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A non-confrontational child...a little advice needed

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My oldest son is non-confrontational to a fault. It usually becomes a problem on days when he seems tired (ie TODAY). Let me give a couple of examples (all from today) and you folks can tell me if I'm overly criticizing a thoughtful child or if I need some tips on helping him "stand up for himself."


We have a neighbor boy over to play and the kiddos just got done building and playing with a playdoh dinosaur island (I LOVE filthwizardry.com). DS1 comes into the room to tell me that the island will probably be ruined because the other kids are getting water all over the playdoh. I suggested he go ask them not to, he says "No, it's okay."

A little later he comes in teary with a toy he received last night at VBS. It was a lobster that you put in water and it grows in size. Someone accidently almost ripped a claw off. I told him "Sorry, that sometimes happens. Maybe you can go ask who did it?" Once again..."No, it's okay." But it wasn't, because he pouted about it for the next 30 minutes, repeatedly coming into the room to talk about it.

Lastly, he wanted to know if they could all have a snack (Snoopy Fruit Snacks) I said, "Yep, just MAKE SURE that there are 4 left before you even say anything to anyone else." He gives one to everyone and I say "So did everyone get one." He says, "No, there were only 3 so I gave mine to 'neighbor kid'." He was teary about it.

AAAAAAARRRRGGHHHHH! I am trying to explain to him that if he doesn't tell someone they are doing something he doesn't like, did something that offended him, etc. he will be walked all over the rest of his life. It is really only like this with non-family members. He is happy to air his grievances to/about siblings. :lol:

His father is also self-admittedly "non-confrontational". He might be picking up on this....although I think his father is actually just wise (rather than hot-headed like his wife. :tongue_smilie:)

I have other examples...but what do ya'll think?

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My oldest DS, now 12, is like this, always has been. He's the one that wouldn't get any candy in a Pinata situation because he didn't "hussle and push" like many children. He would be the one that only got one egg at the Easter Egg hunt because he didn't race to beat the others. He would be the one that gave away all the snacks and didn't save one for himself, and knew it while doing it. He would be the one that would "trade" Pokemon/YuGiOh cards with another child, even though he KNEW he was it was a bad trade. He would be the one that is at the back of the line, again because he didn't hussle and push to get in line, AND then still people would cut in front of him and he would just kind of stand there and let it happen. He would be the one that let the neighbor child, who is NOTORIOUS for breaking things, treating things badly, leaving other's property lay just wherever it dropped, borrow a new toy.


It's a personality thing. And yes, DH is kind of like this...he's nice to a fault sometimes.


One on hand, I am proud that DS is such a kind soul...but I know that sometimes you just can't be THAT kind. It's just a constant conversation that we have had with him...about treating others kindly, but also standing up for yourself. It's gotten a bit better as he matures. I don't think we can ever change it, but it will just be something he learns to make better choices as he grows up.

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The first couple of examples, I would definitely talk to him about. There are times when confrontation is necessary. In our house that includes...


Danger and destruction. If someone is in danger or an object is in danger of being destroyed, it is time to speak up.


The last example is exactly what we teach our children to do. So I would only address the attitude about it and the fact that he disobeyed you. Choosing to give a guest the last of the snack is an honorable choice in our home and I would praise him for it.


I'll add that I wouldn't just talk to him about it. I would start roll playing with him over and over again until sticking up for himself becomes more natural. It really does help to have practiced in advance what you can say in situations like that.

Edited by Daisy
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My daughter is also very non-confrontational. She gets it from me... :tongue_smilie:As an adult, dealing with other adults, it isn't *such* an issue. As a child however, dealing with other children who haven't yet learned the rules of society... it is hard. DD will not get anything from pinatas, will get pushed to the back of the line over and over again by kids cutting in front of her, etc. For the most part I try and let her handle it herself, but I do step in if it gets really bad.

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Thanks to you all, so far, for the advice! I can see my son in some of the situations (being pushed back in line, unequal trades), but not so much the pinata one.....if there is candy involved, it is a strong motivator. LOL Well, except in yesterday's case with the snacks. Normally, I would applaud this type of behavior. I like for them to think of others before themselves in that type of situation, but it was just the lead up to that action. I knew that he was almost trying to play a "martyr" and it wasn't sitting well with me.

I like the ideas of role playing. I think I will try some of that. I also had a talk with dh last night about this and he is getting on the wagon to help too. Hopefully, some constructive talks from both of us will start to nip this in the bud before it gets too ugly.

Thanks again!

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