Parenting Advice – A Social Skills Quote:
“Conversation isn’t just crossfire where you shoot and get shot at! Where you’ve got to duck for your life and aim to kill! Words aren’t only bombs and bullets — no, they’re little gifts, containing meanings!” – Philip Roth
If you have a demanding child, his words may feel like bullets. Let’s find out how to change them into little gifts with meanings.
This Social Skill Problem Comes from Bruce:
“My 11 year-old-son need’s to ask for what he wants with respect. It is automatic for him to say, “Dad, get me some milk.” After such a command, conversations like the following takes place:
Dad – Sorry can’t do it.
Son – Why?
Dad – Because you have not asked for it properly.
Son – (begrudgingly) May I please have some milk.
It happens over and over again.”
Parenting Advice – An Important Principle:
Use the least amount of discipline to handle the problem. I like Bruce’s approach. I can even hear his respectful tone as he corrects his son. Unfortunately, it’s not quite enough to handle the problem.
First Social Skill Tip for Handling Bossy Kids:
Pretend you are Bruce. Consider using the “parenting stare” while saying and doing nothing. Make sure it’s serious but not mean. Stare at your son for several seconds then turn away without getting what he wants.
Second Social Skill Tip for Handling Bossy Kids:
If you hold family meetings, discuss your son’s behavior as a family problem to solve. Role-play with him on how to ask for things. Get him to make a commitment to ask with respect. Have him write his commitment and sign it. Then post it on the refrigerator as a reminder.
Third Social Skill Tip for Handling Bossy Kids:
Think about using the Feedback Formula when your son orders you to do his bidding. It’s simple and goes like this:
When you -
I feel -
I would like you to -
Let’s fill it in:
When you order me to do something,
I feel disrespected and won’t get what you want.
I would like you to say, “Please” with respect or get it yourself.
This formula could help your son realize the tone of his words affect both you and others. If his bossiness doesn’t work at home, it won’t work at school or with friends either.
Thank you, Bruce, for sharing this social skills problem. May it help other parents who face bossy kids.
Social Skills Summary:
Consider using one or a combination of these social skill tips. The ease of the “parenting stare,” the family meeting, and the feedback formula make them valuable parenting tips. The trick is to use them consistently and never accept disrespect.
Why not teach your little general to change his demanding bullets into little gifts of respect. Respect is a basic social skill to learn at home, in school, and with friends. Respect builds character too.