Last week in the playground we bumped into one of Wonder Girl’s preschool friends. As the little girl hid shyly behind her Daddy’s legs I was unsure how to help them to start playing together. Then Wonder Girl stood up, walked over to the girl with her hands up and said “My hands are in the air, I’m waving them like I just don’t care”. Then she asked the girl what she wanted to play and led her off by the hand. She is very confident. I am not so confident, suffering regularly from self doubt, so the fact that my children are so comfortable in their own skin makes me especially proud. It’s one of my main priorities as a parent, self esteem is valued and nurtured and I hope this sets them up for a happy life. Here are my tips for raising a confident child
1. I don’t expect my children to be perfect. Children are growing and learning and they’re bound to make mistakes. When they make a mistake we talk about what went wrong, avoiding using labelling words like lazy or clumsy. Then together we figure out a way to do better next time. When I make mistakes as a Mum, like shouting or getting frustrated, I always own up (as soon as I am calmer), apologise and talk about what happened with the children. This way they learn that nobody is perfect and that the important thing is to recognise our mistakes and try to do better.
2. I tell them that I want them to be the best version of who they are. I don’t compare them to each other, and they know they’re valued and loved for the special things that they bring to the family. The world would be very boring if everyone was the same and I want my children to add their own particular colour to the rainbow rather than blending in.
3. I praise them, regularly. Whether they helped me with a chore, drew a beautiful picture or had a good day at school I let them know how proud I am of them.
4. I show them that they are capable of making decisions. I’m not a helicopter parent. I believe that when we helicopter our children we send the message that they are not capable. Obviously the level of responsibility you give them is age dependant. As often as possible I let my little birds take flights from the nest and learn to trust their own wings. I do this by letting them take risks, make decisions, and take on responsibility.
5. I let them know that they are loved. So, so, loved. We play a game where we talk about how much we love that goes like this “I love you as much as the entire planet” “Well I love you as much as the galaxy” etc. The children are all still very cuddly, and often jump into bed for a morning cuddle for a good start to the day. With feeling loved, and valued one of the basic human needs I feel that this attitude helps them to feel good about themselves, and boosts their self esteem.
Lovely post! I am just drafting a post in which I talk about #1. I think it’s important to model desirable behaviour to our children, but also let them know we are fallible and that’s okay too – the crux of it all is talking talking talking! I also feel similarly about the confidence thing – I have so much self-doubt and I really want my lo to grow up confident. Do you think gender plays a part – as in how people talk differently to boys and girls? x
Yes I do, and I make a big effort to ensure I’m not treating my daughter differently. For example she is very assertive, but I would never call her bossy, even as a joke, as I think this sends the message she needs to be more submissive because she’s a girl.