Assertiveness for Young People
Assertiveness is an essential skill in life regardless of age. I would argue that it is more important for young people to learn assertiveness as it is a time where their habits and communications will set the stage for how they will communicate with others into adulthood.
Young people whether it be at school or in the family need to learn how to communicate effectively. They need to learn how to handle the bully at school, how to get the things they want respectfully and how to express their wants, needs and ideas. If young people can learn this skill in their adolescent years, they will have it as a tool for the rest of their lives.
There are a few ways to learn assertiveness as a young person. You can do role-playing to make it fun and exciting for kids. Imagine dressing up as a monster or a mouse to drive the message home. How scary can you make the monster? You can also show examples of what a passive response might be and then how to express yourself more assertively.
In addition to role-playing, making assertiveness a point of discussion is helpful as well. There are always opportunities to be assertive and having a discussion about it is important. When a young person shows assertiveness, praise will reinforce that good behaviour. The smile on their faces for a job well done will be priceless. Also, a parent can provide feedback and guidance on situations where they see room for greater assertiveness. Feedback is always helpful for young people to fine tune their assertiveness.
Another way to teach assertiveness is a book written for young people and their guardians. It is called "The Mouse, the Monster and Me" by Pat Palmer, Ed. D. This book is full of tips you can use to engage with young people on the topic so they can have an understanding of assertiveness.
The author dedicates the book to all the children who want to be "free" and all the adults who want to help them. This is a powerful dedication, and it shows the power of assertiveness. Those who embrace it whether young or old will be empowered to be free; free to express themselves, free to take ownership and charge of their lives, free to say no without feeling guilty and freedom to stand up for themselves.
The book begins with exploring what the mouse and the monster represents. The monster is aggressive, pushy and a bully. The mouse is passive, shy and timid. It then goes on to say that it isn't good to be either of these and that it is best to be our assertive selves.
The book then goes on to talk about the strength and power we all have. It gives a timely reminder people young and old need that we have power and strength inside of us when we realise our true potential. We all have gifts and talents that are unique to us, and that being assertive with our power, rather than aggressive monsters, or giving up our power as passive mice, is the key to harnessing our power for good in life.
I won't give too much away, but the book goes on to explore scenarios where young people will need to be assertive such as asking for what you want and handling criticism. All of the sections of the group are interactive, and the reader can write directly on the spaces provided to engage with the book. It also has exercises young people can do with their families to practice being assertive.
This is a great book, and I recommend it for every young person. This book outlines the simple principles of assertiveness in a fun and interactive way and is a helpful tool for strengthening individuals and families.
If more young people had access to this information on how to be more assertive, we would see more empowered youth, less frustrated and young people that are better able to navigate their world, their relationships, and connecting with their true selves, not monsters, not mice, but themselves.
Give it a go and let's get the young people on board the assertive journey for a brighter future for all.
Assertive Life 2016-10-24