Who better to offer parental advice on how to handle this cheeky kid comment than Betsy Brown Braun, author of, yes, You’re Not The Boss of Me. Braun, a renowned child development and behavior specialist and mother of (adult) triplets, says parents have to lay down the law, without any ambiguity. Here’s Braun’s suggestion of how to respond:

“I know you don’t like it when I say, ‘You have to take a bath. That’s non-negotiable.’ Then you go back and revisit and say, ‘You know when you said, “You’re not the boss of me?” You know what? You’re absolutely right. I can’t control when you eat or poop. But there are some things in this world that you do need to do because everyone has to do them and I am still your mom and still responsible for your well-being and responsible for how you behave in the world.

“When you’re a grown-up, I will most definitely not be the boss of you. In 10 years, when you can drive your own car and pay your bills, then you don’t have to listen to a word I say. In 10 years, I have great news for you: you can totally be the complete boss of everything in your life. You can ignore everything I say. As long as you’re living in this house, you have to follow my rules.”

Here’s how 4 other parenting experts say to respond…


YouTube video

Bruce Feiler
The Secrets of Happy Families author Bruce Feiler offers this magic bullet to avoid confrontation over this childish quip — a solution that makes everybody happy. Format: Video (1:36)

YouTube video

Christine Carter
The Raising Happiness author and parenting expert says the more you let your kids be the boss, the less you’re likely to hear this complaint. Format: Video (1:01)

Adele Faber
Adele Faber, co-author of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, offers an approach for mutual problem solving, even with young kids.
Format: Article

Gabor Mate
A statement like this, says the best-selling co-author of Hold On to Your Kids, suggests there’s a disconnect between parent and child that needs mending.Format: Article