Teaching your child to have a voice and be assertive is an important life skill that may benefit their future. Assertive skills can help your child’s relationships—whether they are with relatives or friends, in work or school settings, or simply with themselves.
Sometimes a child feels shy to speak in class or even voice their opinion and there could be many reasons around it. A failure to speak that is not due to a lack of knowledge of, or comfort with, the spoken language required in the social situation.
So how do you make it more comfortable for your child to avoid the discomfort and talk a little more, be more assertive and have more power in relationships –
Let Your Child Speak for Themselves
Letting your child speak for themselves is key whether it’s in a casual situation like greeting a friend or family member or in a more formal setting, like ordering their own food at a restaurant. As parents, we sometimes want to make things easy for our children, especially when they are introvert or shy, so we answer for them. However, this unintentionally communicates to our children that their voice is not as important as ours and that they should rely on us to speak for them in all situations.
According to Marcie Beigel, BCBA-D, behaviour specialist and founder of Behaviour and Beyond in New York, “Stopping this habit from the parent brings forward power and importance of the child’s voice and encourages them to use it in new and varied situations.” Therefore, it’s important that we parent with this idea in mind so that our children feel confident using their own voices and speaking up for themselves.
Make Time For You Kids and Just Listen
It’s important to create time each day to have thoughtful conversations with your kids. You can do this during meals or on a family walk. Talk to your kids about topics that matter to your family and ask them what they think. Then, be curious about their thoughts. Ask questions like: ‘Where did you learn that?’ and ‘How did you come up with that thought?’ or say, ‘Interesting, tell me more.”
Keep The Judgement Aside
It’s crucial to be as objective as possible. Children are very intuitive and they can sense when they are being judged. If they feel that they are being judged, they will most likely shut down and not want to discuss the topic. It’s important that when children do try to bring up a topic, parents are able to listen without being judgmental. This means not asking questions that may provoke the child to be on the defensive or say, ‘never mind’. Instead, try saying something like, ‘Tell me more about that.’
Do Not Label Your Child
In social situations when your kid gets asked a few questions and isn’t able to speak – do not call him/her shy or say, “oh he doesn’t speak much” – do not put any labels on your child. When you start calling them shy from young age, they start thinking that it’s a personality trait and maybe they can get out of every social situation because they are shy.
And we all know that’s not true. While facing the real harsh world away from your protection – your child might have a really hard time if they are not comfortable speaking.
These are some simple ways where in you can help your child speak more freely. You can also talk to their teachers about your worries. Since teachers observe your kids in a social setting it might be a little bit easier for them to know how your kids are with friends and others.
At PodarSmarter Schools we believe in paying 100% attention to every child’s needs. Our teachers are trained and our curriculum is inclusive and promotes holistic education.