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Is "bossy" appropriate for a year 2 report?

(171 Posts)
treelily Wed 16-Jul-14 11:19:15

DD's teacher has written she is "bossy and likes her own way, but hopefully this will disappear as she matures". Is this appropriate on a report? It is intended to be read by the children as we have to return a form that we and DD write comments on.

DH says well it is true, which i know it is, but I think it could have been written in a more constructive way.

iK8 Wed 16-Jul-14 11:23:29

Bossy is a deeply sexist term so it isn't really appropriate. Would she refer to the boys as bossy too?

That said if she is so domineering that it needs pointing out on a school report it is probably something she does need to be aware of and work on. Social development is just as important as academic development.

FishCalledWonder Wed 16-Jul-14 11:25:28

Not a word I would have used on a report, there are other ways of communicating the same point.

SillyTillyTilly Wed 16-Jul-14 11:27:27

I wouldn't have thought that was appropriately worded.
I've only recently become aware of the sexist nature and application of the word, but even before then I would have said the same thing.

ZanyMobster Wed 16-Jul-14 11:30:20

I would say they shouldn't have used that wording but it definitely should be included as it is something for you DD to work on in future.

Littlefish Wed 16-Jul-14 11:30:53

It probably wouldn't use the word bossy in a written report, but I have certainly written things like "Is always keen to dictate the direction of games or activities and needs let others suggest ideas". Or "becomes frustrated when others try to change the way a game is being played". Or "Prefers to play alone if others will not play games the way xxx wants them to.

I agree with iK8 that it's important for any social difficulties or successes to be commented on reports just as much as academic issues or strengths.

My dd is definitely bossy at school and has learned the hard way that she can't always dictate games. I would have no problem having it pointed out in her report in some way. I would use it as an opportunity to discuss it with her (again!)

iK8 - I don't consider bossy to be a sexist term, and when talking to parents, would refer to both boys and girls as bossy.

enderwoman Wed 16-Jul-14 11:32:04

I never realised that it was a sexist term. My children (both sexes) use the word bossy to describe girls and boys and so do I. Am I committing a major faux pas!

Littlefish Wed 16-Jul-14 11:33:31

That's what I'm wondering too enderwoman. Can someone explain it to me please.

MirandaWest Wed 16-Jul-14 11:35:38

I agree that I would be surprised to see that word on a report, but would use it generally to refer to either boys or girls.

BlameItOnTheBogey Wed 16-Jul-14 11:38:10

Ender google 'ban bossy'. It's one of those words (like 'pushy') that is disproportionately applied to women and girls - usually when they are doing things that no one would blink at a male doing.

SillyTillyTilly Wed 16-Jul-14 11:39:19

Yes, that's right. What bogey said.

affinia Wed 16-Jul-14 11:39:19

I didn't realise it had sexist connotations. People call my DS bossy all the time. He is. I can't really think of another word that better describes that particular aspect of him. The fact its missing on his report is because their school writes such such amazingly positive reports that sometimes I think they've been written by a flock of angels rather than the teachers!

What are the non sexist terms (genuine question) ?

Footle Wed 16-Jul-14 11:41:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Whereisegg Wed 16-Jul-14 11:42:22

There is a recent thread in classics about what terms really mean in school reports, and lots of parents wish that teachers would just say it how it is.

If your dh and you agree with the statement, then maybe focus on trying to change that behaviour rather than wondering if the teacher is being rude.

Saying it in a different way doesn't change the fact that she is bossy enough at school for it to warrant a mention.

My ds is lazy at writing and I wish his report would just plain say so instead of dancing around it.

Longdistance Wed 16-Jul-14 11:42:26

If it's meant for your dd to read, then I'm sure the teacher was simplifying it for her, rather than beating around the bush.

VeryPunny Wed 16-Jul-14 11:45:16

Straight and to the point - I find it much clearer than some of the more convoluted statements that Littlefish suggested.

Never thought of it as being a sexist term though, I suspect it is though!

SillyTillyTilly Wed 16-Jul-14 11:49:04

It's not that it's never used for boys (people keep giving personal examples of this) but that it is disproportionately used for women and girls.

nonicknameseemsavailable Wed 16-Jul-14 11:53:25

I had no idea there was any sexist side to it at all.

I actually personally think that if it is true then yes it is appropriate to use it. but then I think a lot of reports are too busy trying to be nice and PC about everything.

Do you think that AS it is intended for the child to see then they have tried to use language the child will understand rather than go round the houses with a more frilly sentence?

melmo26 Wed 16-Jul-14 11:54:03

I would prefer my DDS teachers to tell things as they are. I want to know if my daughter's are bossy, cheeky, shy etc etc.

I think teachers should be honest on reports and not just give me a praising report.

Bunnyjo Wed 16-Jul-14 11:54:30

Maybe the teacher could have used the word domineering or overbearing, but in essence I would rather reports are blunt than beating around the bush.

DD's report mentioned that she is a perfectionist; it is something that I have brought up with the teacher in the past and the teacher agreed. Maybe DD's report could have said "sets herself very high standards" or "strives to give her very best", but in truth she is a perfectionist and can become anxious when she feels she isn't performing to her own exacting standards.

The fact the teacher has mentioned it means it is something that needs tackled.

mummytime Wed 16-Jul-14 11:57:25


Longer answer: I would photocopy it and refer it to the HT (and probably CC to the governors).
No teachers I know would ever use that kind of language. They might say "Sophie is strong willed" or "Sophie likes to take charge".

Reports are supposed to be PC. Everyone knows what it means. If a teacher writes such unguarded comments then they are likely to be restricted to a comment bank in future.

Guitargirl Wed 16-Jul-14 12:03:58

I would worry less about the teacher's wording and focus more on your DD's behaviour. Put it this way, if the teacher had said that your DD deals well with the bossiness of other children, would you have worried about the wording then?

treelily Wed 16-Jul-14 12:04:03

Thanks it is interesting to hear different views.

IK8, ZanyMobster, Littlefish I completely agree that it is an issue and does have a place on the report.

I think that the statement as it stands doesn't actually help her to work on it though. Yes, bossy is a word she understands, but I am not sure she knows what to do about it.

I suppose I would never use bossy to describe a child myself, especially when talking to them. I often say to DD remember to let everyone have a turn choosing, I think x can decide that for themselves etc. rather than stop being bossy, as I don't think that helps her learn how to behave.

Interestingly, DH brought up the sexist side - He wondered whether the boys were being described as 'natural leaders'.

Whereisegg Wed 16-Jul-14 12:07:40

My dd10 has an incredibly bossy/overbearing friend.

I am friends with her dm who uses 'natural born leader' to describe her dd.
It's not true, she just wants things her own way ALL THE TIME.

Nobody is suggesting your yr2 dd should know how to fix this, but she clearly needs more guidance around this issue.

BlameItOnTheBogey Wed 16-Jul-14 12:08:18

But, but but to those asking what word would have been better, this isn't about the terms used but about the identification of behavior. So in considering whether it is sexist the trick would not be just to find another word to use instead but to ask yourself whether, if the behavior were being displayed by a male, you would have the same reaction to it. By way of example, I recently interviewed a young woman for a position on a panel with two men. She was a stand out candidate but both males described her as 'pushy'. I called them on it and asked them to talk me through how they reached that conclusion. Then I asked whether they would have used pushy to describe a male demonstrating those traits. She got the job.

And on the issue of boys being described as pushy, I agree that it is about disproportionate application to girls. But anyway, my own observations suggest that it is applied to small boys until about the age of five or six and then it ceases to be applied to them.

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