Scrolling through my Facebook feed last night, i stumbled across something that hit a nerve. It was a short, sharp post by life coach Andrea Owen, a mother of two, letting of steam, venting about an interaction she had with a potential babysitter. She mentions how much it annoys her that, when asking a young babysitter what they charge, she usually tends to get an answer along the lines of, “It doesn’t matter, whatever you pay is fine…”
Good point, Andrea! Why should that babysitter, who is someone’s daughter (or son), not feel entitled, and more importantly, empowered enough, to ask for what they think their services are worth? As a parent it’s our job to set our child up for success, and one of the most important things that we can do to invest in our child, is raise them to be self-confident. If your child is self-confident, they won’t be scared to ask for what they feel their services are worth.
By raising a self-confident child, you ensure that your child feels strong and brave enough to go out into the world and try new things, to challenge boundaries that need to be challenged and to break down walls that need to be broken down. A self-confident child has the power to to do anything, because they believe in themselves… and that is such a powerful thing.
But what can we do to raise a more self-confident child? Well, plenty, actually… we just need to put ourselves in our child’s shoes…
1. Celebrate and appreciate effort regardless of the result – Childhood really should be all about the ‘game’ and not about the ‘score’. This does not mean that you need to give your child a trophy for coming last in the race – kids are also not stupid. But a child will really appreciate that arm around their shoulders and the warm “Well done!” or “Great effort!”.
2. Let your child be a child – A child should only have goals that are realistic for his or her age. If he has goals that are way above his skill level, he’s going to feel discouraged, and give up before he even really starts trying, and that defeats the purpose. Help your child set realistic goals, and give them the support and encouragement they need to achieve those goals. You could sit down together to create a manageable goal chart, or you could download this great one from mom4real.com.
3. If there is something that your child shows an interest in, encourage them to practice. Dr Pickhardt (a child psychologist and author of 18 parenting books) says,” Practice invests effort in the confident expectation that improvement will follow.” And if your child improves, they will feel great about themselves, which in turn will help build their self-confidence.
4. Don’t solve all your child’s problems for them – It may take longer for the problem to be solved, and the solution may not be quite 100 % correct, but when a child manages to solve a problem for himself, there is a wonderful sense of accomplishment. They develop a whole set of problem solving skills and these don’t come with Mom handling everything. 🙂
5. Set challenges for your child, be there to encourage them and then applaud them (regardless of the outcome 🙂 ) This shows your child that you have confidence in them, that you believe in their ability to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities, and that you are going to be there for them and love them regardless of how many tries it takes them to get it right (“Watch this Mom, i’m going to do it this time, i’m sure of it…” 😉 ).
6. Try not to give them too many ‘easy out’s . Cutting a child a little slack every now and then is fine, but constantly making excuses for your child could give them the impression that you don’t believe in them.
7. Expose your child to as many new experiences as possible, while creating a safe, secure base for your child to stand on. Having lived pretty ‘nomadic’ lifestyle ourselves up until 3 years ago, i know that new experiences can be scary, especially for a child. By showing your child that there’s a wonderful world of interesting places, made up of amazing people with all kinds of different stories, you help your child to understand that, no matter how strange or overwhelming something may seem at first, nothing is insurmountable.
8. Don’t criticize your child’s performance – Yes, i know, in a perfect world we’d never say a bad word to anyone we love. It happens. But instead of saying “Oohh, you did really badly on that maths test, what on earth happened?”, why not try giving useful feedback and making suggestions instead? ” I see you’re struggling with long division, maybe this weekend we could sit down together and practice a little?”
9. A child can learn a lot from a mistake if the parent handles the situation correctly – Remember, it’s generally is not the end of the world… pick up the pieces, decide if there needs to be a consequence, discuss the consequence and move on. Don’t hang that baby over your child’s head like an ax… if you do, your child is only going to learn that taking risks is too dangerous. You want your child to learn from his mistakes but not be too afraid to ever make any again.
10. Don’t show your child your worries. A child doesn’t need to see that. It is confusing for a child because a child often has a very small point of reference. Everything that is going on must have something to do with them. If you are worried, it must be because you don’t have confidence in them. Try keep your worries to yourself.
11. Praise them for dealing with adversity – If your child is dealing with an unfair situation or a particularly hard situation, give them extra praise. Explain to them that these situations build character and make us strong. And then give them a big hug.
12. Let your child know that they can count on you for support but that you expect them to do certain things for themselves. Move the boundaries as your child get older – you don’t want to be stuck with a 17 year old son that still doesn’t know how to cut his own meat.
13. If your child tries something on his or her own, without your help, make a big deal of it. Applaud them for attempting something new, and encourage them to continue with the activity, especially if it is something that they enjoyed.
14. Go to all your child’s school events (as far as possible), and even more importantly, try to show support for any extra activities that your child does voluntarily. This shows your child that you appreciate their willingness to learn, and this, in turn, encourages your child to want to learn more. It really is a wonderful circle!
15. Be authoritative, so that your child feels that he has guidance, but not too forceful or strict. Your child must still have the freedom to be be bold in his decisions, while knowing that there is a strong, firm hand there to catch him. I’ve found that the secret is being just strict and ‘mean’ enough that you’re (and i quote) “literally the Best Mom in the World” 5 1/2 days of the week, and the other 1 1/2, “Aaargghh! Mom!!!! … it’s okay… apparently it means we’re doing something right! 🙂
Well, hopefully we can all raise sons and daughters that are confident children that know their self-worth, and will have no problem walking into an interview and saying, ” HI, I’m (Kayla), I’d love to babysit your children and I charge $13 dollars an hour.”
If you’ve enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it with your friends and family, and don’t forget to check out the rest of my weblog here (brightnbrainy.com). Thanks!