How do I get my 7 yr old son to defend himself and speak up???

Sandra - posted on 05/12/2009 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My 7 year old son is very, very passive. He doesn't speak up for himself if kids are bothering him, hitting him or taking his things...if you question him or confront him, he gets overwhelmed and begins to cry. I have tried a bunch of things and don't know what else to do....Any suggestions?

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Jennifer - posted on 05/12/2009

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My daughter is 5 and is extremely emotionally sensitive as well. I've really been working with her to try to overcome the obstacle before she starts school. If I would confront her about something she did, she would cry, if someone did something wrong she would get very flustered and shut down. I think with emotionally sensitive children it is so important to explain everything. My daughter has a very strong sense of right and wrong, but for so long had a hard time standing up for it, or herself, she would only get distressed and very visibly upset. I think making them feel safe in their environment is key. When I started I had to over-explain everything to my daughter, why people do the things they do, why I'm disciplining her, I still have to explain a lot but she has done a complete 180! She still gets upset and cries from time to time, but watching her stick up for herself is so gratifying now, or watching her try to talk out her emotions or her thoughts. Try explaining to your son that he shouldn't be afraid to stick up for himself, to tell these other kids that they're wrong, or to tell an adult. Explain different reasons why those kids may be treating him that way (bad parenting, they have issues at home, etc.) The more a child knows, the better equipt they are to handle their surroundings. If you confront him and he cries, let him calm down and tell him why you're asking, why it's important, and by using words and thinking through what's going on in his head, situations will be easier. It's really hard to get through and I used to get so frustrated I ended up making it worse, it's very time consuming in the beginning, but in the end it is so worth it. Get his teachers involved as well so they know what's going on, and how you're trying to work on it. You need a team behind you to get through it, as long as everyone is working together he'll overcome anything. I wish you the best of luck

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Luan - posted on 05/13/2009

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My son is 7 and he has been doing Taekwondo Classes (A form of Martial Arts). It's good for their fitness and health, it gives them a sense of belonging to a team not to mention an interest/hobbie. It builds self confidence and discipline and gives them the skills they need to defend themselves should they ever need to. It is well worth looking into something like this. These things can be expensive but well worth it. I don't think it promotes violence at all. Give it some thought. You can do a lot with Taekwondo. It is an Olympic Sport and the kids can eventually get into tournament fighting as they gain their higher belts and rankings. The one my son goes to has what they call a Demo Team and they perform at fetes and carnivals etc. They incorporate Gymnastics and some acting into the fighting and it is quite effective and visual, great entetainment with a lot of flips and kicks in the air as well as splitting wood. That is my son's goal, to get into that team. Alot of kids are shy when they first start and as a parent you sit on the sidelines thinking, when is it going to happen for them but after a month they really come out of their shells, so don't be put off because your child is shy and passive, he will harden up with time. Goodluck whatever you decide to do.

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