During our Pre-First, First, and Second Grade counseling classes in the last few weeks of March, we talked about assertively standing up for others and for yourself. It’s everyone’s job to stand up for others when we see that someone is being treated unkindly. Sometimes standing up for others looks like:
1) calmly speaking to the person who is treating someone else unkindly (which should be done only when you feel safe enough to put yourself in the situation)
2) immediately finding a trusted adult to help
3) taking the target away from the situation by asking him if he’d like to join you in playing somewhere else
If we choose to speak directly to someone who is treating a peer unkindly (or treating us unkindly), we use an assertive voice and assertive body language. It’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears — no one wants porridge that’s too cold or too hot. Goldilocks wanted porridge that at a temperature that was “just right.” When we are assertive, we do not use a quiet, scared, passive voice with our hands in our pockets and our heads down. We don’t use a loud, angry, aggressive voice while invading someone else’s personal space. When we are assertive, we use a calm, kind voice that is “just right.” We display body language that is “just right.” We hold our heads high, stand up straight with our shoulders back, keep our hands to our sides, maintain eye contact, and remain a respectful 18″ from the other person.
In the classroom, we practiced saying phrases such as, “No,” “I don’t like it when you do that,” “I was in the middle of using that marker,” “I wish you would stop pushing me,” and “I asked you to stop.” It was great to watch the students trying to go from giggling to assertive after a few practice sentences!