Independence, assertiveness and confidence are all important qualities to instill in our children. But, these qualities don't always come naturally. Empowering your children takes a thoughtful, planned approach.
Not only are these skills important in education, athletics and friendships, but they can also help with personal safety. At Mace® Brand, we're here to help with several creative ways to learn how to empower the youth - from accomplishing tasks independently to using a personal alarm with confidence.
What you say to your children is crucial. Not just during times of crisis or success, but all of the time. Children model their behavior after yours, especially when it comes to the words you use. Encourage responsibility, encourage independence.
Example: Your child likes to play with legos, but isn't the best about putting them away. What do you say? Avoid getting frustrated and issuing an order to clean them up. Instead, encourage your child to review past conversations on the topic.
Good youth empowerment strategies include trying encouraging words like "What was your understanding of our last talk about where your legos go after play time?" Or "What do you think might happen if your baby sister gets to those little pieces?"
Example: Your child doesn't want to eat, but you know when they don't eat, they get crabby. Rather than forcing them to eat and telling them why, your goal is to help them think about their choices and the results, and let them make the decision.
Try saying "I've noticed in the past when you don't eat, you get grumpy. How do you think you'll feel if you don't eat now?"
When it comes to words, assertive language can be effective.
Five words that serve as a model for assertive language are "Stop, I don't like that." What do you say if your child's behavior is inappropriate? "Stop, I don't like that." Or if your child is fighting with a brother or sister? "Stop, I don't like that." You'll be surprised how often your child uses this particular language, after you've used it first. Teaching children when and how to stick up for themselves and others helps build key life skills.
CONFIDENCE AND SECURITY
What are the best tips for raising a secure and confident child? How do you ensure your child's personal safety? Learning how to empower the youth is a group effort, and it starts at home with the family. Confidently express your emotions to those you love. Nothing reassures a child more than knowing they have a supportive and loving parent.
- Always let children see the outcomes of conflict as unity.
- Demonstrate your love through touch, words, and actions.
- Establish schedules and guidelines at a young age. Imagine moving through a funnel, entering the small end first. The walls are tight but expand over time. Children need to know where the walls are all the time. Studies show that as they mature, teens will push until they sense their limits. Limits show love. Most parents enter the funnel from the wrong side, setting fewer boundaries in the early years and then trying to increase them later on.
- Allow children to experience failure and allow them to resolve their own issues. Coach and guide, but don't step in and solve every problem. Instead, ask questions and role play (pretend to be the teacher and have them talk to you as if you were)
- Consider a personal safety alarm. Mace® Brand makes one with a built-in whistle that easily clips on a child's backpack.
It's not something children can gain on their own. According to Psychology Today, independence is a gift you give your children that they will cherish and benefit from their entire lives.
You can provide your child with several ingredients for gaining independence by showing confidence in your child's capabilities, teaching them they have control over their lives, and providing guidance with the freedom to make their own decisions.
QUALITY TIME TIPS
As parents and caregivers, we can all make choices the help ensure time spent with our children is spent wisely. Here are a few tips and youth empowerment strategies for busy families.
- Turn off technology when you spend time with your child.
- Don't be afraid to laugh and be silly.
- Play with your child as much as possible.
- Reinforce positive behavior.
- Tell your child you love her or him every day.
- Create a ritual for you and your child - something that can be done every day, that's only between the both of you.
The road to instilling confidence and assertiveness in children can be very rewarding and fulfilling when you have those "magical moments" after everything seems to click. Focus on what matters most to you and your family to empower your children and ensure they are on the path to success.
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