Assertiveness Skills

Kids can stick up for themselves and their beliefs.  Those beliefs can be religious, where they draw the line with friends during those moments of decision.  They can also include a choice they have made for themselves and are willing to stand up to friends and social situations that may threaten that belief.  It is essential to teach your kids the difference between assertiveness, aggression, and passivity.  Assertiveness is confidence in what you stand for in terms of beliefs, behavior, character, and life in total.  It includes a forcefulness without aggression, a type of insistence.  It requires boldness and firmness without violence.  So often see young people and adults who do not know how to stand up in a powerful way using “I” statements vs. “You” statements, for example.

Aggression includes violence, hostility, anger; it feels like an invasion or an offensive; it is demanding.  Passivity is an inactiveness, inaction, participation, and has indifference and apathy.   Helping young people to know the difference between these three words: Assertiveness, Aggression, and Passivity, would benefit them for the rest of their lives.  But don’t stop there.  You must also teach them when to use assertiveness and back away if they are in danger of someone losing their temper—talking with kids about why it is never good to lose your temper.  That, later on, you will need to back-track to make peace, and often, the ground lost from losing your temper cannot ever be the same again.

You can point out this behavior in movies that you may watch as a family.  Take a minute and pause the film and discuss what is happening.  If you are prone to lose your temper, or if you grew up with a parent who would lose their temper, work to stop that behavior now.  Could you not pass it on to your kids?  Make sure that it stops with your generation, and no one else is allowed to behave that way in the family again.  If they do, rally behind them and help them overcome it, recover, be okay with the process of winning and losing, yielding eventually to winning over your temper.

Of all the blogs that I have written, now totaling over 260, this one may be one of the most important ones to talk to your kids, grandkids, and friends kids.  During this holiday season, I hope that you will take time to start this process and then follow up over the upcoming months.

For another look at Assertiveness, please see my What Kids Need series at What Kids Need: Assertiveness Skills – Dr. Rich Patterson (

Here is a link to Psychology Today and an article about assertiveness at Assertiveness | Psychology Today


Yours for Better Parenting,