confident children

Raising Confident Children, pt. 3

Parents play three distinct roles as mom or dad, teaching, coaching and cheeringWhen children are young, our every action teaches them what we believe . As they grow, we teach then stand on the sidelines and watch them practice. At some point in life, every child makes a decision or a series of decisions that are the exact opposite of what a  parent would choose for them.

What to do? What to do?  When your teenager, young adult or adult child is off-roading  and you, the parent can see there's an easier way to arrive at the same destination, how do you advise when no one wants your advice? I'd like to submit to you the idea that this is when we put on our cheerleading uniforms and begin to "cheer" them through the game.

Sound,independent decisions are what we want to see our children repeat over and over. One definition for sound is sensible. What is sensible to a man or woman in their 20's might not be to one in their 40's. Because of experience, a parent can usually "see farther" than their child but it doesn't change the fact that most of us are who we are because of the mistakes we've made, and our children will become the men and women they are destined to be through their good and bad decisions.

If your child isn't interested in your words of wisdom,  it's okay to let him/her know you would do things differently, but don't stop there. Do your own self a favor. Look at the attributes your child possesses and verbalize them. "I admire your ability to commit," "Your creativity amazes me," "You're such a risk-taker!" Hearing you speak positively  will let your child know 1) your love is unconditional 2) you believe in him/her 3) you are a safe place to run to if things don't work out. Hearing your own words can assuage your fears because you can visualize the characteristics you name out and when you do, you'll realize your child is many times, better equipped than you think.

Finally, human beings are like a garden. There are all kinds of flowers. Some require direct sun and some flourish in shade. We can be comforted in knowing  there is a Gardener that waters daily and guards it day and night, ensuring the care of each individual flower.

Raising Confident Children, pt. 2

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.