already submitted the sheet they were asked to color. Thus, some of the kids started calling him "supervisor." While this kind of attitude indicates motivation, you could harness your child's zeal in a more positive way. Since the child is showing willingness to help out and contribute to the class, the teacher could give him small jobs so she still has an opportunity to help out.
Situation #4: He wants you to do things for him, even those he can do himself.
Sometimes, kids act out and order others around for tasks they are able to do themselves. They do get a thrill out of making you "follow" them. If you feel that your child is just making lambing, or is worn out from school that's why he's doing this, tell him nicely, I'll do it for you this time, but you should do it next time since you can, says Dr. Shu.