Is it important to raise assertive kids?
Does your child stand up for herself? Is it important that she does? We looked into the issue of raising assertive children and were surprised by the results. Read on for more.
Assertiveness is an important quality to nurture in our children. Normally confused with aggression by some parents, assertiveness is defined as healthiest style of communicating with people as it is neither passive (weak) nor aggressive (mean). An assertive child usually recognizes his/her own rights and stands up for it but at the same time recognizes and respects the rights of other people. As Asians we naturally shy away from any form of aggression. And we certainly don’t want to encourage our children to be too outspoken. That amounts to rudeness. But assertiveness is not rudeness. It doesn’t mean disrespecting authority. Its about confidence and the ability to express ourselves with respect. It is a positive trait that we should nurture in our children so that they are able to stand up for themselves as they get older.
Advantages of assertiveness
When parents raise assertive kids, their children learn to respect others and defend themselves particularly from bullies. This is because assertive children are genuinely confident about themselves. Like some adults, most kids are hesitant about being assertive especially when there is a possibility of being rejected. But with the proper guidance, even a shy and meek child can be coached to be assertive.
Examples of being assertive
Assertiveness in children can come in many forms. Here are a few examples: Your son has received a failing grade on a certain subject. If he was a passive child, he’ll just accept the grade without complaints. An assertive child would approach the teachers and say: “I am sad that I failed this test. I worked so hard and it didn’t reflect on this grade. Can I be given a chance to make corrections in order to change my result?” Your daughter is waiting in line to buy some lunch in the cafeteria when someone pushes her. Instead of just keeping quiet and be bullied repeatedly, she will confidently say “I know you’re hungry and would really want to eat but so am I. It’s my turn to go buy some lunch, if you want to eat you can fall in line behind me.” Assertiveness in children can also be showed as not responding to taunts and jeers of other immature friends and just walking away. It could also mean saying a firm “no!” over and over again to someone who’s telling them to do something illegal or inappropriate.
RELATED: Is your child the preschool bully?
To learn how to raise assertive kids, go to the next page:
How to raise assertive kids
Parents who want to raise assertive kids should themselves be assertive so they can model the behavior. If you are with your child and eating at a restaurant with really bad service, show some assertiveness to correct the situation. Your child will notice how you had handled the situation and will copy it when the need arises. Assertiveness isn’t innate in children so it is important for parents to continuously coach and encourage their children. If your child tells you about a situation wherein he/she was put down or bullied by other child, ask her how she would like to solve the problem and if asked, offer some ideas. Keep encouraging your child. Train your child to use “I” statements when being assertive. For example, “I don’t like it when you borrow my things and you break them” or “I feel bad that you treat me like that because I thought you are my friend.” Teach your child to say the “I” statements in a clear voice while maintaining eye contact.
Have you raised assertive kids? Share your story with us. We want to hear!