Who's the boss

One day last week I went to pick up Zoe from school. As I lingered near her, the usual pack of girls came over and started pushing books in my face (this has become an unfortunate ritual at pick up time. "Zoe's mom is here! Quick! Find something to make her read to us!"). I sat down with them and the usual bickering started. Pushing, whining "I caaaannnn't seeeeeeee!", trying to sit in a chair that someone else is already sitting in- you know, the usual 2-3 year old behavior.

But what I noticed most of all was, of course, my darling daughter. The light of my life.

The apparent school yard bully.

She started out wanting to sit next to me (reasonable) and she wanted "her" dolly to sit on the chair next to her. But there weren't enough chairs for kids AND dolls so I told her to hold the baby and give the chair to a girl who needed one. So she turned to the girl on the other side of me and said "Get up". AND THE GIRL DID. Before I could say anything, Zoe sat in that seat and turned to the girl on the other side of her and said again "Get up" and THE GIRL DID. Zoe put her dolly down and smiled beatifically at me. I was speechless and once again told her there were NOT enough chairs for dolls and kids and she would have to hold the baby on her lap. This did not go over well but was quickly enforced by the adult in charge, which would be..... oh yeah ME.

Later, when one girl had a book Zoe wanted she whined/yelled "IIIII WANT THAT BOOK" and the girl just dropped it and walked away.


I should clarify too that some of these girls are tough cookies. One was an unrepentant biter for months. Another was known for pushing kids down the ladder on the jungle gym. They are all verbal, smart girls not pushovers. How did my daughter get to be the bossy one here??

GG and I have been worried about this bossy streak for some time. She can be very bossy with us at home; often when we ask her to do something she'll say "YOU do it" or if she wants something that she's totally capable of getting for herself (say a book from her bedroom) she'll whine for me to do it for her. (It's a bit maddening how she wants to do anything dangerous or impossible to do at her size/ability "BY SELF" but anything else she wants us to do it for her.)

I think we've done a pretty good job of not giving in. We don't do things for her unless she really can't do them for herself or, in the case of borderline things like finding a lost toy, HAS TRIED. And if we need to help her we try to involve her in doing it with us and ask her questions to get HER to problem solve. We don't get up from suddenly preferred chairs, though we are often ordered to (yep, chairs are a recurrent problem). We don't do things for her unless it's a reasonable request and she has asked it nicely. We don't let her push Sweet Dog around though Zoe always seems to suddenly NEED to sit wherever Sweet Dog is on the bed/couch.

We aren't giving in.

But I guess some of the kids at school are.....


Kevin Dente said...

I'm flashing back to that Twilight Zone episode here. "It's a real good thing you done when you took my doll. A real good thing."


Anonymous said...

Wow, maybe you could ask the teacher be more involved in not letting her boss the other kids around...

Anonymous said...

Holy cow! I'm so very glad you wrote this post. Since Maddie's started going to preschool, I've learned that she's the class bully. She just reaches out and takes whatever toy she wants from whomever is playing with it. She has no concept of sharing or playing nicely with other kids.

I was so embarrassed when the situation was first brought to my attention. I mean, how could my gorgeous, funny, loving girl be a bully? But she is. And we're working on it. Slowly but surely, things are improving.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

MBM: Yeah, I've spoken with a few of the teachers and they said it's not that bad, that all the girls do it to each other and they try to intervene to make sure no one gets away with it. They also said they break up the girls as often as possible! I didn't think the girl pack started this young!

Erica: I'm so interested in their little personalities. My current theory: the kids who walk up to other kids and take the toys they want are showing extroversion and the kids who sit quietly and have their toys taken away are the introverts.

But then, for the longest time, Zoe was one of the kids who had her toys taken away.... maybe she's pissed and making up for lost time?!

I do believe that the behavior of both of our kids is totally developmentally normal. But it still needs to be reigned in!

desperate housewife said...

Addy is SO bossy too! Mainly to us, that I KNOW of, but I've been leaving her at the Y daycare about three mornings a week, and I'm very curious how she behaves there. This morning, with me, she seriously had a nervous breakdown because I was pouring her juice cup on the wrong end of the counter. WTF?

Erin said...

I'm behind here, but wanted to comment on the anti-Prop 8 post. LOVED IT. Everything you said was so perfect. Thanks.

Kelly said...

Speaking as both a childcare teacher that taught 2 year olds for YEARS and a former bossy kid whose mom got called in for a conference when I was two (my proudest moment), I agree with my preschool teacher's advice:

This is what kids this age are built to do. They are trying to figure out who they are, what/who they can affect and how the world works. As long as the other kids are willingly 'obeying' her, they're fine with it. Trust me, if she tells a toddler to move and they don't want to? They really REALLY won't give in. My preschool teacher's exact words were, "Well, it's their choice to listen to her. One day this ability to be outspoken about her wants and needs will greatly benefit her...if we can all survive until then."

Good luck!

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