3 skills to teach your child how to achieve win:win not war:war
The underlying theme of assertive behaviour is to achieve win:win with others. A win:win is where both parties achieve enough of what they want.
Just imagine if children around the age of 7 or 8 were taught this skill in school – how different the world might be?
Now it’s going to be a while before Taliban youngsters are going to receive this learning but imagine the impact on their behaviour if the various cultures living along side them were hell bent on finding a win:win to life’s difficulties and the worlds problems.
So what stops us teaching children how to be assertive? What are we afraid of? Is it that we’re not sure of how to?
Yet we all want our children to become strong, independent, thoughtful, kind and responsible adults so here are 3 simple assertive tools that you can teach your child right away.
1. When asking a question use WHAT not WHY. The why question can engage the other person’s emotion before it engages their brian .
i.e. ‘Why can’t I stay up to watch the late movie?’ possible answer ‘because i say so.. that’s why!’ – can encourage aggression from others.
vs ‘What’s the reason why I can’t stay up?’ possible answer ‘because I want you get enough sleep so you’re match fit for tomorrow mornings game’ – will encourage assertive behaviour from others.
2. When you want others to listen to you, you need to demonstrate that you’ve listened to them first.
i.e. ‘I understand that you want me to go to bed early because you believe I need plenty of sleep for tomorrow.
Do you accept that I’ve been to bed early the last 4 nights and the game has a late kick-off in the morning?’ – more likely to encourage a level playing field where respectful negotiation can take place.
3. Say No respectfully if someone is pushing you to do something you don’t want to.
i.e. ‘I accept that you care about me and want to look after my best interests.
No, I’ll be able to get up 2 hours later tomorrow morning and will therefore get the sleep I need.
I’ve got to get up early on Sunday so I promise I’ll be in bed by 10pm Saturday night’ – gently guides people into a future that most will find acceptable.
As parents we realise it takes courage to teach your child how to be assertive but your contribution now, may one day help them to make the world a better place.