Parents play three distinct roles as mom or dad, teaching, coaching and cheering. Confident children know their strengths and are unafraid to use them. They’re aware of their weaknesses and aren’t embarrassed to ask for help. What makes a child confident? Practice, practice, practice.
In order to raise children comfortable in their own skin, you do have to be willing to take risks. It’s not hard to watch a baby practice standing or walking because everyone knows the only way to master the skill is to practice, fall, then try again.
Children must also practice making decisions that develop their character. When parents are “coaching”, it’s important to remember that kids will make mistakes, but the way to develop strong character is practice, practice, practice.
Recently, an 11 year old I know confessed to his teacher that he had taken candy off her desk when she had trusted him to be alone in her classroom. She praised him for his honesty, they discussed how he could wrong the right, they hugged and she told him she loved him. She never changed the way she treated him and immediately gave him a "do over."
Although the student knew what the expected behavior was, he erred in judgment. Because the teacher had created a safe atmosphere to learn and make mistakes, the lapse in judgment turned into a life lesson, and he passed the test!!!
When a parent coaches, he/she stays on the sidelines and watches the choices the child makes. When the child makes a mistake, everyone can learn and win if the parent will treat the error as a practice and not the end of the world.
- When your child errs in judgement, continue to make the home environment a safe place to be honest.
- Resist the temptation to be embarrassed or ashamed of your child’s actions or words. What one child masters with five tries, another needs twenty.
- When you communicate your disappointment to your child, make sure he/she knows your love doesn't change. You don't want your actions to be misconstrued as the withdrawal of love.
You are the best coach your child can have. No one wants to see her become a winner as much as you. Stand back and watch her practice all the good stuff you've spent years teaching.