Where does confidence come from? How do you get it? If you are a parent, how do you instill it in your kids? What if you don’t even have enough for yourself- how are you ever going to give it to someone else, let alone the children that mean so much to you?
It’s a complicated problem for sure, but there are solutions.
Confidence, like any other “skill” is learned, nurtured, developed and maintained. If you want to be good at something, you have to make a study of it, practice it and learn from your mistakes.
Buddha, among others,has been credited with the quote, “What you are thinking, you are becoming.” So, for starters, begin with yourself and ask these questions:
1. Am I happy in my own skin?
2. Am I proud of the things I’ve done, the choices I’ve made, and the lessons I’ve learned from them?
3. Do I like my own company?
If the answer is no, then start by reconciling with yourself. If you are confident, then you project confidence. The energy you project comes back to you and you attract confident people to you. The byproduct of that is your children see how things are supposed to work because you are modeling it for them.
If you surround yourself with happy people, you are more likely to be happy. If you surround yourself with confident people, read positive, motivating and constructive material, do activities that allow you to have some success, then you are likely to build your confidence.
When you focus on the negative, you get more negative. When you scold your kids and point out all their mistakes, you damage their confidence and their potential. Instead, catch them being good. Reward the behavior you want to see more of. Compliment more than you criticize. Allow them to struggle with the challenges they are facing, yet reinforce that you are there for them.
Challenge them to think for themselves. Compliment their efforts more than their results. It’s the effort that counts in the long run. If they only want to take on the challenges they are sure to win, then they aren’t growing. If they look at new activities as a challenge and have the desire to grow from the experience, they will most definitely build confidence in themselves.
If girls see their moms taking risks, expanding their own comfort zones, making mistakes and learning from them, they are more likely to do the same. Here is another famous saying- “More is caught than taught.”
If girls see their parents working as a team, with equally shared responsibilities, they learn fair play. When girls see equality, respect, confidence and assertiveness in their parents, especially their mothers, they expect it for themselves.
If girls see how to resolve conflict by watching their parents handle it diplomatically- with respect, communication and appropriate boundaries- they will learn to do the same.
More is definitely caught than taught. You may not think your kids are listening, but they are. And watching.