Do your kids bicker? Is it grating on your nerves? Some quarreling is normal. But if your kids continually fight, it’s a telling sign to “Detour! Danger Ahead!”
My brother and I fought so much that years later my mother told me, “I thought you were going to kill each other.” A slight exaggeration but we did yell, wrestle, and throw some punches. Underneath it all, I really did love him and if anyone criticized him, I ached inside.
When we fought our mother would yell, “Stop!” She’d complain. She’d even lecture. But she had been an only child and never experienced sibling rivalry. She didn’t have a clue how to help us be civil and neither did we.
Assertive role-playing can be taught using “Instant Replay.” This parenting technique is assertive because kids must come up with their own answers and then act them out. It uses Time Out.
I remember being sent to bed after many a fight. It often lasted the whole afternoon, but it didn’t work. I just took long naps.
With Instant Replay you separate your kids and send them to different boring places within your home. They come back to you after each child brainstorms 3 good ways they could have handled their disagreement without fighting. Then you tell them, “Act out the best one. When done, they shake hands and are free to go off to play.
I like this strategy because you’re no longer the judge and jury. You don’t choose who’s right and who’s wrong. You don’t even come up with solutions. Your children solve their own problems.
The Assertive Formula
This formula includes 5 parts:
- The Assertive Voice
- The Assertive Face
- The Assertive Posture
- The Assertive Words
- The Assertive Role-Play
The video below shows parents and children several simple suggestions to practice within each part.
Before teaching this formula, I suggest practicing it with your partner first. Why? Because your example is the most powerful way for kids to learn.
Watch Now: How Parents Teach Assertiveness Skills
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