How our children see themselves, is heavily influenced by how we see ourselves. Our confidence is contagious! And for our children to thrive and continue to walk in their calling and purpose, they’re going to need a certain level of confidence.
I’ll venture to say that all of us parents have experienced moments of self-doubt – self-esteem and confidence can be a journey. And we know that healthy self-esteem is a key player in our kids’ mental health and how they experience the social world. We’ve all experienced it – how we feel about ourselves has a huge impact on how we behave, think, the risks we’re willing to take, relationships, careers, and pursue many facets of our lives.
I want my children to look in the mirror and like what they see. As parents, we’re a big part of our childrens’ sense of worth as their identities are forming.
Here are 4 tips for raising confident kids:
1. Let them fail and let failure be ok
When there’s no room for failure, there’s no room for growth. There’s no room to figure out what they’re good at (or not good at) – all significant in developing self-confidence.
As parents, we’re wired to protect our kids. But sometimes when we’re helicoptering a little too hard, we can end up taking away valuable, teachable moments. Kids need to learn that success is usually found after a lot of hard work, persistence, resilience, struggle, and oftentimes failure.
What we often perceive failure as just a process of gathering information – what works and what doesn’t. And if our kids get comfortable failing and then getting back up, adjusting, and continuing on – what a beautiful part of their confidence they’re growing.
2. Focus on effort over results
Confidence and self-esteem are not about succeeding at everything all the time! They’re about being resilient enough to keep trying.
I’ve learned that curiosity, experimentation, trial, and error are such a big part of how kids learn and how their confidence grows.
3. Beware of labels
As parent’s we’ve gotta be careful about the labels we place on people, especially our children. Labels can be so limiting! And as our children are forming their identities, we can be intentional about the words we speak over them. Labeling our kids as shy, lazy, whiny, messy, etc. can become self-fulfilling prophesies.
So before we turn to a label, we can ask ourselves, is this really true? Is my child shy or are they simply displaying age and developmentally-appropriate responses to a strange adult addressing them? Is my kid a whiner, or do they lack the self-regulation skills we wish they had and they really just need our help to co-regulate?
So my encouragement is simply to think twice about what we’re speaking over our children. These labels might cross our mind, but we can take a beat before they leave our mouth and just ask ourselves, is this true?
4. Do our own work
Here’s the thing about our children’s confidence – so much of it is learned, rather than inherited. And during childhood, our kids’ level of confidence is influenced by ours.
So how our kids see themselves, is likely how we see ourselves. Whether they’re bold or fearful is learned. Whether they’re anxious or confident is learned.
So if these are things you know you struggle with: self-esteem, confidence, self-criticism, self-doubt, self-talk, anxiety, etc. it’s time to start healing these patterns and breaking these cycles. Your healing will offer your children a different experience.
We all want to pass on the best and discard the rest, right? For me, working with a coach was one of the best gifts I could give my children. Learning my patterns, changing my internal dialogue, understanding and exploring my mind/body connection, and building an energetic body that had the ability to take on much more of life without being overwhelmed – the impact it had on my parenting was unparalleled. And I’m so thankful that I did when my kids were still little.
If this is inner work you know you’ve been putting off, do yourself and your kids a favor, and get at it! We can’t get these years back. It is not easy, but it is the best investment you are going to make!