It all started for me when they were babies – watching them roll over, calming their tantrums and perfecting the sounds and motions that put them to sleep. I got them this far, but teaching them to have confidence in themselves is taking more effort.
My babies have grown and have begun to question themselves and others and their own abilities. It is hard to know how to give them the confidence they need. I won’t be able to stop other kids from making fun of them and I can’t make parents demand their child play with my child. I’ve learned from experience, however, building a confident child takes a vision and a whole lot of confidence in yourself and your own abilities.
1. Start with a vision
Building self-esteem takes a vision, seeing something nobody else can. I know building confidence takes a mama bear to see them for who they are and who they will become. The problem is we don’t always see it in the moment, we sometimes just hear the sound of our own tantrums after they’ve disappointed us with another potty accident or messy bedroom.
I’m learning even though I know my kids so well – I taught them to walk, I make their meals three times a day, and I get them to school – I can’t always get them to open up, and I won’t always know the best ways to raise them.
2. Ignore your fears
For starters my first child has been a handful since year one, and I spent my entire summer worried he would be a handful for his kindergarten teacher. What if his dynamic personality took over the entire mood in the class? He tends to do that in our home. Despite my fears, however, my son’s teacher has told me he has done brilliantly in kindergarten. I spent my time seeing the worst instead of the best in him. As a young mom I need to put my own fears down for both of our sakes.
I realize moms can feed their fears or feed their hope. If I really focus, my intuition tells me there are great things to come for my little boy. Because of his passion and mine, I’m sure he will have our rough patches – but with a little hope, and a lot of listening, he will develop a strong sense of self and become something fantastic.
3. Seek first to understand then be understood
The trick is the more I understand what my boy is feeling and telling me, the more he will listen and believe the things I say to him and about him.
What I learned and what I know I’ve gained under the guidance of my own mother. Growing up she believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in me. She called me beautiful and smart and always mentioned to me when she noticed I did something right or made someone else smile. She always had her eye on who I was and eventually I was able to become who she saw.
More than being a nurturer, as a mom you’re an example. Kids watch you, and do what you do and not what you say. From the moment they roll over your kids take their lead from you. They learn to follow everything you do. I’m convinced the most important concept to building your child’s self esteem is having a strong self esteem. My mom was fearless, and I learned it from her.
4. Expect their confidence to be challenged
My babies are going to get a few hits to their confidence – sometimes more than others. Even though we know our kids so well and often over estimate them or under estimate them, they are going to take a wrong step from time to time. Have faith your children can make it through crazy hard stuff and they will stand on their own two feet someday and make you proud.
Parenting is no walk in the park, but neither is growing up. Both you and your child have to work hard at becoming who you and they want to be. With a little direction your kids will follow your lead and you’ll both have the confidence you’ve always wanted.