Saturday, August 17, 2013

Assertiveness Post #1

I don't typically post on the weekends unless I've missed a weekday post. But recently, I've begun an upgrade of my blog, one that I hope will make it easier for visitors to find posts that relate to particular topics. 

The post below is the first of three that I'm reposting from another site, and will be filing under the "Acting Assertively" tab at the top my blog page. Originally written for the parents of my students at East York Elementary School, these three posts on assertive behavior first appeared on my "Moodle."

For more information on the topic of teaching assertive behavior to kids, check out my book, Acting Assertively.
Do you equate assertive behavior with aggressive behavior, viewing both as bold, or even rude? Or, do you see assertive behavior as something to strive for, a way to stand up for yourself without hurting anyone else?

I subscribe to the second definition, but readily acknowledge that if adults are divided in our opinions about assertiveness, then our children must really be confused. Even in today's society where bullying prevention programs abound, many adults still equate assertiveness in children with disrespect. And, many kids prefer playmates who are passive, because those are the children who willingly accommodate others' needs with little regard for their own.

But assertiveness is a life skill. With all the choices and challenges our kids face, it's more important than ever that they learn to stand up for themselves and their beliefs in a non-threatening way, and that they learn that respect (including self-respect) and problem-solving can coexist.

Girls, in particular, struggle with this. Concerned about being "nice" and maintaining relationships, they are often tempted to deem their own needs less important than others' needs in order to avoid conflict. But if they can't learn to demand respect from their girlfriends, how will they ever do so with boyfriends and spouses?

When I wrote Acting Assertively, I was teaching these lessons to fourth and fifth graders, boys and girls alike. Now, almost 15 years later, I still believe that the key to problem-solving lies in mutual respect, and that unless we expect others to treat us with respect, they are often content not to do so. And, as the mother of a teenage daughter, I want to make sure that I am raising a child who is not afraid to stand up for herself, and who has the skills to do so without trampling on others.

In future posts, I'll be sharing some tips from Acting Assertively that can help you to accomplish these goals with your own child.

No comments:

Post a Comment