Lots of people stick up for bossy girls (and boys).
“Don’t call my daughter bossy, she’s a leader!”
Bossy, bold, being a leader, brave, (whatever you want to call it) are all qualities that seem to appeal to our society.
But, what if your kid isn’t bossy?
What if your kid is a sensitive little follower, and copies other kids in a bid to make everyone happy? What if your kid is a people pleaser? Of course, us adults like if a kid follows our lead. But, if a kid follows and copies other kids, we see this behavior in a negative light.
Does being a follower make your kid a sissy? Weak? Unoriginal?
I’ve always been openly verbal about my opinions (hello, I’m a blogger). But, my five year old is very different.
She just doesn’t boss other people around. She will if it’s important enough, but it’s rare. She fights with her sister, of course, but around other kids, she’s pretty cruisy.
I’ve heard a few times that to copy and follow others around is actually a form of survival of the fittest. “Let me see how I can make people happy so that I don’t get… well… you know… killed.”
Throughout history, copying and an eager-to-please mentality is probably what saved the lives of a fair chunk of many populations, in the likely event that their civilization was invaded by another. The few brave head strong ‘bossy‘ people out there, while I admire their courage to stand up for what they believed in… well, that leadership trait in them was often either what led them to the top, got them killed, or made them very unhappy in life. For most people, it was just easier to assimilate and move on.
I know if you’re a deeply passionate and opinionated person, who was raised in a modern democracy, like myself, the idea of being go-with-the-flow when it comes to culture annihilation, or anything you don’t believe in, is an abomination to your soul… But imagine if you weren’t such a feisty person? Maybe there are some battles that are just not worth fighting for?
Parents with follower type of children should be careful to make sure that their children also have the capacity to stand up for themselves, or to seek help, when they need to. But, we don’t need to artificially toughen these kids up. The ‘follower‘ type behavior can be considered a virtue, when it is cultivated with awareness. Follower children make and keep friends easily. They’re good team players and they like feeling part of the community. And remember that all children naturally copy each other as a way of learning about their society.
Sometimes follower type of kids can get into trouble, especially when they follow the wrong types of people. If your kid is a follower type and their judgement isn’t that great, then rather than trying to toughen them up into ‘leaders‘, just try letting them hang around with the right sorts of people and set good examples.
Give ‘follower kids‘ good company. If they go to school, let their teacher know about this tendency to follow and see if the teacher can help to encourage them to hang around kids who will lead them in the right direction.
Children should have the chance to interact with people of ALL ages, not just kids their same age. When children have the opportunity to hang around younger kids than themselves, then the older kids can become the leaders. When little kids hang around older kids, then the little ones get the chance follow more. Some of my daughter’s favorite people are my own best friends!
All kids are perfect the way they are. Bossy or followers or somewhere in the middle. As parents, we can nurture the qualities that we want to see blossom. I can see that my daughter is happy being a little follower. I’m also happy to let her be like that, even though at first, that sort of behavior was not familiar to me at all!