On the one hand, we demand obedience from children, and on the other, we want them to be able to say “no” if necessary. Let us assume that there is a contradiction in this. How do you teach a little person to be assertive and set boundaries without giving up on good manners?

A child’s assertiveness is a delicate topic. On the one hand, we do not like naughty children, on the other hand, we want them to have their own opinion. How to raise an assertive but polite child?

Congenital assertiveness?

Children are naturally assertive: babies discover very early that they have a will of their own. An eight-month-old toddler loudly protests when someone tries to take a toy from him. Often, to the surprise of parents, the first word consciously uttered by a child is “No!”. A one-year-old toddler repeats them with amazing persistence. And he shakes his head!

Surely he knows what he wants. In the second year of life, the little man grows a sense of independence. It seems that the child has his own opinion on almost every topic and wants to accept his own opinion. When mom or dad opposes him, he gets angry and quarrels. But can this behavior be called assertive?

No, it’s not just about saying no. Assertiveness is, first, awareness of one’s feelings, needs and thoughts and the ability to express them. Openly, firmly, but calmly, without aggression, respecting others.

The child learns this gradually in social situations. In kindergarten, at school, on the street, in a summer camp. When dealing with children and adults.

In the beginning, he is most willing to do what his colleagues are doing, and a mentor for him is an undeniable authority. But over time, he begins to look more critically at his surroundings. He notices that he doesn’t always like the ideas of his colleagues, and that teachers (like other adults) are sometimes wrong. But how can they say no?

Assertiveness isn’t easy, but luckily you can practice and improve it. Read to help the young man do this.

How to raise an assertive child?

This is possible in many everyday situations. For example, you might ask a preschooler: do you prefer sneakers or trainers? Are we going for a walk in the park or in the forest today? Would you like breakfast cereal with strawberries or rice with apple and cinnamon?

It is worth giving a school-age child more opportunities. You can, for example, ask them to help find a good present for your little brother, ask where they want to go to summer camps, let them decide who they invite to their birthday.

Self-choice, even if it only touches on secondary issues, gives the young person a sense of independence and free will. The child feels that the parents trust him, and this instills in him confidence. At the same time, he learns that his needs and opinions are important.