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Hi, Just a quick question for the mums out there. I was wondering how you teach assertiveness. My 4 1/2 year old has not learnt to hold her own when she is bumped or if someone else is in the way.

Posted by Krista, 27/06/2013

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  • Did you find a way to help, my poor 4.5yo is the same, just lets everyone walk all over her.


  • Tell her if it happens she must tell the teacher and keep repeating this.


  • How did you go with this?


  • In time she will learn but its possible that shes just a gentle soul and doesnt see the need.
    For instance I never understood why when the teacher would bring a box of books into the room that we were all to read from and all books were the same story and we have to hand the book back when we are done….that everyone would stampede to get a book. I used to hang back and wait until the rush was over. This seemed to be an issue for the teacher who mentioned it to my Mum and there were discussions with me over it. I thought the adults were crazy and making a big fuss over nothing. I still feel the same way. I just dont feel the need to push myself to the front. Im very happy to just wait until the hub bub dies down.
    Perhaps your daughter is a little the same way.


  • Assertiveness is not the same as aggression. It is important for young children to start to develop assertiveness. You can start by role modelling assertive language. You can also talk to your child about examples of what they can say when they find themselves in situations like you have mentioned. For example I have told my daughter if someone knocks or pushes her, she can say something like ” excuse me, you have knocked/pushed me” or if it is intentional then she can say ” when you push me, it makes me feel sad ( using emotions that a young child will understand) because it hurts me”…… Also remembering that when we teach assertion we use a stern tone not a loud shouting tone, as this then may appear to be aggression. Good luck, like the Pantene commercials it won’t happen overnight but it will happen with practice and natural development.


  • Could just be her nature, she will sort things out for herself in her own way, hopefully her teacher will keep and eye on her as well. Better gentle than aggressive!


  • Roll play.
    Mummy and one other could do this. Kids learn really quickly from visual roll-play.
    Showing our kids how to ask for a item.
    Showing our kids to just wait a while and take turns.


  • yes, at school they are taught the “3 step telling rule” – if the person doesn’t stop after tell them they don’t like the behaviour, then they must go to the teacher.


  • Sometimes you’re better off in life not being assertive…


  • i hope you have success :)


  • Lead by example and talk to her about it – of course she may become too assertive ;)


  • How is she going now? Any advice help?


  • How is she going now?


  • I hope you found some tips to teach your child to be assertive


  • Some great advice below – hope it has helped


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