Many of us make the mistake of defining assertiveness as some type of aggression, when it is no such thing.
In fact, assertiveness is the quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive.
It is a very important skill to learn and one we should teach our grandchildren, especially girls.
The term ‘assertiveness’ was coined by Robert E. Alberti and Michael L. Emmons in their book, Your Perfect Right: A Guide to Assertive Behavior.
What does assertiveness look like?
Being assertive is linked to positive self-esteem. Children who are assertive are able to calmly say what they want and ask others to help them.
Also, when a child has been taught how to be assertive they set clear boundaries for themselves. They are also respectful of other people’s boundaries.
Children who are assertive tend to focus on the behavior or the issue, not the person.
What benefits come from being assertive?
Children who are assertive have more confidence to express how they are feeling and what they want.
They know their rights, and will stand up for the rights of others.
This doesn’t meant they don’t get angry, but they are able to talk things through in a reasonable manner.
They can do all these things, and maintain control of themselves without anger.
How can you teach your grandchild to be more assertive?
Assertive children may often be mistaken for being aggressive or a bossy boots.
Look for real assertive behavior and reward it when you see it. This may be your grandchild speaking up for themselves without being angry.
If they do show anger, gently reassure them that there is no need, and that the power of their words will be enough to help them maintain their composure.
Lead by example, and practice being assertive yourself. Children may not say much, but they are always watching and learning from our behavior.