Thursday, November 12, 2009


i presented on the subject of assertiveness at a training for district employees this week.

often we find ourselves being passive or aggressive with children, but not assertive. assertiveness focuses on what we want children to do . sounds easy, right?

the problem is that we have a deeply ingrained habit of focusing on behaviors we don't want...

STOP talking, jumping, running, hitting... DON'T touch the stove, lamp, outlets, or fine china!

an interesting fact about brain development... children under the age of 6 cannot conjugate the word don't.

what might they hear then when we yell "DON'T RUN IN THE HOUSE!"
yep, you guessed it.

you might be interested to know that children under the age of 8 encode information in the form of pictures. when we tell them what to do we provide visual images of our expectations, making it easier for them to process & more likely to obey.

my encouragement today is that we start focusing on what we want children to do. a practical way to exercise this skill is to fill in the following statement...

"my child irritates me when they _____. what do i want them to do?"

instead of...

DON'T run!.. go back and walk
DON'T stand up in your chair!... sit down on your bottom and put your legs under the table.
STOP yelling!!... you are screaming (describing their behavior makes connections in the brain) make your voice match mine, just like this...

we have perfected this DON'T/ STOP language, haven't we?

i would submit to you that if we begin telling children, in specific terms, what we expect them to do we will experience desirable results!

finally, we cannot train our children to possess skills that we lack.

as women, we struggle with assertiveness don't we?

where do you want to go to lunch?
i don't care...where do you want to go to lunch?
you decide....i can't decide. where do you want to go?
wherever is fine with me.

oh, you want to go there?
i don't really like ___.
can we pick someplace else?
is that okay???

sound familiar?
i thought so.

we often think expressing our feelings or opinions is confrontational, in some way uncomfortable ...and heaven forbid we differ from one another.

join me on my journey to becoming this kind of woman, wife, mother, friend... the kind who isn't afraid of her own voice.

for starters, here is your homework:
1. practice turning your DON'Ts into DO's
2. be courageous - pick a restaurant.

here are a few videos of assertiveness..
the first one is the twinks. the next is of 4-year-olds resolving conflict. you will notice them setting limits, saying what they want the other person to do, and making commitments. (more on commitments next week!)

**you will have to pause the music in my side bar to hear the video **

1 comment:

  1. oh that's so counter-intuitive. i'll def have to practice this week!


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