How to help your child be more assertive
Teaching children assertiveness skills helps them to stand up for themselves, build confidence and have positive interactions with their classmates. Read on to discover why teaching assertiveness is important and how you can help your class develop this skill. Being assertive is a core communication skill. Assertiveness can help you express yourself effectively and stand up for your point of view, while also respecting the rights and beliefs of others.
Children who have high self-esteem know how to assert themselves. They are seldom bullies and can deftly manage bullies. If as parents we can build our children’s self-esteem, assertiveness will follow naturally.
Sometimes kids copy and follow friends. This is natural but you must encourage your child to do and say what she likes. Tell her that even if she did not agree with her friends, they would like her still. If not, then they are not her friends.
When children are shy they also shy away from objecting when someone behaves unpleasantly with them. They don’t have to become extroverted but they do need to speak up and stand up for themselves. Tell them to firmly and calmly communicate what they don’t like and not accept it.
We find it more efficient to take decisions for our children but sometimes we should let them call the shots for it will encourage them to speak up and have an opinion. Ask them open-ended questions so they are encouraged to think for themselves. Let them know there is no one right answer. This will help them trust themselves and their own opinions.
Often we give an opinion in such aggressive manner that it hurts or offends the sentiments of others. This is aggression. An assertive person understands that an opinion is heard and understood only when spoken respectfully and kindly. Aggression just inspires aggression. Assertiveness ensures your point is put across without upsetting the other person. That is something we need to reiterate to children time and again.
Do you deal with situations and people aggressively, passively or assertively? Your children will follow what you do. If you are complaining to customer care for poor service, your child is listening. So set an example for them and talk respectfully but assertively. Tell your child it’s important to be assertive to take care of one’s interest but aggression is not the way to achieve it.
We all tend to alter our opinions or refrain from speaking up for the sake of peace. Teach your child that it’s OK to have a loved one or an outsider disagree with her. Tell her that everyone thinks and feels differently and it’s not possible to find agreement with everyone.
When we tell our children to not do something, we are teaching them that there are physical and emotional boundaries that one must maintain for their own good and for others’ too. When you tell your child he can watch TV for half an hour only, stick to your words. This will teach your child to stick to his words. These boundaries will also teach him to not allow others to take advantage of him.
Following through on discipline is crucial. Having said that, children often assert their autonomy as they grow up. They resist following rules and will express anger when you resist back. Do not get angry. This is a time when parents need to be discerning and flexible. Perhaps you can discuss why she doesn’t want to switch off the TV as per the rules. After much negotiation, if she is still adamant, tell her she must switch it off after half an hour.
It’s common for children to disagree with you or do things you don’t like. If your child whines when you ask him to do a chore, don’t tell him he is being a bad baby. It will just hurt his feelings. Instead tell him that when he whines, you can’t understand what he says or there is a better way to communicate or that this way of talking is unpleasant. This will encourage him to voice his opinions still but in a constructive/respectful way.
Children are much smarter than we give them credit for. If you reason with them on why they need to follow certain rules, they are more likely to follow them happily. Explaining rules lets your kid know that rules are not arbitrary.
Being assertive is a quality that everyone needs. It is widely agreed that assertiveness is an important skill for children to have. It is central to healthy communication and can help children express what they need or want effectively while respecting themselves and other people. So what are you waiting for? Try out these ways out to help your child be more assertive. Also share with us if you have any other ideas in your mind. We are here to listen to your perspective always.
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