Unfortunately life is full of bullies or people who don’t know how to show respect to others, both in childhood and in adulthood, so teaching your children to know how to stand up for themselves is an absolute necessity.
This is why The Magic Coat contains the character Pop the Cork, who holds the message “excuse me!” inside the bottle.
Children who don’t learn how to stand up for themselves can be more prone to anxiety and depression as they store the resentment they have towards those who do not treat them with the respect that they deserve. Children who don’t know how to stand up for themselves can also be more easily influenced by peer pressure.
Your childrens’ future relationships also rely on them knowing how to stand up for themselves so that they do not accept just being “walked over” by those who are supposed to love and respect them.
In order for your children to stand up for themselves they need to be assertive. Assertiveness comes more easily for some children than others but can be taught.
It is important that parents understand the difference between assertiveness and aggression.
Assertiveness is when a child lets others know what their needs and wants are while aggression is when a child manipulates the other person to ensure they get exactly what they want, through nasty behaviours.
When children are assertive they have the confidence to ;
- Put their hands up to answer or ask questions in the classroom
- Ask for help when needed
- Ask other children to play with them
- Stand up for themselves and their friends when necessary
A parent can help children become assertive by;
- Teaching shy children, from an early age, to speak up for themselves. Don’t let adults or siblings speak on their behalf.
- Discourage children from worshipping and following peers. Your children need to know that, if they allow others to tell them what to do, that does not make a healthy friendship. A healthy friend will always respect the opinion and ideas of others.
- Encourage your children to order things from shops and restaurants themselves and pay for things as well, whilst remembering to use their “please” and ‘thank you” manners
- Allow your children to speak their mind and even disagree with you when they need to. Of course they can do this in a calm and respectful manner and the dinner table is a great place to encourage this type of family discussion.
Pop The Cork uses the words “excuse me” to teach children that, if they feel as if someone has said or done something to disrespect them in anyway, the first step they can take is to use the words, “excuse me” to show that they are not happy.
In the Magic Coat workshops, children are taught that, if someone continues to disrespect them, they can put up their “stop hand” and say, “please stop I don’t like this” or “this is not a conversation” before walking away.
It is important that children know that it is okay to walk away from a situation where they are being disrespected. In fact learning to walk away would have saved a lot of one punch attacks that we have seen in the media.
The workshops discourage physical violence. It may, however, sometimes be required as a last resort to help children get out of an extreme or dangerous situation. They may have to push, kick or punch to allow themselves to run away and get adult help but please always stress to them that this is a last resort option.
It can be extremely difficult for children to know what is and isn’t okay in standing up for themselves so, as a family, you should role play different scenarios in the living room to enable them to practice standing up for themselves.
Different scenarios may include;
- A child pushing in front of them in line
- A child stealing their toy
- A child not giving them their property back
- A child calling them names or saying other disrespectful things
Teaching your children to stand up for themselves is as important as teaching them the social skills to make friends or have good manners. You need to explicitly teach these skills to have confident and assertive children who also know when it is appropriate to be humble and kind.
Enrol your children in A Magic Coat workshop so that they can learn many other important facts on managing friendships and bullying.