I have always been a person who looks for solutions. I question things that do not sit right with me, and I simply cannot sit by passively when I believe in something strongly. It is a blessing and sometimes a curse, as I tend to get drafted to be the collective voice. One of the things I have tried to instill in my daughters at an early age is the fact they have a voice, and the ability to use it! As a mom I have worked to help them understand there are ways in which you use your voice constructively whether it be lobbying for a piece of chocolate cake, or trying to argue a point in college life. I’ve had to take some pretty tough stands that were not fun, but I did so in a way that yielded results. My mom always put is as “catching more flies with honey than vinegar.”
Assertiveness is not a bad thing. It actually “fosters insight, wisdom, patience, tolerance, confidence and acceptance. It is the necessary building block to mature and peaceful relationships between all human beings,” says Lisa M. Schab, LCSW. I came across an article on PsychCentral when I was looking for ways to help guide my own daughter. Speaking up is often a difficult thing to do – especially when you are a kid. Recently my youngest had a teacher who was absolutely incorrect about something, and my daughter was afraid to approach the teacher privately to nicely point out the issue. The teacher is the authority figure and in 5th grade you tend to let things slide due to fear. However, she will argue a point to the death with me. I’m safe though. My daughter is more concerned with the aspect of disrespect than the actual debate.
It bothered me that my child felt as if she could not simply and nicely say “something is wrong here and I’d like to fix it” to a person of authority. So I keep working with her to understand that she has the power to effectively right a wrong, and to use her voice for something she questions. It is a vitally important skill that carries through life – friendships, relationships, the workplace, and community. Being able to stand up and use your voice, though it may fall on deaf ears, is a great asset. We need to teach our kids at an early age how to do this productively. There comes a point in time where children need to be able to take care of their problems without parental involvement. Sure I could have emailed the teacher and pointed out all the issues, but what would it have taught my daughter? It was her work, her issue and she pointed out the wrong to me. One day she will thank me the same way I thank my mother for teaching me to use my voice.