We all want to raise our kids to be polite and help people if they need it. And while it’s important that your child learn to be polite, politeness can be overdone and result in negative consequences. If your child always does what others say, regardless of how they feel about the request, it’s a sure sign that your child may be too passive. That’s why it’s important to teach your child healthy assertiveness.

Recognize Inappropriate & Unreasonable Requests

If your child passively follows along with what their friends tell them to do, they can set themselves up for possible bullying. The reason being, other children will see your child as an easy target and that passivity rewards bulling behavior from others. Teach your child that being polite doesn’t mean going along with everybody.

Reinforce to your child that while it’s good to assist others if they ask for help, they must recognize when a request is inappropriate or unreasonable. An inappropriate or unreasonable request would be another child asking yours to give them the toy they brought to school or pressuring your child to make fun of someone. By recognizing these types of requests, your child will be able to respond appropriately—but only if they now how to.

It’s Okay to Say No

While saying no may seem rude, emphasize to your child that they are within their rights to say no and that it’s okay to refuse to do something they’re not comfortable with. Role-play scenarios with your child to help them recognize and feel comfortable saying no to unreasonable requests. In doing so, your child will learn how to assert their boundaries without feeling guilty.

Healthy Assertiveness Promotes Healthy Relationships

If your child grows up always saying yes, it signals to others that they can always get what they want from your child—all they have to do is ask. This behavior isn’t healthy and can affect their relationships later in life. By learning how to say no, children will be able to develop and keep healthy, strong relationships, as well as take better care of themselves. Your child will be more apt to speak up for themselves or others and handle difficult situations calmly and maturely.