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  • Assess your child’s personality
    Each child has innate temperaments uniquely her own. Her personality makeup is affected by the upbringing, family system and the environment in which she is raised. Assess if your child is the reserved or the sociable, the follower or the leader. This would help you identify the areas where she needs help. In my work as a counselor, I have encountered many parents saying that their child is confident and a leader at home, yet they are observed to be withdrawn when in school. Be open and objective when receiving feedback from the teacher or counselor. Assess how you are as a parent, as this would impact significantly in your child’s developing personality as well.      

    Coach your child
    If your child is the docile type or may tend to just follow, it is your role as a parent to encourage her to speak and gain confidence in dealing with other people.  Here are some ways that you can help your child:
    1. Let her speak for herself. In daily happenings at home, let your child ask for what she wants, instead of just giving it to her automatically. Allow her to decide for herself, but structure the choices you give her. This would train her to speak out, ask for what she wants and say “no” when needed. This exercise will also build her self-confidence, as listening to her tells her that she matters.
    2. Ask about her insights, opinions and feelings when you ask her to do a task or when her siblings request something from her. This would create an opportunity to develop her ability to speak and reason out. Likewise, you can evaluate her disposition and instruct her if needed if you ask her situational questions, like, “What would you do if a classmate asks you to copy his notes for him?”  
    3. Prompt your child when in social situations or out of the home. Even if she refuses at first, affirm your child by taking note of her little accomplishments, like asking for extra tissue from the waiter, asking for directions to the men’s room, or saying “no” if she does not like the kind of play by other kids, etc. This would help your child gain confidence and be comfortable in dealing with different people.

    Empower your child
    One of the best insights I gained from a notable psychologist is, “Never do for a child what the child can do for himself!” We will not be there all the time to do things for our children and to stand up to anyone who would offend them. Bossy classmates would eventually become bossy peers and bossy work mates. We are not in control of how others are, but it is in our hands to tap our child’s inner resource and capability to stand up for herself and handle matters appropriately and maturely. Thus, developing the child’s confidence, self-esteem and assertiveness is what parents can do to prepare their child to deal with all kinds of people on their own.  

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