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Old 12-03-2012, 11:02 PM   #1
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How do I teach her to stand up for herself?

My 4yo DD is in PreK this year. This is her first time in a school setting, and she just LOVES it! A couple weeks ago at the parent-teacher conference the teacher said that DD was doing fantastic, except that she wasn't very assertive when it came to situations where she was uncomfortable. Example: A new girl joined their class who is very touchy and in-your-face. She was trying to play doctor (innocently) with DD and was shoving the stethoscope up DD's shirt. The teacher said that DD was clearly uncomfortable with it but didn't tell the girl to stop, so the teacher had a talk with her about how it was ok to tell someone "No thank you!" if they are doing something she doesn't like. She has NO problem telling us or her brother NO! (numerous times, for everything...) at home, but nonetheless I addressed it when I got home too and reinforced what the teacher had said.

Well today, I was dropping DD off and we were waiting in the entryway for the teacher to come get them, and another boy from DD's class was chasing her and trying to tickle her. Again, DD very clearly didn't want to play but she just kept trying to walk away from him - she never said a word so he kept chasing her (I guess he thought she was playing too?). Since his mom didn't say anything to him, I pulled DD aside and asked if she liked that game - she told me no. So again, I told her she needs to tell the boy she didn't want to play, and she did (though this was at the same time that his mom finally noticed and asked him to stop too).

Anyway, DD is extremely social but she is a huge people-pleaser too. I really don't want DD to get bullied, be a victim, or give in to peer pressure so easily (all scenarios I can see happening with this sort of behavior), so I'd rather try and figure out how to get this situation taken care of now and teach her how to stand up for herself and be more assertive. Suggestions?

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Old 12-03-2012, 11:45 PM   #2
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I'd start with social stories, aka - books/stories where the characters do the saw thing. Then play it out with puppets or dolls so she has the words. Phrases like, "I don't like that, please stop," and "stop please," and "no thank you" are good ones to practice. Then after you know that she *knows* that schpeal, I'd plan supervised play dates with the annoying kids and casually remind her about it beforehand, and praise her when she does it.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:22 AM   #3
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Re: How do I teach her to stand up for herself?

I think you are doing well...
Maybe just explain her to shy and have confidence to tell what she is feeling.
You can tell her she is already special so she don't need to please other's just to please them.
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:50 AM   #4
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Re: How do I teach her to stand up for herself?

She sounds a lot like my DD. I did pretty much the same thing you are doing at around the same age. She also takes TaeKwonDo now and has attended two classes that are purely for self defense where they practice yelling, "Don't come closer. You're not my parent." She has gotten better over the years.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:58 PM   #5
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Re: How do I teach her to stand up for herself?

Ok, thanks! I have tried to work it in to conversations but I don't want her to feel like she is doing anything "wrong", necessarily...she is a sensitive little flower. She loves books so maybe I'll do an Amazon search and see if there is a book that might cater to this.
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Old 12-05-2012, 06:20 PM   #6
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Re: How do I teach her to stand up for herself?

When she's older, you can help her understand that not telling people what you do & don't like is a disservice to them as well. I'm a bit of a people-pleaser, and that kind of logic helps me get over it when I feel cornered. I'm guessing a Kinder wouldn't have the ability to think that abstractedly just yet, though.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:11 AM   #7
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Re: How do I teach her to stand up for herself?

We role play different situations so they've practiced saying things to kids they might've otherwise been uncomfortable saying. We also make sure they know if they don't stick up for themselves, no one else will (meaning if they don't speak up and say no to the situation, no will know to help them).
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