Tags: In This Issue, Parenting
I have always been a little bossy by nature. I always thought that was a bad thing. The word "bossy" doesn't sound nice. So instead, I thought of myself as "resourceful" or "organized." My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Young, put me in charge of passing out papers and leading the pledge of the allegiance one day and I was hooked. I knew that very moment that I liked being "in charge." This "calling" later would be coined by my brother and his friends as "bossy." My whole life I have tried to stay away from being labeled as bossy and worked to be understood as "on it" or "a doer" or a "leader." That is until I became a mom. Bossy is kind of the name of the game when you're a mom. I always knew this, but still steered away from the term because it felt bad to me. Then one day, when my oldest went from having pigtails to being a teenager overnight, I realized that it was time for me to own being bossy (in a nice way, of course). Not because she needed me to boss her, but because all the outside distractions that exist for kids today demand for someone to manage and be the boss of it all in order to help protect them. I learned really quickly that group texting, Instagram, Facebook and even the "mean girl" group were all in the running for my job – being the boss! These things are, in fact, bossy all the time – every day and everywhere you turn. And it's hard for kids to escape these influences.
In truth, I started to see my daughter lose her "sparkle" – the easy going quality that made her funny, spontaneous and always happy. She seemed tense, frustrated and distracted. After a weekend of peeling back the layers of what could be wrong (school, friends, grades, etc.) it seemed the problem was that there were too many outside influences and distractions "bossing" her around from all angles all the time. My plan? To out boss them, of course! The "mother lion" in me kicked in and I shut down all the distractions. I was not sure how she would react – mad or sad – although I didn't really care since I knew in my gut that taking control of the situation was the right thing to do for my daughter. What I saw and felt from her was relief. Honestly, I saw her sparkle again, almost instantly. Within a day she had the bounce back in her step and the smile returned to her face. Finally, me being bossy was seen as a necessary and proactive quality – kind of like passing out papers or leading the pledge of the allegiance in 4th grade! The difference is now, I am really in charge. I am the boss of protecting my children, their innocence and their physical and emotional safety.
Let's be honest, bossy is not "cool." I never have been worried about being cool – not even when cool was in. Is cool even a word anymore? Using the term cool probably proves how unconcerned I am with being whatever the new word for cool is. Instead, I am fully owning my "bossiness" now (probably also not a word!) The point being, to help kids navigate this complicated world requires that we, as parents, be proactive "doers" and stay "on it." We are leaders in our own home and our Parenting sometimes requires us to be flat out bossy in order to do our job well.
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Mary Susan Buhner is a Life Coach for Moms and author of "Mommy Magic: Tricks for Staying Sane in the Midst of Insanity." Visit her Web site at www.Mommy-Magic.com.