Friday, May 19, 2023

How Parents Can Encourage Their Kids to Speak Up

How Parents Can Encourage Their Kids to Speak Up

From the moment kids start speaking, we also teach them how to be quiet. Kids are told to use quiet voices just about everywhere they go (stores, classes, and waiting rooms, to name a few). When children also learn how to express themselves with confidence and assert their needs and ideas, they experience increased self-esteem, positive peer relationships, and better school performance. The ability to speak up helps kids manage their emotions, and conflicts in a healthy way.


Why is it important for your child to speak?

You are out for a walk in a park. Your neighbor comes and asks the child, “Why did you miss the school today?  The child is a little hesitant to answer. Seeing this, without wasting a moment, you answer for him. Have you ever thought about what damage this cost? Whenever you speak up for him you make him meek and dependent.

Now I have a question for such parents – Why don’t you allow your child to speak for himself?

Q. Do you think you are doing any good for your child?

Q. Do you know by not allowing the child to use his voice you are hurting his self-esteem?

If you don’t step in, you give your child a chance to think about what to say and how to say it. If you answer for your child that is disrespecting your child and he will feel you don’t believe in him. A child has a right to express his thoughts and opinions. He is capable enough to answer such questions.

We all know today’s child is tomorrow’s leader. If you really want him to contribute to society when he grows up, allow him to learn how to properly communicate with other people.

Suppose someone asks him his name and the child doesn’t respond, a wise parent would say, “Come on dear, he is asking you a question. Please do reply.” A wise parent will never reply to the child because he understands that as parents it is our job to teach our children how to engage with others. By not giving them a chance to speak you are limiting your child’s mental growth and lowering his self-confidence.

Let your child answer and decide simple things for himself, like:

  • ·      Ordering food for himself at a restaurant
  • ·      In a hotel he wants to go to the washroom, let him ask the waiter and find one for himself
  • ·      He was not able to do the homework yesterday for some reason. He should have the courage to go and tell the teacher
  • ·      Saying “No” for certain things

You are not supposed to speak for your child all the time. Sometimes he might be too shy or nervous or if you want to protect your child, you may have to reply for your child. Fine but don’t allow this to happen frequently. Let them speak up. By communicating with others, they will be prepared for the times when you won’t be by their side.

Take out time each day to have thoughtful conversations with your child. It can be at the dinner table or when you are doing something in the kitchen – ask him his opinion. Show some curiosity about his thoughts and opinions, and encourage him by saying – “Really amazing or very interesting.” Or “I am highly impressed. Tell me something more about it.”

Always keep in mind that as a parent your job is to prepare your child to live without you in the future. Show your faith in his abilities and encourage him to come out of his comfort zone. Let him build his independence and be capable of living up to his full potential.

Let’s not shush them, let’s teach them to use their voice effectively.


Points to remember:

  • §  Understand the reason behind the shyness of your child
  • §  Developing the ability to speak up takes time and practice
  • §  Encourage the child to speak
  • §  Teach them the benefits of self-advocacy
  • §  Encourage your child to add to a conversation
  • §  Give them the right words and confidence to speak
this is the guest post by Seema Dhall , author of the book "Walking with your Child". Thanks for such a useful post for all the parents. Looking forward to reading more blog posts written by her.


  1. It is very important of parents to let their children express themselves without being fearful. It should start at home. Even among siblings, the older should give chances to the younger to express themselves. :) In today's world, one has to learn to speak up.

  2. Yes, many parents responded quickly, when someone ask something to their kids. and this thing only hampered their kid's grooming and overall personality development. author has explained all pointers so well in this post. indeed, a great post for parents.

  3. Very Correct Post. While some of it may seem very obvious and many would feel they’re already practicing it, it’s much more difficult in reality. A lot of introspection is needed by parents to realise where they’re really creating such an atmosphere for their kids.

  4. Very Correct Post. While some of it may seem very obvious and many would feel they’re already practicing it, it’s much more difficult in reality. A lot of introspection is needed by parents to realise where they’re really creating such an atmosphere for their kids.

  5. Introvert children do hesitate to speak up. I am a total extrovert and tried every way to mould him, but he never did. He was 18 and he wouldn't ask the TT to change his seat closer to his friends on the train to his college. Otherwise he was quite active in school activities.

  6. There is popular phrase " My Life My choice"... well that is not applicable for we adults but also for the children in different age groups. We cannot make our choice as their choice and to be the right parent we need to encourage them to speak their heart out without getting scared of any punishment. Knowing their views we can guide them sharing the pros and cons of their choices. Trust me it will enrich the bond of parent and child better.

  7. This is such an important topic. I have seen many parents speak for their kids, while I feel it's okay to do so because only the parents know what is best for their child, but I also feel it should not be made a habit as I also agree with your points.

  8. In today’s world it’s very important to speak up for yourself. My daughter is shy and tried a lot to make her more vocal . Though she has no fear for public speaking but it takes time for her to open up. It’s difficult with introvert kids but constant encouragement and motivation helps them to open up.

  9. Agree, parents should create a supportive environment where children feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and opinions. Active listening, fostering open communication are a great way to empower kids to find their voice and confidently articulate their ideas.

  10. Yes I know the difference from our time and now. How the kids are more expressive and open about their feelings. But we have to draw the line somewhere too. Negative emotions tend to be overlooked sometimes.

  11. Many times parents end up hampering their kids' social skills by answering for them making them uninteractive with others. Kids must be able to express themselves freely.

  12. Teaching kids to express themselves is as important to teaching them to speak. It gives them the confidence to go about and ask or seek what they want or how they feel.

  13. Completely agree with every word here. Communication is a very important aspect of parenting. The concept is explained well with simple examples. Thanks for sharing.

  14. These are all important pointers. It is essential or every parent to teach kids to communicate properly and also teach them to speak up for themselves.