Help your kid stay kind and yet not be a pushover

You are keen as a parent to teach basic manners to your kid and take comfort when your kid utters timely words like ‘please’, ‘thank you’ Etc. and is always polite and willing to go out of the way to help people. But would you still have the same endearing look if you notice your kid being bullied? Maybe not. Where it is very important to teach kids to be polite and nice, it is equally important to teach them to stand up for themselves and not allow anyone to take advantage of their soft spoken nature.

Here are some tips that may offer a solution for this ambiguous situation-

 Building Self-Esteem opens doors- All kids have an inherent, unique personality of their own and trying to change them may not be a very healthy thing to do according to psychologists. What can be worked upon here is the self-esteem. Encouraging your kids to be more vocal about their feelings & experiences at home and allowing them to think more often on their own, reassures them of the validity of their needs & wants and allows their self- esteem and confidence to soar. Once they are comfortable with themselves they will not shy away from making their feelings known to others and will not allow anybody to walk over them.

 Train your kids to be more assertive- While you may want to stress on never to stop being kind you can help your kid navigate the middle path where he/she doesn’t have to be rude either. Setting examples for them by role modelling in certain situations, with certain people will help them gain clarity on what they are supposed to do. A friend’s daughter was constantly bullied and pinched by another girl, and her daughter was confused and scared as to what to do. All the kid could think of was to hide from that girl or then push her away(because kids somehow fail to register the middle path)So my friend decided to step in and next time the girl tried to harm her daughter my friend firmly turned around and said ‘Stop doing that. You are hurting her’ Kids can be trained to speak more assertively, consistently at home and outside till that style of communication becomes a part of their personality.

 Let them overcome the fear of rejection – Kids generally don’t speak up and voice their opinions or feelings because they want to be safely accepted within a group of friends. In an attempt to fit in, they agree to everything what their friends like and always try to be silent followers putting their wishes forever on hold. They even allow their friends to laugh at their cost sometimes in the fear of upsetting them. Here you have to tell your kids that by voicing their opinion or preferences they may temporarily upset their friends but the friends may not stop liking them and if they do, then probably they are not worth being friends at all.

Some kids however opt not to heed parental advice especially regarding their friends. Parents can clearly see sometimes that their kid’s friend is taking advantage of him /her but somehow can’t get the kid to see it. In such cases I can say from experience that although your kid appears to be ignoring your advice, he/she is subconsciously registering it in the mind and when they burn their fingers, it all comes back rushing to them from some corner of their heads, making them wiser.

So the best bet for parents is to keep at it consistently, and kids who now seem reticent, may be actually soaking in all the training, advice and space and shall one day grow up to be strong minded yet kind individuals.

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