“How can I help my child be more confident? They are constantly putting themselves down and I just don’t know what to do”. This is the question I get asked more than any other – the second most common is “how can I help my child manage their emotions, which in a lot of ways is related to confidence too, so read on.
My answer is always the same. Confidence is an inside job – we cannot give it to our children through praise, rewards, and public recognition. We have to help them foster a sense of internal happiness with who they are; accepting their strengths and acknowledging the areas where there is more work to be done. They don’t have to love every aspect of themselves to be confident.
How do we help them foster this sense of internal happiness with who they are????
My honest answer is – “it has to start with you”.
You see, children are much more likely to do what they see, than what we say. Why? – because this is what our children see to be the norm. What happens in our homes each and every day is what our children grow up to believe is happening in every home.
If we demonstrate self-acceptance, our children are much more likely to do the same. If we set ourselves regular goals, which push us out of our comfort zone, and we communicate these to our children – whether we are successful or not – then, our children are much more likely to do the same. If we talk kindly about ourselves in front of our children, then our children will talk more kindly about themselves. If our children see us trying new things regularly – sometimes with success and sometimes without – then our children see this as a normal cycle of life.
You see the importance of goal setting is not whether we get to tick it off at the end, and say we’ve accomplished it. The power of goals setting lies more in the person we become in pursuit of the goal. Take for example the goal of running a marathon in under 4 hours. Whether you get to tick this goal off or not has some value – it’s a huge achievement which not many people get to say they have achieved. However, if you don’t achieve the goal then you are still a positively changed person in the process. You see to train to run a marathon in under 4 hours you have to be disciplined to show up each and every day for your training, you have to overcome adversity when you experience setbacks, and perseverance to get outside and train when your bed feels a much more appealing option. The goal is a momentary high, the person we become along the way is a permanent change which we can celebrate each and every day.
If I’ve convinced you of the merits of goal setting then I would like to gift you a resource I use when I am working with children. It’s a simple 3-2-1 resource which encourages them to reflect on their day – after all reflecting has to be the starting point for all goal setting. It’s called My Day and you can download it below. Maybe this could be the start of the joint goal setting journey for you and your children??