Determining if my kids are bossy or assertive

Lexie last month had a sleepover and it gave us a chance to watch her behavior. My husband could hear her ordering her friend around and wondered if she was being too bossy.

No one wants a bossy child. But it is a fine line between being bossy and being assertive. You don’t want them to be domineering, but you also don’t want them to be a total pushover either. There is nothing wrong with having an opinion and being strong-willed.

So, is your child bossy or assertive?

And no, these are not the same things even though people often use the two interchangeably. The difference is small but significant. It is all in how you say something.

If Lexie’s brother is touching her things, there is nothing wrong with telling him not to do it. She should not have to put up with him touching or taking her things without asking. She may have a legitimate reason for being upset, but it is in how she chooses to handle the situation that matters. Too often her reaction is to screech ‘Stop taking my stuff!’

Yelling between those two is a common occurrence even though we always admonish this behavior. When they play video games and one of them doesn’t respond the way the other wants, their response is to yell.

But screaming at people rarely is the way to go. In both situations, both kids need to stop and think about how they would want to be addressed if the situation was reversed. Would Lexie like it if Jase yelled at her for touching his stuff? (And of course, he has.) Would Jase respond better with a different approach?

It will take time and a lot of repetition to get either child to see and understand the difference between being bossy/demanding and being polite. (Right now, I will take polite over assertive.) They just need to take other people’s feelings into consideration while stating their own perspective.

And one of the keys to changing Lexie’s (and Jase’s) behavior will be consistency. My husband and I need to address their bossiness every time. Too often it is easier to let it go or to let them try to work out their own problems but to truly get the results we want we must be consistent with calling them out on the behavior.

Lexie and Jase still need reminding that they can’t always get his or her way. They need to learn that others can say no to them whether it is a sibling who doesn’t want to play a game or a friend who would rather have go swimming than play a video game. There is no harm in asking others to do something, but that person can say no – or heaven forbid, do something their own way.

As with all things this is going to take time and patience to achieve the desired result. I want them to stick up for themselves and to be confident. But I also want them to learn to compromise, to do try what others want to do and be a good friend.

Today’s Featured Author – Rosie Christie

Please welcome author Rosie Christie to my blog. Her book, As Tears Go By, was released last year. She is currently working on a sequel to it.

Interview

Please tell us about your current release.

As Tears Go By – Inspired by True Events – An eye-opener to treatment of Indigenous Children lost in the system.

The emotions portrayed by Maria, a beautiful Cree woman raised in residential school, attempting to save her children from the same demise as herself, tears at your heart strings while Kate, the overbearing foster mother rules with an iron fist, a wicked mouth and a razor strop. This book is compelling which makes it a very hard book to put down. Follow the journey as the fate of Maria’s children, Dolly, Jacob and Rayen, hang in the balance.

What inspired you to write this book/series?

This story is something I have had extreme difficulty with for over a half century which is when it all began. It is only by the grace of God that I am still here on this earth. This is why I felt it was a testimony that needed to be heard. This story even to myself seemed so unbelievable that it needed to be shared.

How did I come up with the title?

“As The Years Go By” was what I was typing with lightning speed when the title “As Tears Go By” emerged. It proved appropriate to the content and it stuck with me.

If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

“Rayen – More Than Enough” is the second book of what I now call the Rayen Series.

Rayen leaves the house where she has been abused for the past 12 years.  At the tender age of thirteen she discovers the name she is using is not her own. Nothing she has been told is real. She hates herself. The streets can be cruel for a naïve preprogrammed little girl. Pedophiles and violent men swarm to her in droves. Would death be kinder?

What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

“As Tears Go By” and “Rayen – More Than Enough” have both invoked so many emotions that each page has been difficult to write. These stories need to be told. It is my hope that other people can find inspiration in these survival stories and that in some way I can help them.

 Book Blurb

I changed their names. I shaped their minds. I was judge, jury, and executioner. No one could stop me. No one! To anyone looking in, we were just a normal church going, family. No one was aware of the dark secrets we held within the walls of the tiny house by the swamp. I was the woman with the razor strop and I made sure every blow connected. That was until the day the sheriff handed me my subpoena. I felt the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Abuse? What? The one-word ringing in my head drowning out anything and everything else that might have been said. I felt I might just pass out right there on the step. I kept my composure until he pulled out of the driveway and then my anger quickly exploded into rage. Those ungrateful little bastards. After everything, I did for them. This was my thanks. A bolt of straight adrenaline shot through my veins and I grabbed the gun….. I had instilled the fear of god in them. I am not a woman to be tampered with. How could this be happening? My one mistake…and I don’t make many… was not realizing that these stupid children would grow up.

About the Author

My name is Rosie Christie and I am from the Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan. I am a Canadian Author. My inspiration came from author V.C Andrews. “Flowers in the Attic” was a major influence in my life when I realized that I was not alone in my plight. This author gave me the strength to continue on and to eventually escape from the nightmare that I lived.

In reform school I was taught to write down my thoughts and feelings that were too indescribable to speak about. We would burn these writings on the fire. I continued to use this mechanism as a release for many years and I did not elect to publish any writing until 2016.

My writing is slated as Fiction but only for legality purpose. I feel it is anyone’s inherent right to write or speak about their own history without repercussion but this is not so when abuse is involved.

You can find out more about Rosie and read the first chapter on All Author.

You can purchase As Tears Go By on Amazon.

 

Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

This post is the twelfth in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Last week I wrote about one of the most crucial scenes in your novel – the very first scene. But there are still many more scenes to write. And each scene of course has a beginning, middle and end. Here are some tips and ideas on how to begin and end a scene in your novel.

Beginning a Scene

So how do you begin a scene? Well, begin is kind of a misleading term as some scenes pick up in the middle of the action or continue where another scene left off. Often a new scene starts at the beginning of a chapter or is separate by a break of four lines or maybe a series of *** to let the reader know a new scene is to begin.

How you handle each scene probably won’t be the same way each time, but here are some ideas on how to start a scene.

Begin in the Middle

Instead of building up to the action, sometimes it is best to begin in the middle of the scene with the action in full swing.

The horse’s hooves thundered across the ground. Tosh dug his claws into the saddle as his back legs threatened to slip off. A firm hand pressed against his side, pulling him closer toward the young man behind him. Feeling safer, Tosh leaned out to see the terrain up ahead. He blinked his eyes in disbelief at what he saw. – the opening scene of The Search.

Here the action is already taking place. The reader must continue reading to find out what danger lies ahead and why Tosh is riding on the horse in such a hurry. This type of beginning to a scene is more dynamic than one describing the scenery. It can hook the reader quickly.

Beginning with Dialogue

This really is a variation of the above scenario but instead of being in the middle of the action, you begin in the middle of a conversation. The conversation can be the momentum that sweeps the reader along. There is an element of suspense as the reader tries to figure out the context of the conversation.

Starting at the actual beginning
Sometimes the best place to begin is at the beginning. For many people that might be the beginning of the day. It is a natural place to start but this has been done so many times that beginnings, such as “I woke up to the screaming alarm clock” have become cliché.

Start with Setting

Of course, some authors begin their scenes with a description of the setting. But when you do this, you are announcing to the reader that the setting is important and will have an active influence on the characters and action in the scene. If your character is on a deserted island, the lay of the land may be helpful in letting the reader know what is available.

Dream sequence

If you want to disappoint or perhaps even anger your readers – start with a dream. Your reader is engrossed in the action of the scene and the death-defying situation with no way out. Then the reader turns the page only to discover the character wakes up, and it was all a dream. After that, the character arises from the bed, and the real story begins.

Now this isn’t to say you can’t start a scene with a dream, but you should only do so if the dream is an integral part of the story. I started my first book, Summoned, with a dream sequence, but I made sure the reader knew it was a dream BEFORE I began the dream.

The young woman tossed in her bed, muttering softly. She rolled over, her long honey-colored hair covering her pale face. Her fingers dug into the mattress. She shook her head as she sank deeper into the dream.

The yellow light cut through the dark. Her eyes stayed focused on it as it flickered before her like a hundred candles dancing in a soft summer breeze, growing brighter as she neared. As she walked, her hands reached out, touching the smooth, cold stone wall. That alone should have warned Lina something was not right. Even as her mind called out that this was all wrong, she continued down the hall toward the light and toward whatever was calling her.

There is no right or wrong way to begin a scene. These are only a few suggestions. You may need to try several of them to find what works best for your scene. Just remember that the secret to a good opening – whether it is for your book or merely one of its many scenes – is that it compels the reader to keep reading.

Ending a scene

The ending moments complete the scene and should leave the reader wanting more. It should make them eager to begin the next scene.

It is always best to end a scene as early as possible. You want your last statement to be strong and not full of unnecessary details. Depending on the situation, you can end the scene with a sense of finality or with something that propels the reader forward.

Remember that each scene is part of a larger story. The ending of a scene should make the reader think, “That was good. I want more.” And then plunge ahead into the next scene.

Cliffhanger Ending.

This type of ending is characterized by stopping the scene just as a major action is about to take place or in the middle of the action at a crucial point. The easiest way to think about this is to watch a TV drama. Something important is revealed and then…cut to commercial break. That leaves the viewer hanging around waiting for the show to return rather than channel surfing. You want the same type of reaction from your reader.

Cliffhanger endings typically happen at the end of chapters forcing the reader to start the next chapter to see what happens.

However, some authors do not continue the scene in the next chapter. In order to heighten the reader’s curiosity, they insert a scene or chapter that takes place somewhere else, perhaps with different characters.

Even though the cliffhanger ending is a powerful tool, you can’t use it to end ALL your scenes..

You might also end a scene by revealing insight into one of the characters. This might happen through an internal monologue that the character is having about the events that occurred in the scene, or it could happen through dialogue with another character. Ending in the middle of dialogue can be confusing to the reader, but it also can heighten a passionate or revealing exchange. The exact place the dialogue ends could reveal a lot about the character: their fears, hopes, how they are changing.

Sometimes a scene ends with a note about the setting or the character doing something mundane. But the fact we are focused on it elevates that item to greater importance.

No matter what ending you decide to use, remember to make sure they do their job: hook the reader into wanting to read more.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

Organizing PTA Parent-Education seminars

Part of my responsibility as first vice president of my daughter’s elementary school parent-teacher association (PTA) is to bring in speakers to help educate the parents. Last year, I brought a speaker on cyber-bullying. My goal this year was to bring in two different speakers.

One of the fifth-grade teachers at her school is also member-at-large for the Texas Parent-Teacher Association. For the past few years, he has given a speech about Maximizing Parent-Teacher Conferences at the annual statewide leadership conference. But he has always told those of us who attend from his school that we shouldn’t attend his speech as he can always give us that information at a different time.

Last year, I wanted to get him to give this speech at our school but I approached him in the middle of September and we couldn’t get anything planned before conferences started in the middle of October. Instead, I had to settle for him writing a two-sided flyer that gave parents tips. (Check out my post about it here.)

This year I approached Mr. Shelby in August, and we scheduled his speech for the end of September as conferences begin mid-October. As with any presentation, you can plan and advertise it but getting a full house is a different matter. I think even Mr. Shelby was worried about getting people to show up. We had 26 parents attend which nicely filled up our library tables but is a real small percentage of the parents who have children attending the school.

The main point of his presentation is that the parent-teacher conference is not the first time you should see your child’s grades. In our school district, you can go online and check grades on homework and tests plus there are always papers coming home. There really should be no surprises.

The parent-teacher conference is a time to work with the teacher in deciding what areas your child needs to work on. Even good kids have something that can challenge them or maybe there is something that can push them to achieve more.

The second speaker I plan to bring in will speak on children and internet safety. I will be going through the Texas PTA’s Ready, Set, Achieve program since the CyberBullying one last year was so well done.

Internet safety is an important topic in our technology-driven society and with the ever changing technology and apps out there, I don’t think parents can attend too many of these talks. In fact the middle school just brought in someone from Homeland Security to talk about the same thing.

It was a good speech though most of the information covered was stuff that I have heard before. He recommended that you check your kids’ phones weekly. You should know who they are talking to just as you would want to know who their friends are if they were meeting with them in person.

He recommended the website netsmartz.org as a way for parents and kids to learn more about online safety and the dangers of posting information online. To report Cyber Bullying, he recommended Cybertipline.org. Both websites are hosted by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

I’m looking forward to my January speaker and if he/she provides any useful websites or information, I will certainly write a post about it.