Let them hear you being firm and direct, but polite
arr-GreggG says any activityti it that teaches team building offers a great learning opportunity.
“Team building is a great way to build confidence,” he says. “That is because any activity that involves team work reinforces skills such as compromise and conflict resolution. Boy Scouts and Girl Guides offer a wonderful opportunity to trial being assertive and develop leadership skills in a safe environment. And activities such as karate are a beautiful way to develop and foster confidence because it also involves lessons in conflict resolution and compromise.”
Ronit Baras, a happiness coach who teaches kids and teens leadership skills, says at the heart of the problem is the fact children are taught to valuel th themselvesl b based d on whath t othersth think of them.
“Teaching kids to stand up for themselves is a big issue because we educate kids to define who they are based on what others think of them,” says the author and creator of the Be Happy In Life program.
“We don’t teach kids that what others think of them is just an opinion. So, then if they are called ‘nasty’ or ‘mean’, we are effectively training them to believe this about themselves.”
Baras says kids need to develop critical thinking, or the ability to know it’s OK to express a different opinion, which will help them know how to stand up for themselves.
“It all comes down to kids having confidence in who they are and the confidence to express an opinion,” she Kim Smith, founder of the Standing Strong Wellness Club for Girls; and, above, teenage Kim Smith, foundergirlsoftheparticipate in a Standing Strong Wellnessdance classClub foratthe club. Girls says. “Girls“Gi l will ill not tb be th threatenedt db by what anyone says or labels them if they’re confident. I tell girls that if they have confidence, they have roots in the ground and I show them this by literally pushing them.
“If they are easily pushed, I tell them to stand strong with their feet firmly planted on the ground and they can see then that it is harder to push them.” mith also takes a practical approach to teaching young girls how to stand up for themselves. She does this through her Girl Talk sessions, a type of group counselling. The sessions incorporate skill building through role-playing, which she says young girls really respond to.
“W “We don’t know how to take people being assertive and having strong opinions in society,” Smith says.
“The audience often becomes emotionally invested and the reaction to a strong conversation can then become negative.
“We need to teach assertive communication. We develop, practise and play out different reactions and outcomes and show them how to talk through situations rather than react to them. This will then give them the ability to have the confidence to voice an opinion.”
Smith says parents can do this also in the home by really talking with their kids, not just asking how school was but by challenging them to have opinions which consistently reinforces how to be confident.