“You’re too young to have an opinion”
I am sure that many of you have either heard these words when you were a kid or have spoken them to your own children. Oftentimes in the Black community we don’t allow our children to have opinions or to engage in any kind of conversation that is seen as adult. While there are certain topics our kids shouldn’t be a part of, there are long term benefits of letting our children in on some of these crucial conversations
Teaching Self-Advocacy – There is an art and sometimes a fine line between assertiveness and aggressiveness. Allowing a child to engage in advocating for themselves at a young age can help them learn how to do so without tipping over into aggression.
This is especially helpful when advocating for themselves with someone who is in a position of authority over them. For some, learning this skill can help them get more comfortable speaking up especially if the child is shy.
Building Confidence – Allowing your child to be involved in discussions will help them feel more confident in themselves and their ability to add value to relationships and situations. Give them kudos when they make a good suggestion or point out an important point.
Of course, depending upon the age and the conversation, your child may make suggestions that aren’t feasible. It is important that in those cases you don’t put them down or use words like “crazy” or “stupid” that would serve to break down their confidence instead of building it up
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