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AIBU?

Ok for teacher to call child bossy

207 replies

Whawhawha · 24/01/2023 17:25

So for context- my DD is 4 years old and has just started Reception. Her class teacher told me (during my first meeting with her) that she thought my child was bossy and couldn’t do x y and z. Nothing positive. 😪

aibu?

yanbu - teachers shouldn’t call children bossy

yabu - you’re being over sensitive- it’s fine.

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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

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Bigweekend · 24/01/2023 17:34

Every teacher should be able to find something positive about a 4yo, solid be very disappointed about that.

I remember being very upset when early parents meetings for DS1 seemed to be lost of what he couldn't do. I think it'd because they're always working towards the next "target" so they tell you what they should be able to do rather than what they've already achieved. None of it really maters at 4yo IMO.

Bossy is something that's never levelled at boys, so I'd object on the basis that it's sexist rather than the criticism itself

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WetBandits · 24/01/2023 17:36

Is she quite bossy, though? If so, the teacher didn’t say anything untrue and I’d be looking at how I could encourage DD to be kinder to her friends.

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mikado1 · 24/01/2023 17:37

Bossy can be a fair description ie telling people what to do, thinks she's in charge and likely rubbing people up the wrong way. I might not use the term myself, but Id describe it..Finding nothing positive is the much bigger issue, imo, and that's not fair.

Yes, boys are sometimes seen as bossy too.

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afuckinggoat · 24/01/2023 17:37

I'm a former primary school teacher and I despise the term "bossy" being used in a negative way for girls. Being likened to a boss should be a positive thing. You hardly ever hear boys being called "bossy" with the same derision.

When parents would call their own daughters bossy, I would reframe every time to praise their daughters for being confident and assertive.

Sometimes, children do need to find a way to express themselves ways that, perhaps, demonstrate more that they are listening to others effectively. However, in my experience, people who call girls bossy are looking for them to be less assertive. Assertive girls are fabulous.

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SavoirFlair · 24/01/2023 17:37

Why @Whawhawha do you need things sugarcoated with a ”positive” to outweigh the negative?

YABU. Take the feedback, see how you can work with the school to help your child.

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Zola1 · 24/01/2023 17:38

In report writing about children I tend to write 'likes to lead in play' or 'tends to want to lead amongst her peers' etc. Essentially it's the same thing just more kind as I don't like bossy - prefer strength based

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Heartsofstone · 24/01/2023 17:38

Is she bossy ?? Does it matter if she’s assertive??

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Tenuouslink · 24/01/2023 17:38

YANBU

and how did I know it would be a DD before opening this post

I can still remember my father going ape shit at a teacher when I was in primary for the same thing. It’s every day sexism and it’s not ok.

Every time this happened he asked why ‘Bradley’ or ‘George’ hadn’t been called bossy when he has witnessed them ‘directing’ the class before. He even overheard one of their reviews and the teacher even said they were very good at ‘directing’ play with others.

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Needanewnamebeingwatched · 24/01/2023 17:39

Girls are bossy and boys leaders

I would have a word

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Shampern · 24/01/2023 17:39

'Bossy' might mean a potential leader or a class organiser. I wouldn't knock it.

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4thonthe4th · 24/01/2023 17:39

Bigweekend · 24/01/2023 17:34

Every teacher should be able to find something positive about a 4yo, solid be very disappointed about that.

I remember being very upset when early parents meetings for DS1 seemed to be lost of what he couldn't do. I think it'd because they're always working towards the next "target" so they tell you what they should be able to do rather than what they've already achieved. None of it really maters at 4yo IMO.

Bossy is something that's never levelled at boys, so I'd object on the basis that it's sexist rather than the criticism itself

Wrong. My bossy 3yo son regularly gets called bossy by his teacher. It’s now somewhat of a running joke at pick up.

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Nanny0gg · 24/01/2023 17:43

How did I know it would be a girl?

And is there a way they can channel this 'bossiness' into something positive?

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NewShoes · 24/01/2023 17:43

That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of ‘bossy’ as a gendered insult before. I regularly call my 3 year old boy ‘bossy’ when he’s trying to order us around!

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arcencielpoisson · 24/01/2023 17:44

Bigweekend · 24/01/2023 17:34

Every teacher should be able to find something positive about a 4yo, solid be very disappointed about that.

I remember being very upset when early parents meetings for DS1 seemed to be lost of what he couldn't do. I think it'd because they're always working towards the next "target" so they tell you what they should be able to do rather than what they've already achieved. None of it really maters at 4yo IMO.

Bossy is something that's never levelled at boys, so I'd object on the basis that it's sexist rather than the criticism itself

Never leveled at boys? What a load of tosh.

I would normally say the child is one of the leaders in class or prefers to take charge of situations...

But I wouldn't be upset by it.

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Create10 · 24/01/2023 17:46

I used to be called bossy as a child. I have never, ever heard a boy described as bossy. YANBU.

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Sexypyjamas · 24/01/2023 17:46

I wouldn't be that bothered. One teacher called my reception age DD a fuss pot. She was right though 🤣

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Create10 · 24/01/2023 17:47

NewShoes · 24/01/2023 17:43

That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of ‘bossy’ as a gendered insult before. I regularly call my 3 year old boy ‘bossy’ when he’s trying to order us around!

You're saying it with affection. The teacher is saying it with disapproval.

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Lindtcat · 24/01/2023 17:47

I don't think the fact that she was called bossy is the problem. I think that she was unable to say nothing positive is not great, surely she has some positive atributes about her that we're worth while to mention. My DD is 6 and she is very bossy! I've observed it myself. It wouldn't bother me if a teacher said it aslong as they had other good things to say as well.

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FederalDogClub · 24/01/2023 17:50

Yes, it's a put down and sexist.

Was it a teacher or TA? Either way very old fashioned.

Your dd is so young and has years to learn how to be a well balanced person. Most adults struggle with this so why hold a very young child to impossibly high standards.

At 4 or 5 some kids are shy, some very forward, only a few are the teacher's perfect pet in infant school. I know, they like them, calm, docile, rule following and charming as well as bright and academic all in one. Ironically at that age the bright and curious ones are still learning to pace themselves.

It would be much more professional to say what exactly your dd is doing that the teacher finds problematic so that you can work on the the behaviour rather than labelling your dd's personality. It's lazy and unimaginative of the teacher.

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AgentProvocateur · 24/01/2023 17:51

Not good that she couldn’t find anything nice to say about your child, but by telling you she’s bossy the subtext may be that she’s alienating friends. That’s the problem - not the bossiness

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Paq · 24/01/2023 17:53

Bossy has misogynistic vibes. Boys and men are rarely called bossy.

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bellac11 · 24/01/2023 17:54

Zola1 · 24/01/2023 17:38

In report writing about children I tend to write 'likes to lead in play' or 'tends to want to lead amongst her peers' etc. Essentially it's the same thing just more kind as I don't like bossy - prefer strength based

If its a strength, then thats great. If its not a strength then why say 'strengths based' when its not. You're just sugar coating what might be an unpleasant characteristic because of this fake notion society now has that you cant say anything accurately anymore.

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Legotiger · 24/01/2023 17:54

My Reception teacher wrote this about me in my first ever school report, circa 1983! Wasn’t right then and isn’t now. I’d be making a complaint.

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Newrumpus · 24/01/2023 17:55

My DD was described as ‘a good organiser of others’ when in reception. I knew immediately what that meant.

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RedHelenB · 24/01/2023 17:57

afuckinggoat · 24/01/2023 17:37

I'm a former primary school teacher and I despise the term "bossy" being used in a negative way for girls. Being likened to a boss should be a positive thing. You hardly ever hear boys being called "bossy" with the same derision.

When parents would call their own daughters bossy, I would reframe every time to praise their daughters for being confident and assertive.

Sometimes, children do need to find a way to express themselves ways that, perhaps, demonstrate more that they are listening to others effectively. However, in my experience, people who call girls bossy are looking for them to be less assertive. Assertive girls are fabulous.

Being confident and assertive is very different to being bossy though. Being bossy is ordering people around, thinking your the boss of them when in fact you aren't. I would tell boys not to act bossily just as much as girls .

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