imconfident

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.

Which child feels more loved?

This is a story about 2 little girls called Sarah and Sally.  Their parents love both of them dearly but one of them doesn’t feel very loved.  After reading this story, you can decide which one I am talking about.

Sarah is 9 years old and is a very easy-going child.  She is bright and attentive and likes to help the rest of the family.  Sally is 8 years old and is a very active and curious child.  She is always trying new things and gets very frustrated when they don’t work out as she expected.

Here is an example of what happens on a school morning.  Mom calls both of the girls to get up and get dressed.  In about 10 minutes, Sarah comes downstairs all dressed and ready to go.  Her mom butters her toast and asks if her sister is up.  “No, I haven’t heard her moving around yet”, Sarah replies.

Mom has to leave for work soon, so she runs upstairs to Sally’s room.  “Sally get up now.  You are going to be late again!”  Sally sits up in bed and rubs her eyes.  10 minutes later, she drags herself to the kitchen table.   ‘My goodness Sally!  Did you sleep in your clothes?  Why can’t you look neat and tidy like your sister.  Go upstairs now and put on a clean blouse.  And hurry up or you won’t have time for breakfast!”

Finally Sally comes down looking fairly nice, grabs a piece of toast and sits down.  “Sally, put on your shoes while you are eating.  The school bus will be here in a few minutes.  Your sister is already waiting on the porch.”

Which sister do you think left the house feeling loved?

It is pretty obvious.  The mother feels frustrated at her one child and rightly so.  But a little patience and encouragement would have helped the situation a lot better and created a positive environment for the children and the mother.  Comparing children is a really bad idea and it will create bad feelings between them.  All children are different and should be treated with respect.

What could the mother have done that would have had better results?

  • Instead of yelling at the child who has difficulty getting up, mom could have just come into her room and gently woke her up with a “Good morning, see you downstairs in a few minutes.”
  • Instead of getting angry with the rumpled clothing, mom could have said, “I think your blouse needs to be washed, it looks a bit dirty.   Why don’t you drop it in the clothes hamper and run up to your room and grab a clean one from your closet”.
  • Instead of pointing out that her (perfect) sister Sarah was all ready and waiting for the bus, mom could have said, “Can you quickly put on your shoes while eating your toast and then join your sister on the porch, please?”

It is difficult to watch what we say to our children, especially when we feel tired and stressed.  However, our words can have a terrible effect on our children if we aren’t careful and we can get stuck in a habit of negatively talking all the time.

Developing a habit of positive self-talk takes a lot of time and patience but it will benefit everyone around us: our families, our children, our friends and even ourselves.

 

 

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What are you teaching your children?

When a child is born, their mind is like a blank slate just waiting for a story to be written.  Everything they see and hear makes an impression on their small, innocent minds.  Parents are their first teachers and can have the biggest impact on a child’s life which can lead to future success or failure.  As a child grows, they are also impacted by other family members, friends and teachers.  Even the media plays a large part on how a child learns and grows.  It is important that we show a positive example to our own children and anyone else we are in contact with.

What story are you writing on the blank slate of your children?

 

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What kind of seeds are you planting?

Do you know how many thoughts humans have each day?  Research says that we have between 12,000 to 60,000 and about 80% of these thoughts are negative.  Therefore it is important that we develop a habit of positive thinking so we don’t wear ourselves out with defeatist negative thinking.

When we are born, our thoughts are self-centered and negative.  Everything we see and hear has an effect on our emotional, mental, social and spiritual growth.  This is why it is so important that we plant positive seeds in our children and others around us, so they will learn and grow in a positive way.

What if we have grown up in a negative environment and nobody has planted positive seeds in our lives?  It is never too late to change and we can start planting our own positive seeds so we can become a good role model and have a positive effect on the people around us.

Everything we do is a reflection of how we think. Our positive and negative thoughts are shown in our words and actions. If we could all start planting positive seeds in the people around us, think about how beautiful this world could be.

How many positive seeds can you plant today?

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Helping your child become successful

It is the responsibility of every parent to help their children become confident and successful adults.  Unfortunately many parents struggle with little or no confidence and are unable to be a positive role model for their children.

Having confidence and strong self-esteem is important to a child, as it will help them become a successful adult.  Children learn the concept of success very early in life.  Think about when a baby starts to roll over, or walk, or puts those square pegs in the round hole.  Children don’t give up easily. They will try something and fail, then try again and fail and keep trying until they are successful.   Without even being taught, they have already learned how to fail successfully.  When they finally master what they are doing, they feel good about themselves, especially if they receive praise for their efforts.  This is when their confidence and esteem start to grow and develop.

If you are struggling as a parent and feel you are not a good role model for your children, you are not alone.  Most parents feel this way, including myself.   Building my own confidence was the first step in becoming a better parent and this led me to a greater awareness of what is necessary in raising a child.   Following are some of the ideas that I found in various books by leading child specialists.  These ideas are not just for parents but for anyone who is involved in raising a child such as other family members, friends, teachers, peers, etc.  We can ALL influence children in a positive way.  Sadly, there are many children today who do not have any positive role models.

  1. Provide your children with a warm, loving, safe environment.   Children need to know they are safe and loved.  They need hugs and outward signs of affection.  They need to know that they are always welcome in their own home no matter what has happened.
  2. Be a positive role model.  Children learn by what they see and hear.  We need to be careful with our  words and actions and try not to criticize or belittle them.  We need to be the person we want our child to be.   Showing respect for ourselves and the people around us will help them learn to respect themselves and others.
  3. Encourage your children. Encourage your children to try new things and when they have succeeded, give them praise.  Help your children to feel proud of what they have accomplished and be patient if they have problems.
  4. Allow your children to make mistakes.   Parents often try to help their children avoid making mistakes and only praising them when they succeed.  It is important to teach your child that life is not perfect and that they will fail sometimes.  When they make mistakes, discuss what lessons they have learned and encourage them to try again.
  5. Communicate and listen.  Spend time with your child so you can listen to what they are saying and respond in a positive, non-judgmental and non-critical manner.  Acknowledge their feelings and when they are frustrated or upset, don’t dismiss or ignore them or tell them they are being silly.  Be open to discuss whatever they want to talk about as it will keep the lines of communication open.  Give compliments on how they look.  Help them discover their strengths and weaknesses.  Be there when they need you.
  6. Involve children in positive activities.  Being active will help children keep fit, increase their confidence and they will form good relationships.  Get them involved in some type of activity such as sports, music, exercise or an activity group.   This will keep them from becoming overly immersed in the media which can result in serious problems.  However, don’t get them involved in too much activity as this will just create stress for the entire family.  Volunteering is a great positive activity for children.  It teaches children the value of helping others and builds esteem.
  7. Discipline with love.  Children need to have reasonable boundaries that are enforced.  Discuss these with your child and make sure they understand what the consequences of their actions will be.  Always be fair, open-minded and loving.  When discipline is necessary, separate the child from the action and punish the action, not the child.
  8. Help set  realistic goals.  Goals give purpose to life for both children and adults.  Goals will help your child work towards what they want to achieve and keep them focused.
  9. Teach your children about self-image.  Body image often becomes the main focus of a child’s life, which can be harmful and damaging to their esteem.  Discuss how society creates an unrealistic image of beauty and help them understand that real beauty is not just how they look.  Teach your children to be confident about who they are.
  10. Support your child.  Your child is a unique individual and you may not always agree with their choices.  Being supportive will help them build confidence and allow them to become independent.

It is certainly a difficult task to be a parent, but when we become a parent we are responsible for the life of another human being.  We need to take this seriously and be the best role model we can so our children can grow up to be positive parents themselves.  This does NOT mean that we should frustrate ourselves trying to become a perfect person because nobody can be perfect in an imperfect word.  We just need to take a look at our life and see what we can do to become a better role model for our children, our grandchildren and everyone else around us.

Start making some positive changes today!!  Read some books on positive parenting.  If you want something simple and easy to read, I can suggest my book, “Grandma’s Notes on Parenting”.  Visit my website at http://www.imconfident.com for order information.  Following is a review by Reader’s Favourite.

BOOK REVIEW

Reviewed by Nonnie Jules for Readers’ Favorite

Grandma’s Notes on Parenting by Brenda Silveira is about the difficulty of being a parent for the first time and how unprepared all new parents are for the responsibility of another human being’s future. It will appeal to parents-to-be as well as new parents alike. The book contains a few short chapters on the traits and behaviors needed by every adult who wishes to be a positive role model so their children will learn how to become responsible adults. The author beats herself up a bit but I think it’s her way of showing others where she failed so they don’t make the same mistakes she did. I thought it humanized her. 

I really enjoyed reading Grandma’s Notes on Parenting because it was a very well written book about the trials and tribulations this grandma faced while raising her now adult daughters. We all know how loving and wise grandmothers are so, from her point of view, Brenda Silveira details the main traits needed to raise well-rounded, responsible children. She is very candid and honest in pointing out her mistakes as a mother and how, as a grandmother, she is much better equipped to help her daughters parent their children. There was a nice fluid flow to the writing and it made you feel as if you were sitting in Brenda’s living room, while she passed along some much needed advice. This is a good book that I would recommend to all.

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How to help your teen build esteem

We should never measure ourselves against other people because we are all unique individuals.  We can’t possibly be the same as somebody else and we are not supposed to be.  Many of the people we are comparing ourselves to, are often very insecure about themselves.

Teens need to develop confidence and increase their self-esteem so they will be able to stand up to negative peer pressures and make good choices in life.  As parents, we can help our own children and any teens we are connected to.  Here are some ways that we can help them build esteem:

  1. Show love – Take very opportunity to show how much you love your children.  No, they don’t just know!!! You have to tell them and show them.  A child who feels loved at home won’t go looking for love in all the wrong places.
  2. Be encouraging – Life will always have problems and teens are very sensitive when they fail or do something wrong.  They need to be encouraged to keep going and know that you will support them.
  3. Have an open mind – Teens need to know that you that you are listening to them and that you are not going to judge everything they say.   You may not always agree with what they are saying, but they aren’t you and they will think differently.  Be honest and open.  Teens will talk to whoever with listen, so make sure that person is you.
  4. Be a positive role model – Teens always watch the people around them to see how they speak and act, so we need to make sure we are presenting a positive example for them to follow.  Be the person you want your teen to be.
  5. Choose your words carefully – Your words have the power to impact your teen in a positive or negative way.  Once your words are spoken, they can’t be taken back, so be very careful you don’t say something that is damaging.  Say things that remind them of their great abilities and strengths.
  6. Spend time with them – Teens do like to spend time with their parents as it makes them feel valued.  Plan some special times as a family and also one-on-one, to build a closer relationship.  Make sure you aren’t spending time criticizing them or they will prefer to spend time with someone else.

The teen years are very difficult and your teen really needs your love and support.  Be there for them and help them navigate through all the challenges they face.  You will face obstacles and often feel like nothing is working, but if you keep the lines of communication open and keep trying to maintain a good relationship, your teen will feel your support and know how much you care.

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I wish I could change…..

If you had the opportunity to change something about yourself, what would that be?   For most people, it would be something about their body.   We are a society that is obsessed with body image.

Standards of beauty have become unattainable, especially for women.  Thanks to the media we are continually bombarded with images of beautiful people who make us feel unacceptable and unworthy.   Even women who are very attractive are under pressure to make changes because they don’t measure up to society’s standards.

Women tend to be more critical of their appearance than men and about 80% of women are unhappy about what they see in the mirror.  Some women even see a distorted image that magnifies their size and all their imperfections.

Dissatisfaction with our appearance leads to dieting and girls as young as age 5 have been known to diet because they feel fat and unattractive.   By the age of 10 research shows that about 40% of girls have dieted and this increases to 80% by the time they reach age 18.   Even girls that are normal or under-weight are dieting because they feel bad about themselves.

Parents who are always looking to make changes in their appearance, who are always dieting or obsessing about their weight, will create feelings of insecurities in their children.  This leads to dieting and other serious issues.

We need to help our children and each other to build a healthy esteem so we can be happy with our own body image.   When we feel confident about ourselves and have healthy habits, we will be a good role model and a positive example to others.  When we lack confidence and have unhealthy habits, we will be a poor role model and a negative example to others.

 

 

 

 

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What is your legacy?

What are you passing on to your children and your grandchildren?  Is it a sum of money, a piece of property, a valuable heirloom?

Many people build up their money and possessions so they can pass on something of value to their children, but is this enough?  It is great to give your children financial security but what about leaving them some love and respect.  How do you treat your children?

  • are you fair or unfair?
  • are you loving or unloving?
  • are you kind or cruel?
  • are you respectful of yourself and others?
  • are you a good role model?

In this video created by Dove, it brings to light how much we can influence our children in a positive or negative way.  If we are constantly criticizing ourselves and focusing on our imperfections and flaws, they will usually follow our poor example and be critical about themselves.  On the other hand, if we are respectful of ourselves and appreciate what we have, they will be more likely to follow our good example and will appreciate the awesome person that they are.

So, what is your legacy?  Do you want to pass on ‘stuff’ to your children and grandchildren or something that will help them navigate through life with a positive attitude and become a responsible, caring adult?   Try doing the exercise shown in this video and see what the results are.   Help your children build good esteem and they will pass this on for generations to come.

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What is the purpose of a family?

Family PortraitThe dictionary describes a family as:

  • a group of people who are related to each other
  • a person’s children
  • a group of related people including people who lived in the past

This certainly is a limited description, yet sadly, it perfectly describes a lot of families today.   We are often related to other people but this doesn’t mean that we live in the same house or even have good relationships.   We are so busy trying to find personal happiness and become independent that we fail to see how important our family really is.

Here is my description of a family.  A family should be:

  • a group of people who love and protect each other
  • a group of people who care for each other during good and bad times
  • a group people who are there when you need them
  • a group of people who set a positive example for each other
  • a group of people who help us learn about our emotions and how to deal with them in a positive way
  • a group of people who help us build good relationships
  • a group of people who can trust each other
  • a group of people who teach us the truth
  • a group of people who set healthy, safe boundaries
  • a group of people who communicate openly and honestly
  • a group of people who work together to solve problems

In my opinion, a family does not have to be related to each other by blood.  A family can be anyone who loves you and takes care of you.   Who is in your family?  Can you add anything to my description?

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Are you a caterpillar or a butterfly?

Do you feel like you are a caterpillar, just crawling along the path of life, going nowhere in particular?

Or do you feel like a butterfly, flying high and free, showing your beauty and confidence to all?

Maybe you feel like a pupa (cocoon), just hanging around, struggling through life, waiting to discover your purpose?

We are all at different stages of our lives, depending on our environment, our background, our personality and the world around us.  Everything has an effect on how we feel about ourselves.   In order to make positive changes in our lives, we need to understand ourselves better.

In my Caterpillar to Butterfly Self-Esteem Workbook, I compare a human life to the stages in a butterfly’s life.  By creating a visual picture, it is sometimes easier to understand ourselves better.

CLIP CATR3In Stage one (the Egg Stage), the adult butterfly lays its eggs and waits for them to hatch.  This is similar to the pregnancy stage where the human is waiting for her child to come into the world.

In Stage two (the Caterpillar or Larvae Stage), the caterpillar starts eating and growing, while crawling along the path of life.  This is similar to the baby/toddler/child years where the child grows and learns.

In Stage three (the Pupal or Chrysalis Stage), the caterpillar struggles through metamorphosis, while rapid changes are taking place inside.  This is similar to the teenage years where the teen struggles with life situations while dealing with rapid changes.clip Monarch flying

Finally in Stage four (the Butterfly or Adult stage), the caterpillar emerges as a beautiful and confident butterfly.  This is similar to the adult stage where people can use everything they have learned and reach their potential in life.

If a child has grown up in a mainly positive environment, receiving lots of love and encouragement, they will have enough confidence to reach and remain in the butterfly stage for most of their lives.  Even when stressful situations happen, they may slip back into the pupal or caterpillar stage for a period of time, but will quickly return to being a butterfly.

However, if a child has grown up in a mainly negative environment, being the recipient of anger, abuse or neglect, they will lack the confidence to reach or remain in the butterfly stage.  They will develop fears and insecurities that will take them quickly back to the safety of the cocoon or caterpillar stage.

Confidence and good self-esteem are necessary for a successful, happy life.   All you have to do is change your perspective on life and learn to accept yourself despite your flaws and imperfections.  Developing a positive mindset takes a lot of hard work and commitment but everyone has the potential to become a confident butterfly.

If you would like more information on developing confidence and good esteem, visit my website at http://www.imconfident.com.   My workbook can be ordered through the Bookstore page.

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy father’s day

father and sonHappy father’s day!  Today is a good day to celebrate being a father and having a father.  It is also a good day to reflect on what kind of father you are.

Do you set a good example for your children?   What are you teaching them through your words and actions?

Do you show:

  • love or hate
  • kindness or meanness
  • respect or disrespect
  • tolerance or intolerance
  • honesty or dishonesty
  • calmness or irritability
  • patience or anger
  • responsibility or irresponsibility

Children are listening to our words and watching our actions.  They are greatly influenced by what they hear and see.   Our bad habits can become their bad habits.   Our bad behaviours can become their bad behaviours.

Consider your own words and actions and make any changes so you can become the example that you want your children to follow.

 

 

 

 

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