Raising Confident, Happy KidsFriday, February 17, 2012
By Izzy Woods
When raising our kids, it’s important to help them become content and confident with their own bodies, personalities and everything about themselves. This sounds like a huge task but it doesn’t need to be, we just need to be good parents and then they’ll soon realize they’re good people too.
Confidence is a quality which everybody wants their kids to embody but we don’t want arrogant, spoilt children so it’s hard to find a happy medium. Spoiling our kids is never a good idea, so even though you want to buy all the best designer baby clothes, expensive toys and treats, this does our kids no good in the long run. There are a few simple measures you can keep in mind when helping your kids to reach their true potential, be happy and confidence in themselves.
Offer encouragement, not praise
Praising your kids is a good idea in some senses, especially when they’re learning new skills when they’re very young but as they grow older, encouragement is much more valuable and important. Praising an A grade report card or top recital performance is not always a great idea as it can lead to fostering anxiety and stress for the next occasion. Instead, you should congratulate and encourage, offering congratulations for the success and reminding exactly how much all the effort they put in was worth. It doesn’t matter if they get an A grade or a D grade as long as you know they’ve tried their hardest.
Break Down Difficult Problems
It can be really overwhelming when your kids start coming home with their first homework tasks and assignments. Spelling lists and math worksheets can be particular sources of anxiety as they seem like a lot of work. As a mom or dad, you can offer a helping hand by showing them how to break down the task into smaller, easy to manage blocks. By breaking the task into blocks, your kids can learn that actually, what seemed like a hard and near impossible task is actually really doable and they can be proud of their work.
Accept Accept Accept
It goes without saying that every child is different and accepting those differences is key to helping children become their true, happy and confident selves. You may have a little girl who prefers dinosaurs to dollies or a shy little boy who doesn’t want to play sports, if this is so, embrace their talents. If they’re quiet or shy, this doesn't necessarily mean they’re low in confidence, it just means they make friends in a different way. Pushing your children towards situations that make them uncomfortable is only going to make it worse for them and make them unhappy.
Treat Mistakes as Stepping Stones
Everybody makes mistakes and your kids are no different. Rather than being reproachful when a mistake is made, talk to your kids. Talk through what’s happened and how they can do it differently next time. The worst thing you can do is make them feel bad or guilty for something like spilling a drink. Rather than shouting or admonishing them, show them exactly how to tidy it up and how to be responsible for their actions. Taking responsibility for one’s own actions is a really big step in growing up and accepting ourselves as we are.
Embracing your kids’ independence can be a difficult step. No one wants their babies to grow up but it is a fact of life and if you embrace your kids trying out new things, they’ll have more confidence in their decisions and actions. As soon as your child reaches an appropriate age to dress themselves, brush their own teeth or toast their own breakfast, let them do it. This sense of independence will help bolster up confidence and pride in their abilities. Always give them the opportunity to try out something new and even if the task seems a step too far, give them a chance to try.
Be a role model
Helping your child become a confident and happy individual is partially down to you as parents, so, if you’re not confident or happy in yourself you can’t expect that from your kids. You need to exercise all the same points in your own life, accepting your own mistakes and avoiding admonishing yourself if you burn dinner or break a mug. Negative language, even directed at yourself, will rub off on your kids.
Everybody wants their kids to be happy, well rounded people and to achieve this, we need to treat them in a positive, adult manner so they can develop into the best that they can be.
Izzy Woods is a full time writer and researcher who has recently moved to London, who specializes in parenting, lifestyle, and organic beauty writing. She has a young family who she enjoys spending all her spare time with.
When she's not spending time with her kids, she loves nothing more than practicing aerobics and yoga.