Browsing the discussions in the Blog Catalog website, I came across a discussion about why is it hard to be assertive. My answer was that I believe if children are taught to speak up for themselves, it will be easier to do this when they're adults. Children who are taught not to speak up or that what they have to say is not important or childish will grow up holding in their opinions. They will be afraid to ask for what they want because early in life they were taught to only listen and be quiet.
I don't believe this is exactly the cause and effect but I do believe in listening to children and hearing what they have to say. This isn't equivalent to doing whatever your child says or letting them have their way but if your child says they feel embarrassed about something or that they are afraid to express themselves to you, it's your duty to find out why and to hear what they have to say.
I didn't always have this chance as a child. There was a time when my opinions and beliefs were confined to ink on pages, notes in music or melodies in songs. I shut myself away in my room because I never felt like I would be heard. It wasn't until high school that I started feeling confident in speaking up. My parents split up so I no longer had to hear arguments lingering in the hallways. Home life was a lot more peaceful and I felt safer. It was in the classroom that I was able to speak my mind, share what I had to say and really blossom as an individual.
Today, I don't feel weird about speaking up but now I feel that if I do and someone is not listening then it isn't worth my time to try to make them listen. I feel that when you are my friend or a loved one, we'll want to share our thoughts, opinions and hear what the other has to say. If that isn't the case, our interactions will become few and far between.
As adults, we can pick and choose who is worth our time. As children, we're pretty much stuck unless a parent is willing to hear how we feel about a certain person, group of people or situation. If we can't feel comfortable around the first set of people we are introduced to, how are we going to feel comfortable interacting with the rest of the world?