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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How to I protect my child from bossy kids at school?

    Our daughter is age 8 and she has mentioned that there are a group of bossy girls at school that make her feel very left out. As parents, we cannot intervene with those girls directly, so how can we help our daughter?
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  • 1


    Emma Thompson


    Emma has over 10 years experience working with women, children, young people and their families in a variety of roles. This includes significant experience working … View Profile

    Hello there

    I agree with all of Grant's suggestions. I would also add that it might be useful to help your daughter develop assertive behaviours. (This may be something the school counsellor could help her work on).

    Start by encouraging her that it's ok to say no and that her rights, thoughts and feelings are just as important as those of her classmates. Role modelling clear and confident verbal language as well as relaxed and open non-verbal body language can be helpful.

    You can help your daughter develop assertive language by modelling and encouraging the use of “I” language in the home. This means helping her to state:

    • how she feels
    • the action
    • the reasons
    • what she would prefer to happen

    So a basic formula: “I feel…… when….. because….. and I would prefer….”

    An example for her…. “I feel frustrated when you leave me out at lunchtime because I thought you were my friends and I would like to be included in the game”

    A fun thing to do at home to help her develop an understanding of the difference between being assertive, passive and aggressive is to watch her favourite TV shows with her and point out different character behaviour. You can then ask her if these characters are like anyone she knows and talk about ways to respond assertively in challenging situations.

    Hope this helped!

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