When we refer to the word assertive, we mean the ability to stand up and be confident in your thoughts or comments. It can also be defined as being self-assured and confident.

Assertive skills are usually used positively to bring forward your ideas or thinking while staying calm and avoiding aggression. Learning good powerful skills is also an effective way to promote social and communication skills and self-esteem.
How can I explain what assertive skills are to my child?

Firstly, children need to understand that it’s great to be assertive and confident with their thinking and reasoning, but they should never be aggressive. Children who learn the correct powerful skills often grow more confident and self-assured; it’s also a great help for their self-esteem. Here are just a few ways you could try to help children to understand how to be more assertive:

  • Make sure they understand that it’s okay to disagree or say no as long as there’s a valid reason and it doesn’t come across rudely or aggressively.
  • Teach them the importance of negotiation amongst their peers when disagreeing on any thoughts or ideas calmly and respectfully.
  • Help them to identify and understand their feelings.
  • Teach them the importance of confidence and being able to speak up.

What is the difference between aggressive and assertive behavior?

Children need to understand the difference, as assertive behavior can commonly be confused or mistaken for aggression, which is not what you want your child to be mistaken for.

Firstly, they can be confused, as both behaviors involve people having to stand up for themselves and have a sense of control.

Assertive behavior is always direct but should avoid offensive language or behavior. When using assertiveness, children should always be taught to be respectful and thoughtful of people’s feelings; this is the key element that stops assertive behavior from becoming aggressive.

What are the benefits of children becoming more assertive?

Children that show assertive skills are more likely to:

  • Be able to identify their talents.
  • Speak up for themselves with confidence and self-assurance.
  • Say no without feeling guilty.
  • Disagree with others without sounding disrespectful or rude.
  • Be more in control of their thoughts, feelings, and actions.
  • Be more level-headed.
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