Field Guide to the Alpha Child

He might be a leader, but teamwork is not his forte. How to help a bossy child work alongside others.

By Sarah Pottieger
Mar 16, 2015




Mar 16, 2015

If your kid is a born leader, he’s probably chatty and generous, but he may also be a know-it-all and a perfectionist. Your job: Bring out your child’s good qualities without making him feel incompetent. Do it with these tips:

Encourage teamwork
Involve your kid in a community project, like prepping sandwiches for a shelter or cleaning up the playground, to give him a sense of purpose without always having to be the head honcho. He’ll practice following directions and working alongside others. Or give him grown-up chores — writing the grocery list, say — to help him feel useful.

Widen his comfort zone
Alpha kids shy away from unfamiliar situations where they might make a mistake or, worse, fail. If your kid is a ham, encourage her to try out for the school play. Whether she lands a lead part or a bit role — or nothing at all — she’ll learn that she can survive and even triumph over scary situations.

Build up empathy
Your child’s bossy nature won’t cost him friends when he’s little, but around age 8, his actions may begin to turn off potential buddies. A simple role-playing activity (“If you were in my shoes …”) can teach him how to consider other people’s emotions.

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Source: Michelle Anthony, Ph.D., co-author of Little Girls Can Be Mean
Photo Credit: Brand new Images/Getty Images

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Social and Emotional Development