10 Ways Assertiveness Skills Help Teens

Why It's Important to Teach Teens to Stand Up for Themselves

Portrait of a father and son eating lunch in the garden
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Teaching your teen how to behave in an assertive manner can be a beneficial life lesson that will serve your child throughout her life. Take a proactive approach to teaching and enhancing your teen’s communication skills.

How to Teach Assertiveness Skills

1. Assertive Teens are Less Likely to be Bullied

A teen who is able to speak up and say, “Stop that,” or “I don’t like it when you do that,” is less likely to be victimized compared to a teen who remains silent.

It can be very difficult to stand up to a bully, but it can be very effective when it is done in an assertive manner. Teens who are assertive can also stand up for peers who are being picked on.

How Teaching Assertiveness Can Prevent Bullying 

2. Assertive Teens are Less Aggressive

If your teen understands how to ask for help or how to get her needs met, she’s less likely to resort to verbal or physical aggression. Instead, she’ll be able to express her feelings in a more pro-social manner by using respectful words. A child who can say, “Please stop doing that,” won’t have to hit someone to get her point across.

8 Ways to Teach Anger Management Skills

3. Assertive Teens Communicate Their Needs

Communication between peers, parents and authority figures are effective when a teen behaves assertively. Assertive communication reduces indirect communication, like asking someone else to pass along a message, and allows your teen to behave in a polite but direct manner.

It also ensures that a teen will talk directly to a person who offends her, rather than gossiping with friends about the issue.

4. Assertive Teens have Healthier Relationships

Teens who can speak up when their feelings are hurt are likely to have healthier relationships. Instead of allowing people to violate their rights, an assertive teen can say, “I don’t like it when you do that,” which can help build mutual respect in a friendship or romantic relationship.

5. Assertive Teens Manage their Stress

Developing an understanding of assertiveness skills can help reduce a teen’s stress level. For example, a teen who is willing to ask a teacher a question, will be able to reduce the stress she experiences when she doesn’t understand the work. Assertiveness skills helps a teen proactively solve problems rather than passively allowing bad things to happen.

How to Teach Your Teen Problem-Solving Skills

6. Assertive Teens have Healthy Self-Esteem

Teens who speak up for themselves will feel more confident over time. And the more confident they feel, the more likely they are to behave assertively. A teen who feels empowered to speak up will gain more and more confidence over time as she sees how her behavior yields positive results.

7. Assertive Teens are Less Likely to Seek Revenge

When people behave passively, they often experience a lot of hurt and anger. This can lead them to later act out in a passive-aggressive manner. A teen who is bullied or picked on may secretly think about seeking revenge.

Teach your teen to behave assertively so she can address problems as they arise.

8. Assertive Teens Understand Emotions

Communicating assertively requires teens to stop and think about their feelings. This helps them develop a better understanding of their emotions over time. As their emotional intelligence increases, it’s easier to develop strategies to cope with those emotions.

9. Assertive Teens Accept Personal Responsibility

Assertive teens can ask for help, say what they need and tell others how they’re feeling. As a result, they’re less likely to walk around blaming others for how they feel. Instead, they understand that if they want something, it’s their responsibility to try and make it happen.

10. Assertive Teens Resist Peer Pressure

A teen who can speak up for herself will be able to say no to something she doesn’t want. This means she is more likely to say no to sexual advances she isn’t comfortable with and she’ll be better equipped to resist peer pressure to use drugs or alcohol. 

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