The stakes are huge right now, with the state of politics, the climate, the pandemic — you name it. People in my neighbourhood have no qualms about voicing their opinions on who to vote for, whose lives matter, and who is welcome. On bumpers, in yards, in windows, and on one street corner, a large cloth banner hanging down a retaining wall, there are signs and slogans everywhere.

But what does it mean to stand up for your ideas as a child? Or an adolescent? Or in places where openly expressing one’s political ideas is frowned upon?

You may start young, according to parenting expert Michelle Borba. “The excellent news is that we can start teaching kids as young as toddlers the essential qualities and abilities of strong character and moral bravery,” she says.


Ask them what they think

Younger children do not always have the vocabulary to express their beliefs. Perhaps they aren’t even aware of their own opinions. As a parent, your job is to provide ample opportunities for children to discuss their values and beliefs by asking them what they think when they see or hear about an injustice or moral difficulty. Simply by asking and listening, you are demonstrating to them that their beliefs are important.

Then say something like, ‘Tell me more…’

Isn’t it funny how kids have their own logic? Even if they can feel it in their bones, few 6-year-olds will be able to verbalise why discrimination is wrong. Teasing out their opinions with them and urging the dialogue along will help kids learn to explain their perspectives in a safe environment. They’ll be ready to speak up on their own someday if they practise with you.

Set an example for them

Young people’s ability to effect change by standing up for their ideas is clear. Malala. Greta Thunberg is a Swedish model. Survivors of the Parkland school tragedy. Ascertain that your youngsters are aware of their backstories. Even better if there are local children and teenagers who are making a difference in your town.

Understand your past

You should expect your children to ask inquiries, especially concerning sensitive themes like race. And you can and should be ready with facts — or at the very least sit with your youngster while you look up answers from trustworthy sources.

Set a good example

“One fantastic question to ask yourself every day is: ‘If I were the only example my child had to develop moral habits, what did she learn today from observing me?” says Dr. Borba. It’s not simply talking the talk; it’s also walking the walk. Direct moral education, or talking to your child about your values, is also important.

Bring them with you

It’s not just at the dinner table or in Facebook comments that you may stand up for your opinions. Passionate people are increasingly flocking to the streets, not only to have their voices heard, but also to be in community with others who share their values.

If your community hosts organised (i.e., safe) marches, bring your kids along. They’ll see how individuals can express themselves in a variety of ways, from what they chant to what they dress to the jokes on the signs they hold. Marches can serve as a good reminder that singing, laughter, and even joy can all be part of standing up for what you believe in.

Educate kids to distinguish between assertive and aggressive behaviour

One could argue that we currently lack role models who are capable of respectfully disagreeing. It is, without a doubt, an art form. Teach your children how to confidently express their opinions — by making eye contact, standing tall, and speaking in a calm, clear voice — without becoming enraged or pointing fingers. You can be enthusiastic while remaining courteous. You can be both a believer and a considerate person.

Make it clear to them that not everyone will agree with them

That’s OK. It’s possible that this is the point.

Support them in getting involved

Children are unable to vote at this time. There are, however, other ways to participate. You can assist them with composing a letter. You can volunteer as a group. If your child is in school, you may want to urge him or her to join or form a group. It’s all about putting words into action and cultivating a can-do attitude so that when they see something wrong in the world, they know what to do about it.


  1. What do you do when your child is mean to your child?

    How to Help Your Kids Deal with Unkind Children
    – Listen and make a connection. It can be extremely difficult for our children to interact with mean children….
    – Assist your children in making genuine friends.
    – Assist them in gaining the confidence to confront bullies.
    – Teach them how to be angry without being cruel.
    – Teach them when to seek assistance.

  2. How do you teach your kid to stand up for themselves?

    These are the fundamentals of assertiveness:
    “Stop calling me those names,” tell the offending child.
    “I don’t like it when you tease me like that,” say with a “I” statement.
    Leave if the bad behaviour continues.

  3. How do I get my child to stand up?

    5 suggestions for raising assertive children
    1 | Show respect for children….
    2 | Saying “no” isn’t always a bad thing.
    3 | Teaching children the value of saying “no” empowers them.
    4 | It takes a lot of practise to get good at something….
    5 | Be a role model for assertiveness…
    6 | Fake it ’til it’s real.

  4. Should you teach your child to fight back?

    Although the majority of students agree that initiating violence is unacceptable, many advocate retaliation as a means of deterring aggression and bullying. Parents frequently advise their children to retaliate. Even teachers will sometimes advise their children to do this when they are parenting their own children.