How to handle a Bossy BUU

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Who do you prefer to be around? A Bossy BUU or a Friendly BUU?

We all know a Bossy BUU or two
Friendly BUU’s are the best besties!

Well, I’m guessing we all know the answer to that question.

Bossy BUU’s aren’t much fun to be around and tend to create short-term shallow friendships.

Friendly BUU’s are the best besties, and build strong supportive life-long friendships.

What to do with a Bossy BUU?

If you find yourself contending with a Bossy BUU, as awkward as it is saying this… take a look in the mirror – are you modelling Bossy behaviour? How often are you saying “Shush!” or “Be quiet” or “Tidy your room!”

Little Peeps are smart little cookies and they pick up on everything–tone, actions, words, contexts and reactions.

A Bossy BUU could be modelling what they see at home. It may not be you, of course, it could be your partner or a sibling. Perhaps they are observing bossy behaviours at daycare, school or on TV. It’s worth checking in to see if you’re contributing to the problem and if it’s not you, then investigate further to identify the source.

What causes Bossy BUU behaviour?

There are two basic psychological needs that could drive bossiness:

a) the need for autonomy “Mum! I can do this!”, and/or

b) the need for significance and belonging.

As ironic as the second one may sound, any attention is good attention to a Little Peep who needs to feel significant. Even if it’s not obtained using the best behaviour choices, they still get a shot of attention–good or bad–which shows them they matter and have power.

Is bossiness really an issue?

You could see bossiness as strong, resilient behaviour, however there is a difference between being resilient and a strong character intrinsically, and being bossy which is an extrinsic behaviour. A bossy person wants to control others as opposed to being in control of themselves. This has serious ramifications as they progress through school and into the workforce.

We all know a Bossy BUU or two. It may be that kid in daycare or at the park who doesn’t wait their turn or hogs all the play equipment. Or it could be someone at school, high school or you may even work with some.

Bossy BUU’s, if gone unchecked can turn into that person in the cafeteria who backstabs and gabs about everyone (including their inner circle). They are the manager who commands a following through fear and threats. Or the colleague who throws you under the bus to get ahead.

Don’t underestimate a Bossy BUU. They are clever beings and will try all sorts of strategies to take control and assert their powerful opinions on others. Some are quite delightful in front of the Peeps who count (Mum, Dad, the Boss…). They know who to please and who to control.

Unfortunately for them, other peeps are smart too. Their reputation builds and eventually, people get tired of being disrespected and controlled. Often Bossy BUU’s wind up very lonely, despite their exterior mask. When push comes to shove and they need help, they may find themselves out on a limb all alone.

It’s a sign

Why are people bossy? Bossiness more often than not bossiness is a sign that the person feels they need to exert their autonomy proving they are capable and can do things for themselves. Or ironically, it is a sign they lack a sense of belonging and significance.

The underlying fear is that they aren’t good enough or don’t feel loved. They live in fear that someone will discover their imposter syndrome–they aren’t a strong leader after all, or other peeps don’t like them for who they are.

Our role as a parent

So what would you rather teach your Little Peeps? The power of being Friendly BUU or Bossy BUU?

Here are a few simple things you can try:

  • Take a look at your impact on your Little Peeps. What are you modelling? If you are constantly bossing them, find ways to balance the book by showing them different ways to get what you want and need.
  • Spend 10 minutes a day with each individual peep, solely concentrating on them. This will fill their significance need, and you’ll be amazed at what an impact that can have.
  • Talk to them through scenarios and ask them questions about how it makes them feel when someone doesn’t share or takes their toys or says mean things to them. What does the result look and feel like for each character? What would be a nicer way to get a good result? Allow your Little Peep to come up with their own conclusions and only guide them if required.
  • Use the BUU ‘Tude Cards to find opposites (Bossy or Friendly) and help them expand their emotional vocabulary in a fun and engaging way.

Other resources you may find helpful:

Part 1 of 3: Basic Human Psychological Needs Series – Why do humans long to belong?

For those who need quick access to the ‘Tude Choosing tool!

Blog header image by zhenzhong liu on Unsplash. eCourse images by Ben White on Unsplash

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