You are being assertive when you identify your feelings, such as feeling safe, comfortable or threatened. You check if you are feeling happy, sad, angry or scared. Then you work out when and how to release these feelings. You listen to your gut feelings to protect yourself, then show signs of friendliness, use direct 'I' statements when suitable (see Chapter 11), ask for help or release your bad feelings in constructive ways, e.g. sport. You use self-respect to protect yourself, without being disrespectful or destructive to others. You use assertiveness skills like an emotional sunscreen. Assertive children use their power effectively to create a win-win situation.

Here are some examples of each type of behaviour.

Passive, aggressive or assertive?

Bully Child replies or Evelyn's comments behaviour

Aggressive: 'And you're stupid.'

'You look and sound upset.'

'Your anger shows the bully that the truth upsets you.'

'The bully is stuck when you are cool, calm and confident.'

Assertive: 'No, I'm nicely padded.'

Bully excludes: 'You can't play with us today.'

Bully punches and kicks: 'Go away.'

Abusive statements:

Passive: 'Why can't I play with you?' Aggressive: 'I'm going to tell the teacher.'

Assertive: 'Thanks for telling me.'

Passive: Upset, cries, slinks off. Aggressive: Retaliates, punches and kicks back. Assertive: Tickles her under her armpits.

Lose, abuse or use?

'Nobody wants to play with an unhappy child.' 'The teacher can't do anything, those kids are mean, while you are threatening.' 'You find nicer kids to play with.'

'This child behaves like a loser.'

'This child gives her power to the bully and the fight begins.' 'This child blocks the bully's game or says, "This is a warning: do that again and I'll report you."'

How does your child behave? Note the behaviours that describe your child, use feedback from others.

Loser statements: Loser behaviours:

Complain, do nothing, 'bottle and burst', eyes and head down, pay back quietly, hunched over, quiet, mumbling voice, pale, looks miserable, teary, doesn't smile often.

'You're an idiot', 'Don't touch me', 'You're just as bad', 'Why don't you shut up?'

Abusive behaviours:

Useful statements:

Useful behaviours:

Angry face, loud voice, nasty look, blame, complain, sarcastic, mean, retaliate, provoke, attack back, threatening stance, rigid, tense, throw or break things.

'I don't like you doing that', 'I'm angry at you', 'I need help', 'I don't think you're being fair', 'I don't like being your friend any more'.

Stand up straight, confident body language, be calm and pleasant, firm eye contact, clear voice, neutral-looking face, choose appropriate words.

Bully behaviours

Do you have empathy for your target or not? Adults and kids expect feedback when they tell you how they feel - 'I feel...when you.'. If you feel bad about hurting her feelings, you can say:

You can change from bullying to behaving.

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