Its time for the Sunday Parenting Party. Please link up your parenting posts and check out what others have been up to this week. Please don't link Kids craft activities, these can be shared at the Kids Coop linky. This week I'm linking the following:
I've debated whether to write this post. I try not to write judgemental posts and this is sure to come across as one, but actually its asking that we mind the language we use with our kids. Some words are so much part of our culture that we use them without really thinking, but as someone who has been hurt by this particular name calling in my youth I felt I needed to share my concerns.
I want to talk about the term "Bossy".
Bossy is a negative word. Its a name we call children when they are "pushy" and tell others how to do things. Its a hurtful term and it damages self esteem. I should know. I was called bossy as a child.
And it occurs to me that 'bossy' is a term that tends to be reserved for girls. Lets face it when did you last hear anyone call a boy or a man bossy? One could argue that maybe its a trait that is only exhibited in girls. But I think we all know that's not true.
"Bossy" children .......
- Know what they want
- They communicate their needs and desires
- They set direction for themselves and others
Often when they are doing this as young children, they don't consider other people's desires, needs or feelings. But that is the same if the child is a boy or a girl so why do we tend to only tell girls off for being bossy?
Other terms that could be applied to bossy children are
And we wonder why we don't have so many women in the board rooms, in politics and in leadership roles. Could it be that every time this natural leadership talent rears its head during childhood, instead of nurturing it we give it a negative label and slap it down?
Of course it grates when a small person is pushy and demanding. But our job is to take the behaviour and show the child how to use the positive attributes of it. How to retain the self confidence and surety but add kindness and consideration. By labeling the whole action with the negative word "bossy", we diminish the child's desire to behave in that way at all. That can make them feel guilty every time they do. It weakens their self-worth.
If we keep calling girls "Bossy", we undermine their desire to be confident, directive and assertive young people. This coudl have serious implications for their role in later life, so please think twice before you call a child bossy.
My five recommendations from last week are
And now to the linky