Step Teach How to Be a Team Player

Bossy kids are self-centered: they want things to go their way and rarely consider or even acknowledge other kids' opinions or desires. One way to curb your child's self-centered, bossy ways is to teach and then expect him to use more cooperative behaviors to help him learn to consider the other kid's desires. Here are a few strategies to help your kid learn to consider the other kid's desires. Remember to teach one skill at a time, and then practice, model, and reinforce it again and again. Only then will your kid be more likely to incorporate the skill into her daily behavior.

• Explain the balance of power. Tell your kid that teamwork means a level playing field where everyone is equal.

• Teach host etiquette. One simple rule of cooperation is to enforce that the guest always chooses first. If your child is the host, he must ask his guest to select the first game or activity.

• Use decision breakers. Domineering kids want to make the decisions, so teach your kid ways to make things fairer, like playing rock, paper, scissors; drawing straws; or flipping a coin.

These strategies are great when two kids can't decide on rules, who gets to choose what to do, or even who goes first.

• Teach "Grandma's Rule." The rule is simple and works like a charm to makes things fairer: "If you cut the cake, the other person decides which piece to take."The rule can apply to lots of things. For example: if you chose the game, the other person gets to go first; if you poured the lemonade, the other person chooses his glass first.

• Set a timer. Teach younger kids to agree on a set amount of time—usually only a few minutes—for using an item. Oven timers or sand timers are great devices for younger kids to use. Older kids can use the minute hands on their watches.When the time is up, the item is passed on.

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