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.

What kind of parent are you?

To Build (or Break) a Child's Spirit - by Rachel Macy StaffordThe way you parent your children mainly depends on what kind of environment you have been raised in.  Most parents will use the same methods of parenting used by their parents and grandparents even though they may have hated the way they were raised.  Every child wants to please their parents and they will try to model their behaviour.  They may even believe that this is the way normal parents behave if they  have never encountered a different approach.

There are basically 3 types of parents. The terms vary depending on what information you are reading, but I like to use the terms powerful, permissive and responsible.  Each one has a different impact on the child as to what kind of parent/child relationship they have and what type of parent they will become.  Think back to your own childhood and determine what kind of parent you were raised by.

  1. POWERFUL parents are those who make their children behave by controlling them with angry words or forceful actions and punishments.    They make most decisions for their child and allow them little freedom.  They use their size to intimidate their child and may ignore, harass or even physically abuse them.  Children of powerful parents behave out of fear rather than love and will eventually grow to resent their parents, often rebelling in some way.   They will grow up with insecurities and fears and will likely raise their children using anger and intimidation.
  2. PERMISSIVE parents are those who allow their children to do almost anything they want.  There are few or no rules and parenting is inconsistent.  They make things as easy as they can for the child, often doing things for them that the child could easily do themselves.  This robs the child of self-respect and self-esteem and invites rebellion.  Children of permissive parents often are confused and make poor choices because they have no guidelines to follow.
  3. RESPONSIBLE parents are those who convey love and show respect to their children and other people.  They provide their children with opportunities to make their own choices and hold them accountable.  They use consistent, loving discipline and lead by example.  They encourage, support and protect their child and help them develop good self-worth.  Children of responsible parents learn how become a responsible adult by watching and modelling the positive characteristics of their parent.

Powerful and Permissive parents have a negative affect on their children.  Most of these children will struggle in school, work and in their relationships.  They will likely become the same type of parent with their children or in some cases, they can go to the other extreme.  Children raised by powerful parents might become permissive parents because they don’t want their children to be controlled and will allow them complete freedom to do what they want, falsely believing this is showing love.  Children raised by permissive parents might become powerful parents because they believe that children need rules and may go way overboard in taking control, causing the parent/child relationship to suffer greatly.  Neither method works well.

The Responsible parent is the best method of parenting.   The parent works with the child to build a loving relationship.   Mistakes are made but lessons are learned and the child develops a positive perspective on life.

It is also extremely important that both parents use the same parenting method.  There needs to be continuous communication between the parents so they discuss and work out any problems.  When parents use different parenting methods or the parents are divided on any matter, parenting WILL fail.  Children are a lot smarter than we think they are.  They will divide and conquer every time.  Make sure you are working together as a team to raise your children in the best way possible.  And if you make a mistake?  Well, you are human and nobody is perfect.  Apologize, start over, do whatever it takes to keep those lines of communication open!

So what kind of parent are you?  And what kind of parent do you want your child to be?

 

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What is growing in your garden?

Most people know that if you want a garden to look beautiful, it requires a lot of care.  You have to plant good seeds in fertile soil and water them regularly.  Once the plants, flowers, shrubs, bushes and trees start growing, you have to provide them with continuous care, pulling any weeds out and pruning back any overgrown branches.  It takes work and you can’t neglect caring for the garden or it will soon become overgrown with weeds and lose its beauty.  Then it will slowly wither and die.

People are like gardens.  If we have had good seeds planted in our lives and have been cared for regularly, we will flourish and grow.  As a child, our parents and other people around us start planting seeds that will either make our garden of life beautiful or unattractive.  Positive seeds of love, encouragement and support will help us create a beautiful character that will help us achieve success in our lives.  Negative seeds of neglect, abuse and despair will help us create an unattractive character that will hold us back from reaching our goals or even having any.

What is growing in your garden?  Have positive or negative seeds been planted?  Are YOU planting positive or negative seeds?

It doesn’t matter what has been planted in your garden up to this point.  If positive seeds have been planted, that is awesome!  Keep growing!  However, if negative seeds have been planted, don’t despair.  YOU can start planting positive seeds in your own life and the lives of others.  How?

  • determine where those negative seeds came from so you are aware of why you think and act the way you do
  • start changing the way you talk to yourself – stop that negative thinking and replace it with positive thinking
  • say positive affirmations to yourself every day and learn to appreciate yourself
  • write down a list of your strengths, abilities and skills
  • increase the time you spend with positive people and decrease the time you spend with negative people
  • always look for the good in people and situations instead of the bad

Work hard to create a more positive perspective on life and build your confidence so you can find the happiness and success you are looking for.  Visit my website at http://www.imconfident.com for more information.

 

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12 ways to teach your kids to be thankful

Teaching our children to have manners is important but teaching them to be thankful can benefit them in more ways than just saying ‘please and thank-you’.   Being thankful helps us live a better life because we are looking for the positives in life instead of the negatives.

Studies have shown that people who are thankful tend to be happier and more confident.  They are able to deal with difficult situations in a positive way and make better decisions.  They have better relationships and treat others with respect.  They are less likely to be depressed or anxious.

When children are taught to appreciate what they have and are able to understand that everything in life doesn’t come easily, they are less apt to be selfish, self-centered individuals.

So how can we teach our kids to be thankful?  Here are 10 suggestions:

  1. Be a thankful role model.  Children learn best from our example.  They are always watching us and will often imitate what they see.  Show them that you are thankful for all the wonderful things in your life.  Be polite to others people and show courtesy and respect.  “Thank-you for listening to me.”  “I’m so thankful for my nice warm bed.”  “Thanks for cleaning up your room.”
  2. Expect your children to show good manners.  Children should say please and thank-you.  They should sit at the table until everyone has finished their meal.  They should be quiet when an elderly family member is sleeping.   They should write thank-you letters when they receive a gift.  Gently remind your children when they forget to be polite.
  3. Have a special ‘thankful’ meal every week.  Start the meal with a simple grace and then ask everyone to share something that they are thankful for.
  4. Keep a gratitude journal.  Encourage your children to write down things they are thankful for and then  have a gratitude day where everyone can share their thoughts.
  5. Make a gratitude jar.  Write down things you are thankful for on slips of paper and put them in the jar.  Pick a special time to pull them out and read them.
  6. Play gratitude charades.  Have everyone think of something they are thankful for and act it out.  If you are thankful for having a puppy, walk on all fours.  If you are thankful for having good food to eat, pretend you are cooking.  Be creative.
  7. Tell your children how thankful you are that they are in your family.  Tell them how thankful you are for their smile, their hugs, their special way of doing (something).
  8. Refrain from giving your children too many material things and encourage them to save their allowance or get a job to pay for any special items they may want.  This teaches them to appreciate the value of money and hard work.
  9. Encourage them to donate their time or money to help a worthy cause.   Help them understand that many people are struggling and need someone to help them.  Allow them to feel the positive energy of helping others.
  10. Catch them complaining and try to help them find something to be grateful for.  If they are complaining about not getting a new toy or the latest technology, have them make a list about the great things they already have.
  11. Read stories and watch movies about gratitude.  This will reinforce what you are teaching them and help them see things from a different perspective.
  12. Bake cookies for your neighbours, your school or place of work and attach a note telling them how thankful you are for knowing them.

 

It doesn’t matter if your children are 2 years old or 42 years old, you can still help them become more thankful by being a positive role model.

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Your past does not define you

The first recipe for happiness is:  avoid too lengthy meditation on the past.  ~Andre Maurois

Everyone has a past and it leads us to where we are today.  Our past leaves a mark on us and provides us with valuable lessons.   However, our past can become a huge burden on our lives if we allow our mistakes and failures to define who we are.  If we keep focusing on past events and drag them with us everywhere we go, we can become slaves to our past and not be able to enjoy our lives.

We have all done things in our past that we are not proud of.   We should accept our mistakes and learn from them.  We can’t change what we did but we can change what we do in the future.  Making a mistake does not make us a failure.  Quitting makes us a failure so we should always keep trying to better ourselves.  Dwelling on past mistakes will just stop us from living a full, rewarding life today.

Many people have been treated badly in the past and they feel that there is something wrong with them.   They define themselves by this event and think they are less valuable than other people.  This is wrong!  When people hurt us, they are hurting themselves and their actions are a reflection of their own pain.  It has nothing to do with us and it is wrong to believe that we are responsible for their actions.  We have to stop being slaves to these past events and refuse to allow them to keep hurting us.

Everything in the past has already happened and it does not have to affect our future.   We may have had a bad habit or addiction.  We may have hurt someone with our words or actions.  We may have been abused or abandoned.  We are definitely shaped by our past but we are NOT defined by it.  We CAN move past these things and into something that is much greater.

  • We need to stop focusing on the past and start focusing on today
  • We need to stop thinking negative thoughts and start thinking positive thoughts
  • We need to stop telling ourselves that there is something wrong with us and start telling ourselves that we are great just the way we are
  • We need to stop telling ourselves that we are a failure and start telling ourselves that even though we make mistakes, we are learning and growing

Many successful people today have gone through tremendous difficulties and pain in their past, but they were able to overcome their adversities and make a difference in their lives and the lives of other people.  Jim Carrey was homeless as a teen, Bill Gates failed in his first business attempt, Bethany Hamilton lost her arm in a shark attack, Oprah Winfrey was raped at 9 and became pregnant at 14, Richard Branson has dyslexia and I could go on and on.

Never feel that your past defines you.  It doesn’t matter what you did or what happened to you.  You have great abilities, strengths and characteristics.   Every day you can make a fresh start and work on developing a new character.  Build your confidence and increase your self-esteem so you can feel good about who you are.  Visit my website http://www.imconfident.com for more information on confidence building.

Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them.  They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals, rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them.  ~Jack Canfield

 

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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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Think nobody likes you? Wrong!

Never assume people won’t like you.  There are literally millions of people in the world who wish they could have a friend just like you.  Research shows that about 75% or more of the world’s population is lonely and would love to have someone reach out and talk to them.   Like you, they also believe that nobody could possibly like them or want to be their friend.

If you lack confidence and have low esteem, it can be difficult to even try to talk to other people.  Fear of rejection can hold you back from taking that first step and initiating a conversation with someone you don’t know.  It takes courage to approach people but it is well worth the risk as most people will respond in a positive way.   Look around and find someone who seems lonely, smile and say hello.  If you have time, start a conversation.  Be friendly, ask them some basic questions.   It might just brighten their day and lessen the load they are carrying.

Of course, there is the possibility that some people will ignore you or reject you because they may feel so bad about themselves and have closed themselves off to forming any friendships at all.   Their negative response shouldn’t stop you from continuing to try to connect with people.   And there will always be people who won’t want to be your friend because of personality conflicts, jealousy or other issues.   You can never hope to win everyone’s approval.

So if you think that nobody likes you, you are wrong!  If you believe this, then you probably don’t like yourself and you are sending out negative vibes that tell people not to like you!

  • Learn how to build your confidence so you can feel comfortable initiating a conversation.
  • Increase your esteem so you will feel good about yourself.
  • Discover your strengths and abilities.
  • Be thankful for everything you have.
  • Say positive statements or affirmations every day.
  • Show love and kindness to everyone you meet.

When you feel good about yourself and send out positive vibes to other people, they will feel comfortable and enjoy being in your presence.   If you want to have friends, you have to be a friend.

If you would like more information on building confidence and increasing your esteem, visit my website at http://www.imconfident.com.

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Do you like yourself?

This is a question that many people will respond with a resounding ‘no’.  Society today makes people feel bad about themselves by constantly pointing out their imperfections and flaws.  We are never good enough!  We don’t measure up!  There is always someone who is more attractive, has lots of money and possessions, is smarter, more powerful or just better in some way.   This just causes us to become discouraged, defeated and depressed.  No matter what we try to do, nothing brings happiness or success in our lives.

Nothing is worse than spending time with people you don’t like.  Everyone has a family member, friend or co-worker that they don’t like, but are forced to spend time with.  This can be a person who is very negative, complaining, critical and judgmental.   In these situations, we do have a choice as to whether we remain in their company or try to avoid seeing them.

However, what if the person you don’t like is yourself?  You can’t ever get away from yourself – everywhere you go, there you are.  When you eat a meal, you have to eat with yourself.  When you go to work, you have to go with yourself.  When you go to the bathroom, you are right there!  So it is important that you work hard to become a person that you would like to spend time with.

We are all special in our own way.  Each of us is unique.  There is nobody in this world that is exactly like us and that is what makes us special.  We have our own strengths, abilities and skills and we need to work on building confidence in ourselves so we can feel comfortable spending time with ourselves.  When we have confidence, it shows others that we know our valuable as a person and this makes us look attractive and approachable.

Please visit my website at http://www.imconfident.com  for ways on how to become more confident.

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Do you want your child to have good character?

If you want your child to have good character, you have to teach them solid moral values and then live what you teach.  Words are not enough, they don’t always teach children how to have good character.  Your actions can sometimes contradict your words, so you have to be of strong character yourself and teach them by example.

Character can be defined as the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves.  It is someone’s personality and the mental and moral qualities that are built into an individual.

It is important that parents teach their children right from wrong and good from bad.   It is important that they can distinguish appropriate behaviour from inappropriate behaviour.  It is important that they have strong beliefs and build confidence in themselves.  People with strong character are not easily swayed and they will hold steadfast to their beliefs.

An excellent way to help your children build good character is to get them involved in serving others.  Service teaches humility.  Service helps us learn the value of helping others. Service helps people feel good about themselves.  Service has proven to benefit your physical, mental and spiritual health.

But don’t just send your children out to do service by themselves.  Go with them and work beside them.  It makes you a better person and you are setting a wonderful example.

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Change your self-talk

The way you talk to yourself and others can give you power or it can take power away from you.   Many of us have developed a bad habit of negative self-talk and we don’t even think about what we are saying to ourselves and others.   Our words are often critical, unkind, unfair, rude or even cruel.  If we don’t take the time to stop and really think about what we are saying, we will continue on with this bad habit.

What kind of words are you using?  Stop and actually listen to yourself.  Do you hear positive words or negative words coming out of your mouth?  If you are saying negative words, you are probably thinking negative thoughts and this means it is time to re-train your brain to think positive thoughts.   Positive words are full of encouragement and positive energy.  Negative words are full of discouragement and are a huge drain on our energy.  Which ones would you rather hear spoken to you?  Which ones would others prefer spoken to them?  The obvious answer is positive words.

Practice saying positive statements on purpose.  Don’t just wait until you are in a conversation.  Take time each day to practice using positive words.  Look in a mirror and say something nice and encouraging.  Write some positive statements and repeat them over and over until they become habit.  Don’t think you can’t change the way you think and talk because you can.   Over time, you developed a habit of using negative self-talk and you can also develop a habit of using positive self-talk.  It just takes a lot of patience and practice.

Change your self-talk and change your life.  Being positive has so many more benefits than being negative.  It improves relationships, helps build confidence, provides happiness and brings peace.

Every waking moments we talk to ourselves about the things we experience. Our self-talk, the thoughts we communicate to ourselves, in turn control the way we feel and act.   ~John Lembo

 

 

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Is childhood becoming extinct?

Many child psychologists and therapists are in agreement on one thing – children today are becoming adults too soon.  In reading various articles and also from personal observation, I am in total agreement with this.  Everywhere I go, I see young children dressing provocatively, using language that is inappropriate and acting in ways that would have embarrassed me at their age.  Instead of enjoying the few short years of their childhood, they are trying to be mini adults.

So why is this happening?  It is because many parents are pressuring their children to become responsible for themselves at a young age.  They allow them to make their own choices and often try to be a friend instead of a parent.  In many homes there are no restrictions as to what children watch on TV or the computer.  Children often watch the same programs and movies as adults do which causes them to be exposed to sex and violence at a very early age.   Children can’t handle this information emotionally, physically and spiritually and the result is early sexual activity, teen pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and violent behaviour.   This results in relationship issues, problems in school, low esteem, eating disorders, addictions, depression and possibly even suicide.

Children are a gift and we should treat them with special care.  We don’t need to show other people that our children are smarter, faster or better looking.  We don’t need to tell our children that they are better than someone else.  We  don’t need to help them grow up any faster than they need to.  Children need to be children.  They need to play and explore.  They need to be loved, appreciated and respected.

Do your children a favour and allow them to be a child.   We have enough adults in the world.  Don’t let childhood becoming something that is extinct.

Which child would you rather have?  The one that looks like a serious model or the one that looks like she is having fun being a kid?

tots in tiaras1happy girl standing on hands

 

 

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