How kids can learn to assert themselves, even if it's only to seem strong

Parents tend to suffer along when their kids come home with stories about being teased or bullied at school.

Creative parenting expert Nikki Bush says the playground, and the world in general, can be a hostile place.

That's why children need to learn to assert themselves, which has nothing to do with being rude.

Bush says assertiveness should result in a win-win situation where we stand up for ourselves in a way that is respectful both to ourselves and to others.

It shows that you value yourself and won't be walked all over or pushed. In other words, we all need to know where we draw our line.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

Bush refers to 'The Ultimate Assertiveness Toolbox for Kids', written by local clinical psychologist Jo Hamilton.

It maintains that being effectively assertive is not only about what you say or do, but when and how you are assertive.

You've got the kids in the middle who are naturally assertive, then you have kids on the side who are highly sensitive and don't cope well with what's going on in the playground and then you have the other extreme with the kids who are the power magnets.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

She says for instance, that the sensitive child might not do the necessary reflection and as a result lash out because of feeling hurt by a comment.

Kids need to learn to check their reactions.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

There are tricks that both kids and adults can learn to cope better.

One of these is pretending that you're tougher than you feel.

How you stand and what you do with your arms and legs shows whether you're being assertive or not.

Nikki Bush, Creative parenting expert

For more on tools to develop assertiveness, go to Bush's website https://nikkibush.com/.

Take a listen to the interview below:


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