“Parents need to fill a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can’t poke enough holes to drain it dry”- Alvin Price
Confidence is literally the key factor in many of life’s happenings. Finding a good job, landing compatible partners, not letting people take advantage of you and the list goes on!
A little secret is that a major determining factor of your child’s self-esteem really does come down to you!
No pressure-right? Don’t worry, building self-confidence doesn’t have to be a daunting or intimidating task. It can be pretty fun!
Like my own mother would say, it’s important to be like silk in this world to survive.
Silk is super soft and lovely and yet it is also strong and powerful!
She was also constantly saying “Do you know how beautiful you are”? Since I was always pretty down on my self-confidence, she’d tell me all the time until one day it finally kicked in enough for me to tell you that I am beautiful! And a damn strong woman might add.
We must teach children not to let the world make them hard.
Life is such a dream as a child. And often we grow and realise that the world does have a bad side too. And for many of us, we can either be consumed by this and become bitter, or we can be like silk.
So, no matter what age your child is, I have some truly fantastic tips for you to use so that you can build up their self- esteem and then when a strong wind is trying to knock them down, they will stand tall.
Practice positive self-talk with them
The language you choose around your child will mould how their confidence will grow.
Especially for school-aged children when they are seeing other children around them do better or worse than them at different subjects it can be easy to feel intimidated.
It’s all human nature!
Try to practice the way children talk about what they can and cannot do.
Turn “I can’t do it” into “I can’t do it yet”
What they can’t do yet might change with practice. Children don’t always realise that they can do better with work.
In the book, The Danish way of parenting they so awesomely described their parenting technique. In one chapter, I remember a boy was playing a game of football and lost. He was quite naturally sad about this and wanted to quit because he didn’t win. The Mother wouldn’t stand hearing this and instead, choose to talk to her boy about why he thought he didn’t win. They eventually came to the conclusion if he had swapped an evening watching a film for more practice, it might have given him time to learn more and ultimately come closer to achieving his goal.
You might hear a lot of “I’m terrible at this”, “What’s wrong with me”, why can she do it but I can’t”?
Try to re-enforce that we all have different skills in the end yet we are meant to try our best at thing’s and not give up.
Try these 5 positive self-talk affirmations with your child as often as you can!
1- “I have a calm body if things are to change”.
2- “It feels good to have a calm body”.
3- ” I can try new things”.
4- ” I am beautiful inside and out”.
5- “It’s okay to make mistakes”.
Let your child overhear you speaking positively about them to others
Let’s say they just handed in homework that they worked really hard on or they were recently really kind to another human. Tell a friend about this when your little one is around and watch them beam with self-pride!
Sometimes, children can be sceptical when we directly praise them so sharing this randomly around others makes it even more believable and meaningful!
Teach them how to achieve goals
Like many of you know, children aren’t born with a roadmap of life and all it’s up’s and down’s, they need a little push in the right direction.
This is such a simple yet very important point!
Set some time aside with your kiddo and have a chat. Let’s say they are in school and really want the student of the week award. Discuss with them how they think they would get it. Could they show kindness to other students? Perhaps they could really focus and engage in lessons. Or maybe they could help throw rubbish in the bin at break time!
Whatever the end goal may be, continue to highlight to your child that there are always steps to be taking for them to achieve their goals.
Check out this video you can watch with your children to teach them goal setting!
And really, this is a handy dandy lesson for all of life as they grow!
Make sure they know that you are upset with their choice, not who they are
All people have choices and we all make mistakes. Yet sometimes it’s the way we tell children they haven’t made the best choice that makes the biggest impact.
Make sure they know that when they make the wrong choice it doesn’t make them who they are. Rather than saying ” You’re so lazy”, Try, ” I am upset that you are not helping out around the house as much as I know you are capable of”
If you were to say the child IS already something, then how would they know that they can change and become better anyway?
Avoid comparing your child to others
Try not to say to your child “Why can’t you keep clean like your cousin”? Or, “why can’t you do your homework like the girl in your class”?
Comparisons will only cause your child to doubt themselves and realise that they can’t meet your expectations.
It’s doesn’t mean that we can’t encourage children to try harder, yet try making it clear to your child that they ARE capable of great things!
Show your child that celebs and entrepreneurs are real people!
Children are going to be exposed to the media at some point, right? Media can affect everything from mental health to body image and it’s important to help children realise that what they see is not all that meets the eye.
Growing up having a realistic expectation of what we want in a partner can be blown out of proportion by the media. I bet many boys from my school days had the biggest shock when they realised that a real woman doesn’t always have watermelon boobs, waists the size of peanuts and a backside to knock you out on the bus home!
I think to help children grow without limits, they must be taught that these people are just like you and me.
They are not perfect and yes they have struggles and imperfections like the regular joe.
Study a few people together and show your child how hard they work to get where they are and any struggles they might have.
-“Impossible is nothing”! (Another one of my Mamas quotes for you!)
For example, Daniel Radcliff said that doing some stunt work during the making of Harry Potter has helped him overcome his Dyspraxia!
It’s easy for children to look way up at famous people and assume that they have a perfect life. Making children feel like something like that could never happen to them and their goals are unattainable.
REACH FOR THE STARS!!
Teach your child that success in any form doesn’t happen overnight and that if they want something great in their life, they gotta work for it.
You can be anything or anyone you want to be!
Support their pursuit of passion
Whatever it may be, ridiculously crazy goals or something short term, make sure your child knows that you know they can do anything!
Take everything they say seriously!
Children will only know limits when we set them. Let them grow up believing in themselves but still have a knowledge of the hard work they need to do to achieve what they want.
If you have a little one at school, read here how you can support them through their education and all that comes with it!
All you need is love
Telling your child you love them is such a DUH thing to say but I couldn’t resist popping it in here!
Filling their little worlds with lots of resources to build up their confidence is key! Books are wonderful and what better time to teach children during storytime!
My personal favourite is The Shiny Bee because it teaches kiddos that it’s okay to not be the same as everyone else and you can be yourself anywhere in our world.
If you make some kind of parenting mistake (it happens and it’s okay), tell her that you are sorry and that you love her.
“The power of words is that a life can be launched with as little as a single phrase, an uplifting word or an act of kindness. Think of the power we wield and the impact we can make if we become more intentional about encouraging our children. Our words are often the very things that help create future dreams. And sometimes those dreams are to be just like us”
And in other words, cuddle and squish your little lump constantly!!