You’re Not the Boss of Me!

If you have a boss at the office, have you taken time to acknowledge him or her? When I worked in Corporate America, I use to flip this upside down. I would tell my staff that they were MY boss and that I worked for them. It was their job to tell me what they needed me to do for them so they could get the REAL work done.

For me, home was no different. I might have been considered the head of the household in some regards, if that title is still used, but my real bosses were my spouse and my children. I did the very best that I could to reinforce the facts that what THEY said and did were more important to me than my work. When the needs of my family were met first, I found myself more productive at the office.

For example, my 16-year-old bonus (step) daughter recently announced that I talked too much about money and work at the dinner table. She said it was important to her to not hear about those topics and strongly requested that we talk about other things. She was right about that and she was right to draw that line. My wife then hung a sign in the dining room that talk of money and work were banned from that room. We also all agreed to NOT bring cell phones to the table.

Have you ever heard your young child say “You’re not the boss of me!”? That’s because he or she craves power and wants desperately to feel valuable to the family. But if they’re constantly being told what to do and when to do it, they will never feel like they have power. Here are six ideas for helping your kids feel like they are the boss of something, sometime:

1. If your child corrects you, avoid getting defensive and thank them for bringing the correction to your attention.
Create a rotation so that they can each have a turn leading the family meeting.

2. Ask an older child to help you with the younger children, by reading to them, teaching them something, or taking some sort of leadership role as the oldest or older child.

3. Allow your child to teach you how to do something they do well, such as drawing a picture, building with Lego, or make believe play.

4. Let them lead the family on a shopping trip, giving them a list of items or pictures of objects to look for at the grocery store.

5. Designate them as the baker in following a recipe (with your coaching) to make a simple fun dessert.

As a result, their need to feel valuable and powerful in the family will be satisfied and won’t get in the way when you need them to cooperate and listen.

By Bill Corbett

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