Teaching our children to stand up for themselves can be difficult. As parents, we want to protect our kids and shield them from hurt and harm. However, learning resiliency and self-advocacy is a skill they will take into adulthood. We will not always be with them to protect them, and giving them skills to employ will teach them how to be self-reliant and believe in themselves. Here are 5 phrases we can teach them to stand up for themselves.
- “People will say negative things, but you get to choose if you want to believe them or not.” This is not easy, even for adults. It’s ok to tell your child you struggle with this, too, sometimes. However, when we can adopt this way of thinking, it frees us from living a life full of people pleasing.
- “Let’s role-play, and you can practice what you would say to someone.” This type of play is effective and important. Help your child imagine how a conversation might go and allow them to brainstorm how they can respond with you.
- “You are strong, and you can stand up for yourself.” Isn’t it amazing how much courage one can gain from knowing someone believes in you? Believe in your child and let them know it.
- “This is a safe space to ask me questions.” Every child needs a place to ask questions, explore their feelings and come to an understanding. This world is a complicated and confusing place. Work to make your relationship the safe space they can come to when they have questions.
- “You are allowed to say NO.” The lesson we need to learn over and over again. No is a powerful word, and it is allowed. Give your children the freedom to refuse or reject something if they feel it is best.
These lessons aren’t just for kids. As adults, we continue to learn and relearn many of these relationship lessons. Be a student with your child. Grow and learn together.
Written By: Christine B., Masters Level Intern
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