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Parenting Problem: Help, My Cute 3-Year-Old Is Bossing Me!

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Be the Parent! Don't Let Your Cute Child Boss You!

When you're child bosses you as if she's the parent, you have a parenting problem. Our expert parenting author, Dr. Partridge, wrote a book entitled, Building Character Skills in the Out-of-Control Child. He is sharing a counseling story from his book.

Kristi's Problem Story

One beautiful spring morning an equally beautiful young mother came for an initial appointment with her exceptionally beautiful three-and-one-half-year-old daughter.

We chatted a little with daughter, Kristi, present so I could gain a sense of Kristi's manner and style. Kristi was bright, articulate and pleasant - really quite a delightful little girl.

As I showed her the toys in the adjacent playroom she was comfortable there as long as we left the door slightly ajar so she could hear her mother's voice (without hearing what we were saying).

Her mother was truly concerned with Kristi, "She's charming with other people - as you just saw - but with me she's not warm and affectionate...She is demanding - almost mean in her assertiveness with me."

This mother had returned to part-time graduate studies in the Social and Behavioral Sciences at a nearby university when her daughter was two and a half.

Kristi enjoyed preschool, though she was overbearing with other other kids. Mother didn't see this as anything that would be difficult to correct if it became severe - the big problem was her own relationship with Kristi.

Her marriage was good, except that her husband was a career naval officer and was away so much, even when he wasn't at sea.

Kristi got along with her dad - "It's me, or her, or us that's the problem. Really, I'm the only parent she has most of the time, but she is acting like she is the boss.

Kristi's History:

She had been cuddly and cozy with me, but then it was as if she couldn't be the boss and affectionate at the same time - it's like she wants to be the parent but doesn't know how to be loving too.

"I have not been a neglectful or abusive parent, but I'm afraid of what is happening to Kristi. In my studies I have read about attachment and bonding theory and I'm scared she might become sociopathic - that's what the books say can happen when the bonds of trust break ..."

The Doctor's Diagnosis

I said I was sure that the problem is the relationship - mother/daughter, parent/child has slid out of perspective. The grass is in the sky and the sun is rolling about on the ground. The sense I make of it is that Kristi feels that closeness to you could result in surrender of her power, control, and autonomy that she has come to enjoy. I'm not thinking the bond is broken - it's just wobbling in an unsteady orbit. (From pages 87-89.)


To find out how Dr. Partridge helped Kristi's mom put the sun and the earth in their rightful orbits and get the right balance between herself and her daughter, pick up:

Building Character Skills in the Out-of-Control Child

Cover Building Character Skills in the Out-of-Control

Available at

It's time to PRAISE Dr. Partridge for his wise counsel in helping parents raise their children. He's has an amazing perspective and sees the big picture for children and their futures. His book is committed to helping parents change bad habits before they get too serious.


Dr. Partridge
Dr. Partridge


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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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