5 Ways To Raise An Assertive Girl

confident girl posing in front of mirror

This article originally appeared on iMOM.com and reflects their mission and beliefs.

When I was little, I had a good friend named Melanie who was so sweet and nice. But she was also passive. “Want to play restaurant?” I’d ask. “Sure,” she’d reply. “Do you want to be the waitress or the diner?” I’d say. “I don’t care,” came her response. “What do you want to be?” Her inability to make decisions for herself bothered me. I wanted her to be confident enough to have an opinion! Now that I have a daughter, I want to do my best to raise an assertive girl who won’t find it hard to make decisions.

I’m trying to encourage my daughter to be assertive. I want her to be able to make a decision at home or school and stick to it. She can do that and also be nice and sweet like Melanie. Being assertive is a life skill and we can start teaching it at a young age. Here are 5 ways to help you raise an assertive girl.

1. Ask for her opinion.

Ask questions and acknowledge her opinions, even if you don’t agree. This will give her confidence to speak up, even when she knows her opinion is not the majority. What did you think about the sermon at church? Why did you like this episode of Wild Kratts? Do you want to participate in the school fundraiser? Do you want to ride bikes to school today or walk? There are endless questions you can ask that will give her the opportunity to state her opinion. You can always follow it up with a “why did you choose that” question, but don’t feel you have to.

2. Give choices.

Whenever possible, give her choices and then have her choose—piano or violin? Dinosaur Train or Nature Cat? Blue jacket or pink fleece? Brush teeth before storytime or after? If you start doing this at an early age, she’ll get used to making decisions and grow more confident with her choices.

3. Model decision-making.

Because kids look to us as an example of how to behave, make sure you, too, are being assertive with decision making. If your husband asks you where you want to go for dinner, be assertive and choose something: “Let’s go to the steakhouse.” If Grandma asks you if you’d like to spend the holiday at her house, respond with an opinion: “I’d really like to stay home with our family on Christmas, but we can drive up to visit the day after.” Additionally, decide on discipline tactics for your children and stick to those as well. By modeling assertiveness to your child, you are showing her that this is what strong women can do.

4. Play would-you-rather.

My daughter and I took a walk the other day and we had so much fun with this game. Even after I ran out of ideas, she wanted me to keep asking her questions. Would you rather wear your clothes inside out for a day or backward? Would you rather eat pasta for a week or cereal? Would you rather have non-stop sunlight or non-stop nighttime for a week? We ended up laughing a lot too!

5. Give her responsibilities.

I wanted to know how to raise an assertive girl and when I asked my mom for advice, she said to stop picking up my daughter’s room for her. Doing so not only enabled her to be messy, but it also took away a great opportunity for her to make choices. So now I have her decide where she puts her stuff and I’ve made her responsible for keeping her room organized. Where she puts her toys or how she arranges her collections has become good assertiveness training.

How have you encouraged your child to be assertive and what could you do more?

This article originally appeared on iMOM.com and reflects their mission and beliefs.

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