Are you aggressive or assertive?
As parents, we sometimes look through that one window and see the school your child attends and think that all the bullying is there and it’s the school’s responsibility to deal with this bad behavior.
As parents we can actually cause bullying actions at school by teaching our own children bullying behaviors like gossiping behind someone’s back. Your son or daughter hear this and learn one of the easiest bullying behaviors that are used in school. I still remember gossiping about a girl who played on my daughter’s soccer team. The next day I hear her gossiping about what I said to the rest of the team. Where did she learn about gossiping from? me.
? Raising our voices for control “hey get over here right now”
? Poking fun of others “look at those people”
? Disrespectful to authority “the police never do anything around here” So your child decides not to speak up to the police when they witness bullying because they were taught that the police don’t do anything.
? Discrimination - ethnic groups “Those people ruined our country” now your child see that particular race and starts to gossip and exclude because of what we taught them.
? All these behaviors we can teach to our children but the biggest of them all is being aggressive with our authority and not assertive.
The easiest way to explain aggressive and assertive is to talk about parenting 101.
When parenting, there are two categories that everything falls under about parenting; nurturing and admonishment.
As a parent you nurture your child in the mind, body and soul. When your child becomes willful by doing things that are not in his/her best interest we need to admonish and correct the situation so the child can get back to being nurtured correctly. For example: you wake up in the morning and see your child eating candy. When it comes time to eat a healthy breakfast your child say’s “I’m not hungry”.
As a parent you explain to your child that there will be no more eating candy first thing in the morning, making them understand that eating candy will hurt them and not allow them to grow up healthy. As a parent we try to admonish the child to get them back on the nurturing process. This is where being aggressive and assertive come into play. When correcting the problem did you correct it for the child or for what is best for you.
When we get our children to do what is best for us, it becomes aggressive. When we admonish our children because it is in their best interest, it becomes assertive.
We are living in a world where people are always talking about being assertive; we must be assertive to get things done. Teachers are being told to be assertive, hold your position. Where the problem lies is that some people believe they are being assertive when actually they are being aggressive and teaching a bullying behavior that bullies use often.
Aggressiveness is using hostility and your authority to do “what I say because I said so!” Getting people to do things because it best suits your situation is an aggressive position. “Hey, pick it up. I have to go home soon and I can’t leave until you’re done.” When we become aggressive for your own purposes it teaches are kids to treat others this way. Aggressiveness can be displayed in many forms. You can look aggressive, stand aggressively and your tone of voice can be loaded and aggressive. The style of our actions and words towards your children may well determine how aggressive they will be towards others.
Aggressive communication rarely gets positive results and aggressive communication demoralizes your children.
Assertiveness is a somewhat neutral understanding; it is asserting that which is factual without a willful act of misusing your power or authority. It is using your authority in a respectful way, demonstrating that which needs to be done, is best for the child and also acknowledging the value and importance of the individual.
For example: “John could you please help mom with the stacking of the boxes. We need this done in an hour because the mailman is coming to pick it up. I’m asking you because I trust you and I know you are someone who can make this happen. I really appreciate this John.”
The difference is how your child is going to accomplish their task. The better motivated the child is the better results you’ll receive as a parent.
In this case your son would end up doing a quality job. He wanted to help you because you treated him with respect.
When we assert ourselves appropriately when delegating a task or asking our children to do something in a caring and respectful way we receive better results and teach our kids how to get things done without being aggressive.
The challenge I have for you is every time you correct your child or ask for something to be done, step back and ask yourself did I get my child to something that was best for me or did they understand that I corrected their behavior or ask them to do a certain chore because it was best for them or the family? We cannot change our behavior until we notice that our behavior needs fixing. With this challenge you may be very surprised at how many times you become aggressive. Remember the bullies say “do it because I told you” Where do you think they learned that from?