How to raise your child/ren to be confident, assertive and able to stand up for themselves? I see a lot of kids struggling with these very things and wonder if there are any specific things we can do to help prevent these issues in our child? There is a lot of love, stability, etc the usual things they say a child needs, but especially with a more sensitive/serious/reserved child, should there be more effort put into helping them be more confident, assertive and able to stand up for themselves? Especially as they approach the older childhood years and going into the preteen/teen years. I see children who have confidence but are unable to stand up for themselves and be assertive, this concerns me as they get older.
What do you think about this? Anything you think helps children in these ways?
Sensitive, serious, reserved children aren't necessarily children who aren't assertive, confident and able to stand up for themselves. My eldest is all those things and she also embodies the traits you expressed value in. It's my social, outgoing, fun-loving kid who struggles with confidence (though he has grown a great deal in assertiveness and standing up for himself.) He cares too much what others think of him. Fitting in is too important. My serious/reserved kid could care less.
The tween/teen years are riddled with insecurities no matter how you raise your kid. It's a tough time.... it just is. My best advice is to give your child lots of opportunities to figure out what they enjoy and are good at. Kids who have something they feel they do well seem to fair better in the long run. Interest based friendships and adult mentors help them develop a comfort in themselves and give them comfort in being themselves in different situations.
I would agree having them find something they enjoy doing and letting them do it helps build self confidence. I've also just read a suggestion of praising a child when they do stand up for themselves might be a good idea.
Anyone else have any thoughts on this?
i think to plan for teens your work starts as a baby.
in our case i found i did what life allowed me to do. i am the kind of person who doesnt like 'teaching' a child things that they can pick up. and my dd picks up more than by being told (though when she ignores the sign i tell her).
so from 0 - 10 you live your life the way you want your dd to live her life. you cant play lip service and expect your dd to do something else than what you do.
it all came together for dd at 10. that's also when everything else hit the fan. seh went from being confident and assertive to be quiet and shy. i worried for a bit. and then i realised she is changing. she is testing. she is becoming even more aware of the world around her. boys.
now its time for me to sit back and let it happen. the hardest part is to sit back in silence and let dd take the lead.
for now at this age - the best way i can help my dd be confident and assertive is by being there for her. silently. not want to know everything that is going on in her life. learn to trust her. but let her know and feel i am always there for her. always.
praise never worked for dd. she saw through it. but i tell her i believe in her. that failure is just fine. that i know she will figure it out on her own. i am there if she needs help.
Parents need to start from birth and parent with the end results (adulthood) in mind. I constantly asked myself, "Is this what I want 10, 20 years from now?" Behavior that is cute or no big deal when they are toddlers and small children is not cute and is a big deal when they are teens and adults. This doesn't mean that I didn't ignore their needs at every stage but worked to lead them to master the next step and the one after that, etc.
This is your second thread on this subject that I've seen, and I wonder if you could be more specific about the kind of situation where you think it is problematic for a child not to be "assertive".
I was sensitive, serious, and reserved. I rarely "spoke up" in any way. But I did not participate in many of the peer-pressurey things that went on. Being practically invisible, it was easy for me to slip away. If I was uncomfortable with what my peers were doing, I would drift to the perimeter and pick up a book, or in some cases I actually left. For example, in 7th grade my Girl Scout troop had a regular service project sanitizing toys in the childcare center of the church where we met, in the evening when childcare was closed. One time the other girls were in a wild mood and were throwing the toys from storage toward the room where we did the cleaning. I was afraid they would break something or I would get hit by a toy and hurt. I also didn't like that they were hollering at each other, with a lot of profanity, calling each other names--they weren't doing it to me, but just hearing it was bothering me. Our leaders, who normally would have supervised better, were out in the hall talking seriously to each other. (I later learned that one leader's older daughter had been institutionalized for an eating disorder and drug abuse that her mom hadn't known about until it was suddenly very serious--no wonder she was distracted and the other leader felt it was important to listen!) I went into a room from which we'd already collected the toys and stood there in the dark looking out the window for a while. When I could tell that nobody had noticed I wasn't around, I went from that room into the hall, left the church, and walked to the nearby public library where my dad hung out while I was at my meetings. I told him what had happened. He said it was fine to get myself out of there; he was proud of me for choosing not to participate in the reckless behavior and rude yelling; he understood that when other teens are having fun with that kind of thing, it's really hard to tell them to stop, but *I* did not have to do it and could take care of myself. We went home. I don't know if my leaders eventually realized I was missing and called my dad to make sure I'd gotten home? (I thought about this when I grew up and became a Girl Scout leader--while someone might have escaped without my noticing, I surely would have noticed by the end of the meeting, and panicked!) If they did, I'm sure he explained sympathetically why I'd left so quietly.
So is that an example of assertive behavior to you, or is it an example of failing to stand up for myself by insisting that everyone behave appropriately?
Mama to a boy EnviroKid 9 years old and a new little girl EnviroBaby !
I write about parenting, environment, cooking, and more.
I don't agree with most of the replies, simply because after having 3 kids of my own now and watching each one grow up so far I see that they are born a certain way. I can't mold them or make them in to a certain personality type. Just won't work that way! ;-)
46-year-old single (divorced), self-employed working, home schooling, part-time college student mommy to:
19 yr old
12 yr old
5 yr old
yeah, I'm with you. I've done a lot of things that *should* help kids become confident, and one of mine is and the other has an anxiety disorder. I think that some parents feel better if they tell themselves that the great things that the see in their kids are because of things they've done, but I believe that you could have done all the some stuff with a different kid and gotten a different result. Its not about you.
Our children are who they are. We can love and support them, but raising a child is not like following a recipe where if you get all the right ingredients and follow the directions it will turn out a certain way.
but everything has pros and cons
Is that what people were saying? I don't remember saying that children were to be molded. The question was how do you raise a confident, assertive child. I happen to agree that none of us were born a blank slate. However, as parents, we can help our children maneuver through the world they are born too. We can help them identify strengths and weaknesses. We can give them the tools needed to improve and gain confidence in their abilities. We can encourage and model positive communication skills and thus be more able to speak their mind and stand up for their beliefs. These are SKILLS.... not personality traits. Will all kids embrace the lessons? No. Does that mean parents shouldn't try? Of course not.
I didn't say (or I didn't mean to imply) that I raised each of my children the same. Far from it. But I had the same goal in mind for each of them. The path they took was up to them; I was their guide along that path. It worked 3 times and is shaping up to working a 4th time.
|Teens , Pre Teens|