Building Confidence...

Riana - posted on 01/13/2011 ( 13 moms have responded )

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I’ll choose not to bore you with the details of why I feel that I’d like to build confidence in my children at this current moment.

Fact is that at some point in time all of our children will have a knock to their self esteem due to factors out of our control. Instead of sulking about it I’m trying to brainstorm practical useable actions on my part that will improve my children’s self confidence in the long run and I’d love to hear your input.

This is not a debate, it’s a list. Every mom that has an idea of how to improve self confidence in children can add to the list. Please copy and paste the list each time and let’s see how many we can come up with. I have a few but will start with only one as I’d really love to hear your ideas also.

1. Tell your child you love them everyday, preferably more than once.

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Jascinta - posted on 01/14/2011

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i read a book recently that may be of interest to some of you..... i think it was called 'how to talk so kids listen and how to listen so kids talk'. by Elaine Mazlish Adele Faber. i enjoyed it anyway :)

[deleted account]

It is interesting how we focused on failure. I know the reason I probably did was because my son just experienced a pretty big one and it forced me to think a lot about how I needed to help him cope with it.

I'm not sure it's really "silly" to spend this much time on a failure because it will help us with the next failure. There will always be more.. Success doesn't hurt, or "knock us down" so to speak, it builds us up on it's own with very little external input. But when we fail, we often need help getting our courage back to try again, so as parents, I think we need to focus on ways to help our kids get their courage back, but also teach them how to get it back themselves when we are not there. So they have courage to take on new challenges, and thus, an opportunity for success...after all, there can be no success or failure without challenges, and with a challenge, there must be success or failure.

Riana - posted on 01/14/2011

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What is interesting is how everyone refers to failure while when I started this post I had challenges in mind. It is not failure that prompted line of thought. I would be silly if I spend this much effort on one little failure. Success is never ending, failure is never final.

I understand also that all people face challenges and that this is what builds character, but when you have to watch how a little person is forced to face these challenges day in and day out relentlessly I think it's fair to wish for the world to be gentle if only for a day.

It might seem unrelated but what I'm getting at is that some people need more than just good self esteem to survive, my brother beatifully defined it as tenacity.

So I'm not obsesive about failure I'm simply the proud mom of a tenacious little boy who is determined to provide him with the support he deserves.

Hope that somehow makes sense...

[deleted account]

JuLeah, I think that is a great topic for another thread, and I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but I also feel like there is a lot we CAN do to help our children build self esteem. No matter what we do when a child fails, it has an impact on their self esteem, we can decide if it is a positive or a negative impact.

So, on with the original thread.

1. Tell your child you love them everyday, preferably more than once
2. take the time to listen to what they're saying/ how they feel. and to allow them that without judgement.
3. Allow them to make desisions for themselves like what they would like to wear.
4. Allow them to make decisions for themselves that include discipline to empower them about what is appropriate and not appropriate behavior.
5. Encourage them to devise strategies and be involved in decision making processes that affect them and the family.
6. Talk to them like they really matter, don't dismiss them because they are children.
7. When a child fails at something he tried hard to accomplish, brainstorm with him on ways he could accomplish the goal next time.
8. Give credit and praise for trying hard, but acknowledge failure as well. Don't give praise just for "showing up" if you can tell your kid didn't try, don't pretend to be proud.
9. Give kids challenges that you know they can overcome with effort so that they get to feel the pride of accomplishing something they had to actually work at and experience the emotions that come with failure on something that is not really important to them, so it's not overwhelming and shocking when they fail at something really important to them.
10. Don't play down their goals. Even if you know winning the class art contest is not a big deal, if your kid thinks it is, encourage him to try, don't set him up for failure by telling him over and over, it's okay if you don't win, before the contest even begins.

JuLeah - posted on 01/13/2011

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Actually, it is a debate cause I disagree. You can't build self esteem. You can't give another person self esteem. It is wonderful to say to your child, "I am proud of you." But what you want is for the child to say, "I am proud of myself"
While I do think it is important to tell you child they are loved, I think it is more important to show them (time you spend, eye contact, smiles, hugs, interest in their lives, care about their feelings ....)
People think kids are born with a set amount of self esteem and if it is ever gone, then it's just gone.
No, kids are born with no self esteem. That is developed and earned as they grow - when they fail and pick themselves back up, when they face their fears, when they over come challenges, when they finish big projects, when they do what is hard ..... parents, I have observed, actually take from their children the child's chance to gain self esteem becasue we make things easy for them, we do the hard part, we tell them their work is good when it is not, we make excuses, we bend the rules, we make exceptions, we let them slide (just this once) .....
I watched a T-Ball game a few years back. The child at bat didn't want to be there and swung with no effort at all. His father, the first base coach, stood there screaming his fool head off "Thataboy! I am proud of you son! You're perfect!"
The kid, kind of, hit the ball and WALKED to first base. Dad is still screaming, "Comeonson! YOUcandoit!!!"
Dad hugged him, high fived him .... kid just looked sad. He said, "Can we go home now?"
Later I had a chance to speak with the lad and asked him many questions. He said, "My dad thinks I suck. I hate this game!"
Okay, now, your dad has been making a fool of himself all afternoon yelling for you, how do you walk away thinking he thinks you suck?
Well, the kid could not really put it into words, but I think he was saying this: If my dad is yelling like that, then that is the best he thinks I can do. If that is the best he thinks I can do, then he thinks I suck.
So, this pppor dad is busting his hump in an effort to build this boys self esteem and actually, he is knocking it down with every breath.
This father taught me a lesson I won't forget and I promise you ... the times my child has brought me a (whatever) and I don't think it is her best work, I send her back to the drawing table. She might complain, but I always see a smile at the corner of her mouth and when she comes back with her second effort, it is worth bragging over. I ask, "Are you proud of yourself?"

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[deleted account]

Jasinta, I have that book! I loved it too. I found it very helpful dealing with my 4 year old's sulky attitudes. He is 6 now and I just pulled it out again for a refresher. It is one I'm sure I'll use throughout his childhood :)

JuLeah - posted on 01/14/2011

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@Riana .... perfect. Any kid would be lucky to have such support. Any kid able to grow learning these lessons will understand the only limits in their life are the ones they accept. We need people like this

Riana - posted on 01/13/2011

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JuLeah (and everyone else) – Thanks for your input, it’s forced me to think and I like that.

So I will rephrase.

Fact remains that at some point in time all of our children will have a knock to their self esteem due to factors out of our control. I realise that this COULD be a blessing in disguise. However how they react to these challenges and how these challenges affect their character is unfortunately also out of our control.

Instead of sulking about it I’m trying to brainstorm practical useable actions on my part that will CREATE AN ENVIROMENT THAT WILL HAVE A POSITIVE INFLUENCE ON THE PROCESS OF MY CHILDREN BUILDING THEIR OWN self confidence.

So even though I might have phrased it wrong on the first post the question remains the same – having faced what is out of my control my question remains what is WITHIN my control that will have a positive influence on the development of their character specifically when faced with a challenge.

As I have said I have a vague list in my head of actions I use everyday but it is nice to see it written down and to get outside input as it helps me set a goal as to what it means to be a mom and not only a provider.

I have tried to summarise the list to keep it simple (including JuLeah’s points as I think they are very valid  ) hope that I have not left anything out and again any further input much appreciated 

1. Allow them to fail / face challenges.
2. Allow them to see you fail / face challenges.
3. Set an example of how to approach challenges, failures and achievements
4. Reinforce that you love and support them.
5. Keep in mind that actions speak louder than words.
6. Allow them to make decisions, both big and small.
7. Encourage them to devise strategies and be involved in decision making processes.
8. Brainstorm with them on ways they could accomplish the goal next time.
9. Talk to them like they really matter.
10. Take the time to really listen to what they're saying and how they feel.
11. Don’t judge their opinions.
12. Set high expectations.
13. Give credit and praise for achievement and also for effort.
14. Acknowledge failure. Don't pretend to be proud. Be honest.
15. Give kids challenges, starting with small ones.
16. Don't play down their goals.
17. Don't set them up for failure by telling them it's okay if you don't win.

Meghan - posted on 01/13/2011

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set an example. Allow them to see your failures and achievements. Kids think that mom and dad know all, but if we can humanize ourselves, set goals for ourselves and push through whatever crap gets in the way, they have a positive role model to look up to.

Becky - posted on 01/13/2011

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1. Tell your child you love them everyday, preferably more than once
2. take the time to listen to what they're saying/ how they feel. and to allow them that without judgement.
3. Allow them to make desisions for themselves like what they would like to wear.
4. Allow them to make decisions for themselves that include discipline to empower them about what is appropriate and not appropriate behavior.
5. Encourage them to devise strategies and be involved in decision making processes that affect them and the family.
6. Talk to them like they really matter, don't dismiss them because they are children.

Riana - posted on 01/13/2011

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1. Tell your child you love them everyday, preferably more than once
2. take the time to listen to what they're saying/ how they feel. and to allow them that without judgement.
3. Allow them to make desisions for themselves like what they would like to wear.

Jascinta - posted on 01/13/2011

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1. Tell your child you love them everyday, preferably more than once
2. take the time to listen to what they're saying/ how they feel. and to allow them that without judgement.

great post ;)

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