Helping quiet 5yo learn to stand up for himself
Seeking tips from parents with gentler boys who had/are having trouble sticking up for themselves with other kids. My son is 5 years old and we have been working with teachers and at home to help him stand up for himself when kids are doing something he doesn't like or invades his space. Examples: grabbing things out of his hand, shaking him by the shoulders, pushing him out of the way to get to something, breaking something he has built, etc.
It is very hard for my son to articulate his feelings or to clearly set boundaries. He tends to retreat inside himself. We have tried to model our feelings out loud or articulate "I don't like it when you..." or "Stop!" etc., which is ongoing. In the past he has not been interested in trying martial arts, which I hoped and am still hoping might establish more confidence.
As he prepares to head into new situations like camps and Kinder at a new school, I'm feeling more anxious that other kids will see how the "leader" treats him and follow suit (this is happening on a small level now). At school so far it's not an ongoing bullying situation from what the teacher observes, rather, rough intermittent interactions with kids he sees as friends, with the leader initiating. Seems like behavior best to nip in the bud...