Teaching Children Assertiveness Using Color – Moms

Assertiveness can help children to feel more in control, maneuver more smoothly through adolescent challenges, and adapt in social situations.
Parents can be a big help in teaching their child to be more assertive. Assertiveness can help children to feel more in control, maneuver more smoothly through adolescent challenges, and adapt in social situations.
There are many ways parents can teach their children to be assertive. BabySparks Developmental Program suggests that around the age of 20 months is when parents should start teaching assertiveness. This can be a difficult age to teach complex concepts like assertiveness, but it can be done.
If parents do choose to start teaching assertiveness in the early toddler stage, it is important that they know the difference between a bossy toddler and an assertive toddler.
Anna Kroncke PH. D and NCSP (Nationally Certified School Psychologist) says some symptoms of bossiness in a child include:
Assertiveness is different in that, an assertive child:
Simply stated, The Oxford dictionary defines bossy as: Fond of giving people orders; domineering. Assertive is defined as: Having or showing a confident and forceful personality.
Assertiveness has many benefits for children. Some of those benefits include:
The Quarterly Journal of Child Mental Health did a study that showed learning the practice of saying "no," helped increase self-confidence and reduced anxiety in children. Science Direct did a similar study, and it also showed that learning proper assertiveness skills may help to ward off depression.
As mentioned above, there are a lot of ways to teach assertiveness to a child. If a parent is teaching a toddler, they may want to try it using things the toddler understands. This can make things easier for the toddler to comprehend.
Breaking it down into the basics may help your child:
Using colors can be a great way of teaching assertiveness and feeling in general. For example, passive/yellow, aggressive/red, assertive/orange. A parent could use different shapes or just circles, whatever they would like.
According to researchers at the University of California, young children tend to choose bright colors to represent positive feelings and dark colors for negative feelings. They also identified how specific colors made the children feel: red is for anger, blue is for sadness, and green is for gladness. Color can therefore be a very helpful tool in accessing children's emotions instead of relying on them to be able to tell you.
According to Simone Marean, co-founder and executive director of Girls Leadership, what we model for our kids is far more important than what we tell them to do. It is also much more challenging. It is critical that parents try to show their children how to disagree politely and be true to their feelings.
If a child says "No, my time isn't up yet, your turn is next" it's much different from saying no to peer pressure like drugs and alcohol. Having their child continue to practice this, however, parents can see how comfortable their child gets with saying it and advocating for themselves.
Parents can also teach their child "I feel" statements. "I feel sad when we leave grandma's house" or "I feel happy when we go to the park." This may take a little extra thought on the parents' part. It mainly involves remembering to actively ask their child how they feel about things. In the long run, children will get to know their feelings better, and be more assertive about sharing those feelings.
Sources: BabySparks Developmental Program, Anna Kroncke PH. D and NCSP, The Oxford Dictionary, The Quarterly Journal of Child Mental Health, Science Direct, University of California, Simone Marean
I am the mother of four boys. They were all born very premature. Two singletons and twins. I am very passionate about raising awareness for prematurity and mother’s mental health. One of my sons has special needs as well. I have seen a different kind of motherhood than most, but very much enjoy writing articles to help parents of all kinds.


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