Does your child seem to have more power than you in your relationship? Do you find it difficult to get them to listen to you or do what you expect them to? Do they seem dominating and bossy to their peers? Today, more and more parents are having trouble dealing with defiant children who must have their way. This may be because of a rise of what psychologists are calling Alpha children. It’s possible that your little one may have an alpha complex.
What Causes Development Of Alpha Traits?
All children seek attachment which includes a need to be taken care of and protected. Some children, due to a tragic loss or accident in the family or simply their sensitivity to the emotions around them, may perceive their parents or other caregivers as not strong or capable enough to take care of them. This results in an unhealthy display of independence over their actions. Some parents may perceive this to be a good thing. They think their child is maturing and becoming self-dependent. However, the problem arises when kids spend too much time focusing on growing up and taking care of themselves. Instead, they should be playing, learning, and developing socially as other dependent children would.
If they sense hesitancy in your parenting or notice that you tend to ask them what they want to do more often than not, they may try to take on the role of parenting. Encouraging premature independence can also cause alpha traits. Letting them exert independence over their own life may encourage your child to become attached to their peers rather than you. This can become problematic especially in their adolescent years.
Ways To Recognize If Your Child Is An Alpha
- Your alpha child may be bossy and controlling around you as well as their peers.
- Alphas definitely like to take charge and lead.
- They prefer to tell people what to do rather than do what they’re told.
- They may get annoyed and irritated if you ask them to do something. They might even ignore your request.
- They will insist that something isn’t fair when they don’t get their way.
- They may have a tendency to want to take care of others, especially if they seem weak. This extends to parents and siblings as well as peers.
- They may try to hide their own needs and seem self-sufficient.
- They may not be too welcoming of physical affection.
How To Parent An Alpha Child
Fortunately, there are some ways to turn the power dynamic around. These center around assuring your child of your constant presence as a caregiver who is able and confident.
Meet Their Needs But Not Their Wants
Alpha children may place a lot of demands on you, but complying to all of them re-emphasizes the power dynamic as they understand it. Instead, show them that you can meet all their needs whether they are relational, physical, or emotional. Make sure they know you can be a competent caregiver.
Take Initiative For Activities
Instead of planning your schedule around them, let them follow your lead when it comes to daily activities. Your child may be reluctant to leave the house since it is where they have power. Take them out on a run to the grocery store despite protests. It lets them know that you are to be trusted to take care of them. When they are sick or in trouble, you can use the opportunities to show them that everybody needs to be dependent on others from time to time.
Don’t Negotiate With Them
Egalitarian parenting encourages parents to treat their children like equals which just isn’t a good practice. Instead of asking them too many questions (“Are you hungry?” “What would you like to eat?” “Would you like to go to the park?”), read their needs and provide for them. This puts you in charge of their day to day life, rather than the other way round.
While Alpha children can be a handful, it is important to understand the underlying emotions causing them to act out. You can help them feel secure by taking charge and becoming a strong, confident parent who can handle them and their tantrums by providing consistent support and security.