Years 5-6 Subchapter: Managing relationships


An illustration of a young person talking honestly to two others who are actively listening.


Assertiveness is a healthy way of communicating. It's the ability to speak up for ourselves in a way that is honest and respectful.

Being clear and open about our feelings and desires can help prevent arguments. Assertiveness involves putting forward your own view or position at the same time as you are respecting other’s needs.

Assertiveness is different from aggression, which is a violent way to express desires and feelings. Acting aggressively can be overpowering, harming or verbally abusing other people. People who are comfortable stating their wants and needs are less likely to get involved in hurtful relationships.

Here's what it means to be assertive:

  • You can give an opinion or say how you feel.
  • You can ask for what you want or need.
  • You can disagree respectfully.
  • You can offer your ideas and suggestions.
  • You can say no without feeling guilty.
  • You can speak up for someone else.


An illustration of a glowing and happy young person, and two friends are laughing with them.


An assertive communication style can help us do the things we want to do. But it goes further than that. Being assertive shows that we respect ourselves and other people. People who speak assertively send the message that they believe in themselves. They know that their feelings and ideas matter. They're confident and tend to make friends more easily. Assertive people communicate in a way that respects other people's needs as well as their own. They tend to be better at working out conflicts and disagreements.