I want you to take a moment as a parent and picture your child 10 or 15 years down the road from now. Let’s assume they’re a healthy teenager with an active social life and an adventurous attitude.
They’re at their very first “real” party where friends are drinking, smoking, and maybe even experimenting with drugs. Then the moment comes when for that very first time they are offered a drag, a drink, or maybe even a toke.
While as parents we can’t control whether our child is actually going to WANT to try any of these things, I would like to think that if my child does NOT want to, he’s going to have the ability to say so without feeling pressured. Even better if he can do that and not offend the person who’s offering the experience.
Flash ahead maybe five more years to that first job interview. Is your child going to be sweating it out while trying to speak confidently to a potential boss? Or will they be accustomed to speaking their mind respectfully with adults.
How about when your child is in their 20s and 30s, actively looking for a partner in life. Do we want our daughter (or son) to find a mate who treats her disrespectfully and possibly abusively? Or will your child be the woman (or man) who looks for a partner that shares power equally with her.
All of these scenarios depend to some extent on how successful our children are in becoming ASSERTIVE.
Where does this begin then? When is a good time to start teaching our kids to be assertive?
Is it when they’re 9 years old and already being pressured into conformity by the “cool group?”
Or is it when they’re 13 and starting to be cyber-bullied?
Maybe it’s when they’re 17 and their new summer-job boss is asking them to do things that they think are unsafe…
I would argue that it’s now – when they are young. As young as we can get them!
There are critical lessons in assertiveness that kids can learn from a very early age that will impact their ability to stand up for themselves, and speak up for themselves for… dare I say it… life.
In fact, giving our children the ability to practise this skill from a young age is an incredible gift. A powerful gift. Maybe even… a SUPER POWER!
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