4 Steps to Raising Assertive Kids
July 14th, 2017
You would think that having a well-mannered and gracious child has no downside. While having an easy-going nature is all fine and dandy, trouble comes when your child’s pleasantness leads to being labelled a pushover. It’s as important to raise your child to be assertive as it is to raise them to be thoughtful and considerate. Kids who don’t learn to stand up for themselves can become easily influenced by peer pressure. Here are four steps to teaching your kids to stand up for themselves and help them become more assertive.
- Explain Boundaries
As parents, we are no stranger to setting boundaries. We train our children to toe the line and drawing clear boundaries helps us teach them respect and consideration. Likewise, by understanding their personal boundaries, children will learn to respect themselves and by extension, their rights and belongings.
- Encourage Them To Speak Up
Once your little one understands their rights, we can start to teach them how to exercise them. Many children feel obligated to obey adults because that’s how we raise them. However, this blind belief can put them in dangerous situations. Help them distinguish when their rights have been violated by role-playing different scenarios they may encounter and encourage them to speak up when they feel something isn’t right.
- Assertiveness Isn’t Aggression
It’s important for children to understand that standing up for themselves requires neither violence nor name calling. If you do catch your child being aggressive, understand that it might be a reaction to not knowing how to express themselves properly. To prevent your little one from resorting to angry behaviour, teach them how to identify and explain their feelings. Armed with the right vocabulary to express themselves, your child is less likely to lash out in frustration.
- Respecting Their Autonomy
Imagine you reprimanding your little one over a messy mishap. Your child can either accept it and quietly harbour resentment, or speak up and tell you it’s unfair of you to lecture her over a simple accident. As children learn to be more autonomous, defiance becomes a natural part of development. While it’s not alright for them to shout at you, it’s perfectly fine for them to correct you. When this does happen, do praise them for being assertive to encourage the behaviour.
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