At one end is the Strong willed Child, and at the other end of the continuum is a passive child who is never willing to do anything for himself. This child is very satisfied with other people taking the initiative, and never doing anything. A passive child doesn’t even care to make any important decisions for herself. These kind of children will wait for someone else to always do the thinking and the ‘doing’ for them – they just cannot be bothered.
As mothers, we often forget that a child will only grow up into the kind of adult he has been raised to be. So, if a passive child happens to have a very active (and may I add overbearing) Mom, then that child is never likely to want to do anything for himself. Then he grows older and he’s used to having decisions taken for him, then he doesn’t even know how to begin thinking for himself. A passive child will allow others to take advantage of him, and he will allow others to make him a doormat, without ever speaking up. Raising your child to be assertive teaches him to say No to whatever situation he does not feel comfortable with. If a child has not been taught to speak up for himself, he will grow up never changing situations, he will be just fine with whatever life hands him. So, Mom, If you notice your child is tending towards always wanting to others to take the initiative, how do you handle that child? How do you ensure that laid back attitude doesn’t keep him from realizing his God-given potentials?
- Let your child do things for himself. Sometimes, as mothers, we believe a child is too young to be given responsibilities. We end up picking up after our kids all the time, helping them to do things that they should be able to handle for themselves. Start giving your child responsibilities early enough. For instance, when I take off my daughter’s clothes (17-month old daughter), she knows where the clothes go, and she puts them straight into the laundry. She knows how to throw dirt into the trash can – with little supervision. Let your child handle age-appropriate responsibilities, you’ll be amazed what your child can do
- Lead your child by example. When your child watches your daily interaction with other people, he sees as you deal with situations and with people, then he knows that to get situations changed, you need to be assertive
- Don’t Be afraid to be assertive with your child. Your child will be assertive when they see that you have laid down boundaries, and you stick to them. It teaches your child that he can also put his foot down when it becomes necessary to do so
- Let your child know that it’s okay to disagree with popular opinions. If your child finds herself with a group of friends (this is very common with girls), and she doesn’t quite agree with their point of view, she doesn’t need to play along, she can speak up for herself, without the fear of losing the friendship of her peers. We often hear children say to each other, “I won’t be your friend again, if you don’t do so and so”. I have told my kids that it’s okay if someone doesn’t want to be friends with you anymore, there are other friends to be made. They don’t need to lay their own convictions at the altar of friendship.
Whilst we cannot rule out the fact that a child’s inherent nature will always be there, we should also realize that being quiet or gentle is not the same as being laid back. Assertive people don’t allow themselves to be manipulated by other people. Let’s teach our children to be responsible and assertive in their choices. Oluseye Ashiru This post was first published on www.strivingnigerianmom.com