It’s so wonderful that you are reaching out here. You have been on quite a journey with your boys. You have been loving them well and listening to them well for quite a few years. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were just FIXED? You know.. the way you can get a car fixed. But our dear sweet kiddos can get disconnected and anxious and go off-track so much more than we would like.
That’s why whenever something is bothering us our our child, our first step ALWAYS has to be Listening Partnerships. That’s the first thing to do. Take all your feelings, fears and judgements to Listening Time and just let go!!! Rant and rave about how rude your son is being, how you’d really like to punish him – maybe put him in time out until he’s 20 or put tape over his mouth; Then explore how you were spoken to as a child; any memories of other children speaking to you rudely; You can imagine that this is a good thing. That he’s going to be a great leader someday – ordering people around. Laugh and cry and tantrum and yell and swear and get all your feelings up and out.
What we know is that children can think well and make good choices when they feel SAFE AND CONNECTED. It’s very difficult to help our child to feel safe and connected, when we are feeling tight and judgmental. We can talk and talk and talk to them about their behavior, but when they are feeling anxious and they CAN’T THINK, they won’t be able to do what we ask.
You say you have a short regular Special Time. Is this regular every day? It may be that in addition to the regular Special Time, your son needs specific Special Time before you head into these big anxiety provoking activities. Field trips are loaded events for all children. Too much excitement. Lots of disconnection. And many children go off-track.
You absolutely can come in close to your son and BRING a Playful Limit. But, again, YOU have to be absolutely relaxed, warm, inviting and playful. You cannot have any tension, anxiety or judgement of your own. If you come AT him to reprimand or scold, you are adding fear on top of fear and you may very well get more off-track behavior.
These articles can give you some playful ideas
This article has a section on Setting A Limit around the bossiness and then staylistening
Perhaps there are other parents who have some playful ideas and things they’ve done that have helped their child who was off-track and bossy…
I would summarize all this by saying:
– it’s crucial that you get LISTENING TIME
– stop talking about the behavior and start being playful with it
– in the moment you can set a playful limit and listen for the laughter
– or you can come in close and set a kind loving firm limit and then LISTEN without judgement or tension
– add in more Special Time – especially before you go on these kinds of anxiety provoking trips.
What’s most important is that you see that your son cannot help this bossiness. It is his best way of coping with his own anxiety and he is asking for help.
You are such an awesome Warrior Mom, Mahite. You know your son is good and I know you will figure out how to help him let go of this particular coping behavior. Let us know how it goes…
Peace & Smiles,
Certified Instructor, Hand in Hand Parenting
Conscious Child-raising Creating Cooperation and Peace
Follow me on facebook: Parenting by Connection with Kathy
“If we are to teach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with children” – Gandhi