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.

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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Helping your children manage anger

2 kids arguingDo not teach your children never to be angry; teach them HOW to be angry. ~Lyman Abbott

Anger is a normal emotion that tells us something is wrong.   There is nothing wrong with feeling angry.  However, there is something wrong when we can’t control our anger in an appropriate way.

When some people get angry, they blow up immediately hurting everyone around them.  Others hide their anger inside until they get to a point where they explode, sometimes over a minor incident.   Neither way is very effective.

Many adults do not know how to control their own emotions and are not a good role model for their children.  When their children are reacting in anger, often a parent will respond with anger themselves, which doesn’t teach the child a good lesson.   I remember times when my children were asked to clean their rooms and when I went to check on them, nothing had been done.  To me, they were being disobedient and disrespectful.  I started telling them how lazy they were and how tired I was cleaning up their messes.   When they just sat there and looked at me without moving to do anything, I got angry and started yelling.   Then I would pick up their toys and put them in garbage bags, threatening to throw them away.  After I had my own little temper tantrum, I would go to my room and lay down exhausted.  I didn’t realize that I was acting very childish and all I had accomplished was to show an example of poor parenting.  What did this teach my children?  That is was okay to react in anger and that they were lazy and worthless.

It is important that we teach our children that it is okay to feel anger, but also how to deal with their anger.   How can we do this?

  • talk to them calmly
  • be firm
  • set a good example
  • help them recognize that they are feeling angry
  • help the understand why they are feeling angry
  • help them deal with the anger in a positive way

Here are some positive ways to deal with anger:

  • talk about it with someone who will listen
  • write it down or draw a picture
  • go for a walk or do some exercise
  • deep breathing
  • get up and dance
  • do some work (cleaning works good for me)
  • cry about it (this doesn’t mean you are weak)
  • read an anger management book
  • read the Bible
  • pray

For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness. ~Author Unknown

Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath. ~Eckhart Tolle

No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched. ~George Jean Nathan

 

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To Read When You’re Alone

This is a wonderful story about how a mother showed unconditional love to her teenage son. Our children need to know that we love them, are proud of them and that we are there for them no matter what. The teen years are especially difficult and we need to keep the lines of communication open. This is a wonderful way to connect when verbal communication has broken down.

Morning Story and Dilbert

Morning Story and Dilbert Vintage Dilbert
February 21, 1991

I was 13 years old. My family had moved to Southern California from North Florida a year before. I hit adolescence with a vengeance. I was angry and rebellious, with little regard for anything my parents had to say, particularly if it had to do with me. Like so many teenagers, I struggled to escape from anything that didn’t agree with my picture of the world. A “brilliant without need of guidance” kid, I rejected any overt offering of love. In fact, I got angry at the mention of the word love.

One night, after a particularly difficult day, I stormed into my room, shut the door and got into bed. As I lay down in the privacy of my bed, my hands slipped under my pillow. There was an envelope. I pulled it out and on the envelope it said, “To read when you’re…

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Do you listen to your children?

mom and daughter talkingWhen your children are talking to you, do you listen to what they are saying?   Do you hear the emotion behind their words?  Do you understand what they are saying?  Do you even care?

Often we become so busy with life that we tend to ignore what our children are saying.  Small children can be especially annoying when you are talking on the phone, doing some work or trying to read.  They can start chattering away and interrupt your thoughts.  Older children or teens might make a comment that seems unimportant or ridiculous and we dismiss them with a quick unfeeling reply.

When children are speaking, it is important that we acknowledge their feelings and try to understand what message they are conveying.  If we don’t tune in to their feelings and let them know we are listening, we will lose their trust and they won’t share their problems with us.  Children want to communicate with their parents and if they are unable to connect, they will find someone else to talk to.  Parents need to listen to their words and try to understand their feelings without being judgmental.   Parents may not always agree with what their children are saying or even totally understand, but they have to be willing to listen anyway.  This will promote good communication between parent and child and pave the way for a closer relationship.

If your child is trying to communicate with you:

  • STOP AND LISTEN!
  • Pay attention to what they are saying.
  • Read their body language.
  • What emotions are they showing? Are they happy or upset, excited or worried, nervous or afraid?
  • Look directly into their eyes and encourage them to talk.
  • Ask questions and make sure you understand how they feel and try to determine what they need.
  • Be supportive, try not to argue or force your opinion and don’t discount their feelings.

Remember back when you were a young child or teenager.  Your ideas about life were totally different than they are now.  You won’t always see eye to eye with your child but they need your love and support.  If they think that you are listening to them with an open mind, they will feel that their thoughts and feelings are important.  This will help them build good esteem and  become a confident, responsible adult.

Do you listen to your children?

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Bullying awareness week

clip bullyNovember 17-23 is Bullying Awareness Week across Canada.  This national campaign was created by the president of  www.bullying.org, Bill Belsey, who has won many awards for making the world a better and safer place for young people.  He also created the world’s first website on cyberbullying –  www.cyberbullying.ca and is the facilitator of online courses and webinars through his site www.bullyingcourse.com.  Mr. Belsey has appeared on various programs including Dr Phil, ABC News 20/20 and CNN.  He teaches school in Alberta and travels around the world speaking about various topics including bullying.

Bullying has always been around and always will be, but now with internet availability, cyberbullying has just magnified the problem.  When I was a child, my lack of ability to stand up for myself put me directly in the path of bullies.  Anyone who has low esteem is a direct target because bullies avoid anyone with strong esteem, they will only go after an easy victim.  This is because bullies have usually been abused or bullied themselves and they are looking for someone who is weak, so they can feel powerful and in control of their out-of-control lives.

I read an article this morning from CBC news that says the federal government is ready to put in new legislation to make is a crime for distribute intimate photos without the consent of the person in the pictures.   I’ve often wondered why people are allowed to freely send inappropriate photos of other people anywhere they want.  In the past, I worked for companies and organizations that require signed consent to take and distribute any personal photos.  Now with sites like Facebook and other social media, it seems that anyone can do what they want.  NOBODY should be allowed to pass on pictures without permission.  To me, this is theft – it is stealing the rights of a person to be seen and there should be laws against it.  I hope this legislation goes through and that more action is taken to protect the innocent who are being bullied in any way.  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/cyberbullying-legislation-to-be-announced-today-1.2432717

However, something also needs to be done about the bullies.  There are so many children that are raised in homes where there is violence, bullying and abuse.  These children learn inappropriate behaviours and through their hurt they inflict pain on others.  Punishing them is necessary but they should also be learning how to make positive changes in their attitude and behaviour.  Schools should be implementing courses where all children are being taught how to communicate properly and how to act appropriately so they can become responsible, caring adults.   Education is the key to decreasing the bully problem both for the bullies and those being bullied.

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What are we doing to our children?

Happy Family Laughing in BedLast year when I started blogging, I wrote an article called, What are we doing to our young people today.   If you haven’t read the article, you can click here https://imconfident.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/what-are-we-doing-to-our-young-people-today/  In my article, I pointed out the negative affects that the media has on our young people and how they don’t have enough good, positive role models.

Today I read a few blogs and articles about an incident at the VMA Awards that involved Miley Cyrus, a once innocent young Disney star who played the role of Hannah Montana.   I didn’t see the actual program as I rarely watch TV anymore (don’t feel there is much worth watching).  I only saw the pictures, but that was enough for me.  This young woman who used to be a positive role model for young girls, has now shown the world how little respect she has for her own body by prancing around the stage in a sexual manner.  Her performance sends out a very negative message to both women and men and encourages inappropriate sexual behaviours.

Parents and caregivers need to provide their children with a positive, loving atmosphere to grow up in.   They need to help their children build esteem so they will respect themselves and others around them.  They need to teach their children right from wrong and help them make good choices.  TV viewing, internet and cell phone use need to be restricted according to a child’s age so they are not viewing any inappropriate content that will affect them in a negative way.   Growing up in a loving, positive environment will help a child build esteem so they will be much better equipped to handle all the negative peer pressure and media pressure that they will encounter.

It is a tough world to grow up in.  We need to make sure it isn’t any tougher than it has to be.  Be a positive role model to your children and everyone around you so they will become a responsible, caring adult.

What are you doing to your children?

Are you a good role model?

How are you affecting their character?

Are you protecting them from any negative influences?

What kind of person do you want your child to become?

Children are our greatest asset and we need to treat them with the utmost care.  They are the future leaders of the world.  Let’s take responsibility and start raising them properly!

 

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Raising children in a tough world

It’s a day for reading articles and here is another one I’d like to share.   In today’s world people seem to have forgotten what it means to be a parent.   We allow our children to spend a large part of their day on the computer, the phone or other electronic device and not pay any attention to what is going on in their world.   Problems are on the rise – bullying, eating disorders, violence, hatred, depression and suicide.  Children don’t even seem disturbed by horrific events on the news – such things would have been traumatic for me when I was young.  Parents need to start parenting..   It isn’t easy being a parent but if we don’t do something, many more children will grow up full of fears and insecurities.   We need to get involved in our children’s lives, spend time with them, listen to them, talk WITH them not TO them, set realistic boundaries and enforce them.  If children grow up in a positive, loving environment where they can build confidence and esteem, they will become a responsible, successful adult.  Of course there are no guarantees because the pressures from peers and the media can be very powerful, but with a solid foundation, children will have a much better chance of surviving.

Please take a few minutes and read this excellent article by Wendy Wolff.

Be Brave For The Sake Of The Children

Image source: discovermagazine.com

Image source: discovermagazine.com
11 March 2013 – 00:00 EDT

It’s 2013.

Your child…has access to a private world that doesn’t include you. They speak a language in code that changes rapidly. They exist with their fingers and minds wrapped around an electronic entranceway to a society in which you have completely relinquished control. They deal with bullying, violence, and childhood hatred in ways that you never had to.

You…spend much of your ever dwindling time cleaning, cooking, holding down one or two jobs, laundry, managing activities, homework, being a spouse, doing the job of two parents, resolving conflicts and simply trying to catch your breath. Maybe there is a minute or two in the day when you get to sit and be still. Maybe not. Regardless of the immense pressure upon you there is one commitment that has been shamefully put at the end of the list, keeping our kids childlike and carefree. Remember the days of playing for hours on end outside with the mosquitoes leaving their welts but we were too busy to care? Now for some reason while we personally covet those days and even long for their return, we settle on giving our adolescents devices that keep them indoors, sitting, angry, and alone.

We… are raising a generation of children absent from the input of adults. How are the youth of today gleaming personal insight and growth from the valuable lessons of those who lived before us if we are not involved? We… have given in to the “wants” of our children beyond our better judgment, allowing them access to things that hinder the positive growth of their hearts and minds. We… have convinced ourselves that this is the natural course of evolution.

Why and how can this be ok?

The neurological development of the brain says when children are in their pre-puberty years, their brains are growing and enlarging with capability. It is clearly a time to get children learning new things. It was found by Dr. Jay Giedd, neuroscientist from the National Institute of Mental Health, that the new cells and connections in the brain will survive and flourish if they are used to learn new positive activities. Those cells and connections that are not used by eleven or twelve years old will wither and die. That’s it, bye bye.

In simpler words, that means if your pre-pubescent teenager is learning to play music, involved with sports, art, chess, or other active hobbies, then those new connections inside of the brain will become permanent forever. They will have more brain to work with! According to Dr. Giedd, if they are purely sitting around playing video games, watching TV, texting, those connections will never survive. How do people not know this simple fact about human development? How is this not guiding every decision we make for our future leaders?

In an article written by Dr. Robert Brooks of Harvard Medical School, he quotes world-renowned psychologist Julius Segal in saying one factor that enables children of misfortune to beat the heavy odds against them is the presence of a charismatic adult, a person with whom they can identify and from whom they gather strength.

How many children/teens are engaged with an adult who truly inspires them when their fingers are wrapped around a cell phone, typing a language in a world in which we have become foreigners? How can we do this if we don’t check their Twitters, Facebooks, text messages, and Instagrams? Doesn’t this make you want to do something? Anything?

And yet we somehow keep stepping further back. We succumb to the difficulty of raising children and let it rule us. We are now more committed to encouraging privacy among our children in an increasingly frightening world than we are to being engaged for their safety.

Is this really okay with all of us? Are we actually happy with the level of torment that occurs between kids, sometimes in a very subtle way, that gets hidden inside of the devices that keep us excluded? We wonder why we haven’t seen the signs before tragedy strikes—but then, if the signs are hidden inside devices that we don’t check, how could we possibly know?

It seems like we are generally afraid. A great friend of mine believes that we have lost our sense of courage. She often says that we have become a self-involved, fear-based society and that this fear keeps us completely separate. It keeps us from standing up for each other, from saying the difficult things that need to be said and from basically helping each other. The fear allows us to let our kids wander around in the cyber world aimlessly filling their growing, beautiful minds with garbage.

Have we decided to sit back and let the parenting just happen? When do we get involved? Being an involved parent and/or caring adult for a child is the hardest job in the planet and makes us go through a whirlwind of emotions that seem scary and unmanageable. Yet, the alternative to feeling the discourse is what we have now, kids who are giving us the rules and who are desensitized to violence.

What do we fear so much?

Are we so intensely afraid of the potential repercussions that we:

  • are afraid to see the pain and suffering that goes on between kids and actively resolve these issues?
  • are afraid to admit that while the secret to the billon dollar advertising industry is that our brains want to buy the pretty things we see…yet we somehow believe that having our precious children interacting with severe violence and promiscuity will do them no harm?
  • are afraid to read every single post and private message of our kids on Facebook, Oovoo, Tumblr, Twitter, and their cellphones and address what we see?
  • are afraid to see how out of control the language, sexting, drama, violence, bullying has become?
  • are afraid to know the passwords of our children’s accounts and check them regularly to make sure they are protected, happy, and carefree?
  • are afraid to shut off violent video games and limit access for the developing minds of our beloved offspring?
  • are afraid to limit our children’s access to chemically-laden energy drinks?
  • are afraid to teach them how to be positive contributors in their community and world?
  • are afraid to actually resolving conflict among children and their tormentors through the use of peer mediation, conflict resolution? Why have we let the bullying problem continue and build up speed in the past three decades? Why haven’t we bounded together and demanded that any adult that is within arm’s reach of our children treat them with dignity and be committed to disallowing any form of cruelty to exist on their watch?

Are we afraid or is it that we are just too tired?

Something has to change. Bullying is at an all-time high with one out of four children in the U.S being targets of bullying by another child. We have one out of five children reporting that they have bullied someone else. The cycle of violent, unkind behavior affects so many children that it now is more of a normal occurrence with that many children affected.

Children are tormented daily by other kids and our system is set up to have zero tolerance but to truly do nothing about it. We either aren’t capable of showing children the positive ways to behave in relationship with each other, or we are too tired.

What can we do to help our children? Why not try to…

  • Ask for help from a friend that you trust.
  • Demonstrate to the children in your life how to help others.
  • Make the time to listen. Really and truly listen.
  • Share the information that will help your children be positive, contributing members of society. They will only learn this if you share with them how.
  • Pray in any way that connects you with your inner voice.
  • Be an adult that cares. So much research has shown that parental warmth or support is key to protecting a child from being a victim and/or a bully.
  • Demand that your children give you access to their accounts. If they don’t, be the boss and disconnect them. You cannot keep them safe from things you don’t know about.
  • Learn about the food and drinks that you are giving to your children. Balance is key—but over-sugaring, over-food coloring, and over-processed fooding dramatically interferes with learning and managing.
  • Teach your kids about the good ol’ days of playing.
  • Take the TVs and computers out of your children’s bedrooms and let their bodies experience a proper night’s sleep.
  • Monitor what your children are watching. There are all kinds of parental controls on the TV and computer for you to use.
  • Talk with your kids anywhere and every time. No matter how uncomfortable it may make you. If you can’t, find another adult who can.
  • Do something to help children find a common ground with each other. Bullying will never stop until we believe in the goodness of each other. There will always be things to decipher, but with enough like-minded people we can spread caring, easily and rapidly.
  • Commit to be a formal or informal mentor to the children within your neighborhood, group of friends, church, or even within arm’s reach. All it takes is a smile and caring heart.

Thousands have said before this article, and thousands after will, tell you to dig deep, listen, hear the words that your kid is using, watch their behavior, encourage, guide, provide wisdom, advocate for, support, discipline.

Find a blend of those techniques and use them all or just use one. Pick one on this list and experiment with it. Be brave, for our children’s sake. Then, watch it work.

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15 year old sexually battered

Things like this should never happen but sadly we keep hearing about them. Parents need to become more involved in their children’s lives, keep the lines of communication open and set some proper boundaries that are reinforced. Children need strong role models who help them build esteem, so they are not swayed by peer pressure and end up doing things that will cause problems for them.

Give me 5 minutes a day and I'll give you a happier, more successful life

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Please pass this on, it could save a life!

A 15 year out girl (shown here) passed out at a party, was sexually abused and killed herself after seeing video online of the ordeal. Girls, be careful, people can slip roofies in your drink (coke, booze, whatever) that will knock you unconscious. Getting drunk can make you pass out, and since this girl was only 15, she may have never had alcohol before, making her get drunk very easily.

I don’t know if she passed out from booze or roofies, but either way what they did was wrong. Several teens were arrested for abusing her. Her family wanted this shared to protect other people like her.

Normally I only post positive and encouraging information on this blog but in this case I felt I had to post this to warn people.

You can read the news article about it here:

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This is a very well written post that brings reality into focus.

The Teen Years

Image

For teenagers especially, coming into our bodies is one of the most challenging aspects of our lives. How many times have you stared at another person and compared yourself to them academically, aesthetically, etc? For most, tons of times. You can be in a conversation with a friend and you’re gaze strays to a girls body and you sigh and chastise yourself for eating so much. You see a someone get a better score than you and you wonder why they did so much better than you when they studied as much. This mindset leads people to self- degradation and loss of pride. They start acting out in ways that they normally wouldn’t, trying to prove themselves through a vice that’s only harmful to them. Some spiral into an all-consuming depression where they can’t see a way out. Days become long and dreary, it loses it’s color and flavor. You…

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Dress for success

5 friendsIf I told you to dress for success what would come to your mind?   A picture of a nice dress, a tailored suit?  Many of us think that we need to look good to be successful and this is certainly true, however being successful is not just how you look on the outside.   Success comes from your entire self, both outside and inside.

Have you ever been in a room of people when someone with a tremendous personality walks in?   It feels like the entire room lights up and becomes warmer.  People stop and turn to give their attention to this person because they exude confidence and success.   Is it because of the clothing they are wearing?  Is it because they are beautiful or handsome?  Not entirely.  They probably do look very nice, but it is their personality that shines from within.   What type of personality are you wearing?   Successful people are dressed from the inside out; their clothing is just the icing on the cake.

When I was a teen, I used to feel that wearing stylish clothing was important to having friends and being successful.   Everything I wore had to match and be without marks and flaws.  I couldn’t step out of the house without looking as perfect as possible and this attitude carried with me long into my adult years.  I realize now that the media had brainwashed me into believing everything important in life was tied up to how I looked.  How crazy is this?  People I didn’t even know were telling me how I should look and making me feel bad.  This craziness had a negative influence on my 2 daughters who were watching me and doing everything I did.   I certainly wasn’t a very good role model!

Instead of obsessing about how we look, we should try to build our confidence and increase our self-esteem so we can be happy about who we are and how we look.    It is important to try to look our best, but cost and style are not as important as having a good character and a positive attitude towards life.

Are you dressing for success?   Or are you trying to find success in your dress?

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