Today I continue my series, I cannot handle my child with an important topic. One drawback that certain parenting campaigns may have is that they tell you what you should not do. And this leaves you without options when you need. It is my job today to give you as clear as possible an explanation about one of the very important skills in a parent’s arsenal; Assertiveness.
Assertiveness is not shouting. Assertiveness is not domineering. Assertiveness is leading. The difference between a dominant response and an assertive one is that the latter does not leave the receiver with a sense of being disempowered. We want our children to behave appropriately, and therefore we must teach them how to use their power to do what is appropriate.
Assertiveness requires you to understand what you want to say. Imagine you want your child to stop drawing on the wall. A non-assertive response would sound like, “STOP THAT. NAUGHTY”. An assertive response is more contained, and would sound like, “Do not draw on the wall. Walls are not made for drawing. You can use paper”. Notice that it is clear, firm, and the child can derive the clearest message out of the response. And more importantly, it gives a choice for another way of doing things.
Children need structure and they need to know that someone can handle them and guide them. This remains true even when children grow up. Although many protest, it is my experience that a good assertive parent gives a sense of safety.