I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

Kids and confidence: know your ABCs

on July 23, 2013

Family Running TogetherHere is some expert advice from Antoinette Giacobbe, Psychotherapist and Life Coach, on helping children to be happy, healthy and confident.

A is for “pay Attention”

The highest form of respect is to listen. Try to listen to what your kids have to say and be genuinely interested in their lives. This requires that you stop what you’re doing and not just hear them, but really listen. As your children feel accepted, they feel supported and can start to build a good base of self-worth.

B is for “Be there”

As best as you can, show up and be there for your children. Special “quality” time with your children is perhaps the best gift you can give them. It gives them that “I am worth it!” feeling. This provides them with a sense of belonging — another building block for their self-confidence.

C is for “Criticism”

Try to replace negative criticism with positive feedback. To do this, stay away from blame, ridicule, shame and comments that are judgemental. To provide positive feedback, try not to attack them; rather, look at their behavior and give feedback as to how to make corrections next time. This will teach them that they are capable and have the ability to learn and achieve things.

D is for “Decision making”

Even though it may be difficult at times, allow your children to own their problems. If you keep coming to the rescue, they will remain dependant on you. By encouraging them to participate in solving their problems and looking for alternative solutions, you can help them gain confidence.

E is for “Encouragement”

“Yes you can!” Encourage your children by nurturing belief in themselves and raise their confidence to the level that they dare to do things. And make sure that they engage in activities out of their interests not just their abilities or your interests.

F is for “we are Family”

In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world, it’s a good idea to make family time and engage in rituals to teach our kids about what’s important and valuable. Today’s family structure has changed and, as we all go through the learning curve, we need to maintain a strong and stable foundation for our children. And that includes consistent discipline.

G is for “Goals”

Help your children set realistic goals. This will provide them with a sense of control, which goes hand in hand with developing self-confidence. Make sure that the goals are not too unrealistic or too high, as this will cause them to feel defeated and may lead to low self-esteem.

H is for “Hugs”

Hugs and kisses are a great way to show love and affection. But to teach them to feel good about themselves, you need to get physical. Why not stop being idle and join your kids in an activity rather than just watch them have all the fun.

I is for “Integrity”

In order to teach your kids honesty, be as honest as you can with them. If you treat them with respect, you can serve as their role model for life.

J is for “Journaling”

Nudge your kids into the habit of expressing their feelings in creative ways at an early age. In today’s computer age, children suffer from emotional illiteracy and have problems connecting and communicating their feelings.  Journaling, for example, will help them to reconnect and communicate.

K is for “Key messages”

Communication is a two-way street where the goal is to understand and be understood. Teach your children how to communicate openly and honestly by being calm, clear and consistent. This will give them the key to successful relationships — and a successful life.

L is for “Laugh — a lot”

Get down and be silly! Laughing makes good memories and is one of the best ways to alleviate stress — something kids have as well. If you get serious about laughing, you’ll show them that a sense of humour is healthy.

M is for “allowing them to make Mistakes”

Punishing children for being less than perfect implies that they are “losers”. Instead, reinforce the notion that making mistakes is part of learning. This will help them be less prone to feeling anxious about trying it again and more confident the next time around.

N is for “Nutrition”

Proper nutrition will help give them the health and energy they need to try their best every day.

O is for “Optimism”

Optimism and positive thinking is a choice. Try to remind your children to look for the good in themselves, in others and in whatever the situation may be. Redirect their negative thoughts and beliefs and teach them to think in a positive way.

P is for “Praise”

Remember to praise your kids for their effort and not the outcome. Unfortunately, some of us are quick to criticize but slow to praise. So let them know more often when they do the right thing and how you appreciate and notice their efforts.

Q is for “Question them”

Try to become more involved in their lives by asking open-ended questions that encourage them to think for themselves but don’t make it like an interrogation. Also remember to be interested in their interests and open to them.

R is for “Relax together”

Work hard; play hard. While on some days it may seem impossible to do, try your best to make the time to relax and have down time. You don’t have to plan every minute of the day and if they see you on the run all the time, they will feel the need to do the same.

S is for “Self expression”

Make sure you provide your kids with lots of opportunities for self-expression. Be creative and try different things.

T is for “Tasks”

If you end up doing their chores and tasks for them, you may be missing an opportunity to instil responsibility.  Rather, let them learn through experience, and they can only gain experience and confidence if they do it for themselves. If you let them make their own beds, clean their rooms, or prepare their lunches for school, they will thank you later when they are older and wiser.

U is for “Unique”

No two kids are alike, so show them how special there are. Try to stop yourself from comparing your children to others as this sends the message that they are not good enough. It is crucial for your kids to know how much they are appreciated and accepted just the way they are.

V is for “Values”

Do your best to teach them values and value them. That means you should try to be respectful and not demean or belittle them.

W is for “Well being”

Surround them with a sense of health and happiness by finding balance and being well rounded in all areas of life.

X is for “lead by eXample”

Talk your talk; walk your walk. Kids learn through imitation and osmosis, so be careful, they are watching you.  Remember that your kids also want to be proud of you, their parents.

Y is for “stay Young”

Keep an open mind and realize that we all have a lot to learn from children.

Z is for “Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”

Make sure that you and your kids get good quality sleep. Leave time to wind down in the evening and ensure their rooms encourage good sleep.


2 responses to “Kids and confidence: know your ABCs

  1. This is the best Alphabet I’ve ever seen! I especially like ‘X’ (a tricky letter to work with). 🙂
    Thanks for sharing. Hugs, Gina

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