Call Your Daughters Leaders… …Unless of Course they are Actually Being Bossy!
I am so tired of the articles – spawned I think in part by the book Lean-In – that attempts to banish the word bossy in regards to little girls. In fact, there is a whole movement and a website by the same name dedicated to banning bossy – its catch phrase is ‘Encourage Girls to Lead’.
Now don’t get me wrong – I am all about girls leading. I am a working mom who is a female leader. What I am against is the idea that my daughter gets a pass when she’s being just plain bossy. Or that the little girl ordering people around in my son’s classroom is simply practicing for her future leadership positions.
They are not being leaders – they are being just plain bossy. Period…And I will tell my children this and explain the difference. I will tell my daughter when she is being bossy…AND…I will tell my son when he is being bossy. I won’t call her a leader – ordering people around is not leadership – its dictatorship.
You see leaders are people who inspire people to action – not command them into it. Leaders listen to other people’s opinions, they encourage people and they recognize that they are not the smartest people in the room.
I believe that when kids are being bossy or mean or negative – they need to be told. In the same way I will encourage them for being kind or sweet or nice. I’m not going to sugar-coat bad behavior for the sake of their feelings. In our house we talk openly about all kinds of feelings – good and bad. We practice authentic communication about how we feel or how a situation makes us feel.
In my view – if you want your child to practice leadership – encourage them to:
- Share Toys
- Play with all the kids
- Comfort someone in their class that might be sad
- Be friendly to all the kids
- Control their anger or at least have skills to move past it
- Engage in conversation with both kids & adults
- Recognize when they’ve upset someone & apologize
…if they practice these skills – at the very least – even if they don’t lead – they will turn out to be wonderful humans!