How To Raise Assertive Kids

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You can teach your child this skill in your own home.

Here is a little (easy to remember) pattern I like to use with the kids using the word S.T.R.O.N.G.

Say what you want

Talk using positive words

Repeat and Be firm

Only use I rather than U

Never Give Up

Get what you want… but be fair!

S = Say what you want

Be clear & Specific: Teach your child how to get to the point

This can be tricky for children as they get caught up with the emotions of the situation.

T= Talk using positive words

Teach your child to rephrase sentences using all positive words.

Avoiding Don’t, No, Can’t, Hate

R = Repeat and Be firm

Just because we gain the skills to be assertive certainly does not mean that we have the other persons attention and they take heed of our request. It could go un noticed for some time.

Example: A bully – A bully will not back down because they know their victim will back down and the bullying will continue. If the child repeats what they want chances are the bully will back down.

O = Only use ‘I’ statements

The ‘You’ word is a blaming word. An important skill to teach your children is to use ‘I’ rather than ‘You’

If a child blames a bully it just causes a negative reaction.

If a child uses ‘I’ the bully will remain neutral and therefore avoid any added bullying.

Never Give Up

It may sound simple and easy but it can become tiring for a child to keep this up. So enormous encouragement is required.

Teach your child that not giving in is going to help with them getting what they want. Whether it is a bully needing to back down or just your child getting what they want in the play ground around other extra assertive peers.

Teach your child to expect that they will get results. They may not be instant but they will eventually get what they want if they just don’t give up.

Get what you want… but be fair!

Once this skill is learnt they must be able to harness it and play by the rules. Children often go from one extreme to another so it is up to us as parents and educators to help them balance. A way to do this is to ask them to tell you when they have got what they want.

A good way to do this is write the end goal down and revisit it weekly to see how close they are. Once they have reached it teach them to put it in an imaginary box and put it away.

I personally believe that children already have the assertive skill in their family environment. It is just a case of showing them what assertive means, how it is displayed at home and how to implement it into the other areas of their life eg; school.

For example: If a child wants a lolly from the shop they use all the steps above

Say what you want – I want a lolly

Talk using positive words – I will be so happy if I could have a lolly

Repeat and Be firm – I want a lolly, I want a lolly, I want a lolly, I want a lolly, NOW!!!

Only use I statements – I need this lolly and I promise to be really good

Never Give Up – This is true right??

Get what you want… but be fair – Ok, please can I have the lolly after dinner if I eat all my vegetables…

Sound familiar??


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