When my son was in school, during IEP meetings and during parent/teacher meetings, we were constantly told: "Isaiah needs to advocate for himself."
His teachers explained that Isaiah never asked for help when he needed it. However, Isaiah's teachers made it seem as if getting Isaiah to ask for help when he needed it was the same as asking him to hang up his jacket. Simply telling him to speak up did not work.
Over time I came to realize that the main reason that Isaiah did not advocate for himself was because of the way he viewed himself. He had low self-esteem. When it came to asking for help, being assertive, setting goals, and advocating for himself in other ways, Isaiah
- Was embarrassed
- Doubted his abilities
- Did not focus on his needs
- Did not think that he mattered enough to fight for
- Did not want to appear to need help when his peers did not
No matter how much I encouraged Isaiah to speak up and let teachers know when he needed help, it did not matter. He did not have the mindset that would have led him to advocate for himself.
Once I understood this, I went to work helping Isaiah work on loving himself and understanding his value.
It's been a journey.
He is now at a place where he has greater self-awareness and a much better understanding of his value. As a result, he started to advocate for himself.
Whether you are a mom, a teacher, a counselor, or a youth group leader, if you are looking for resources to help your students understand their value, let's chat about my workshops. I also give afterschool workshops.
To chat, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 630-803-1126.