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10 Tips To Boost Your Child’s Confidence (And Not Their Arrogance)

10 Tips To Boost Your Child’s Confidence (And Not Their Arrogance)

A recent study by The Ohio State University suggests that increasing narcissistic development in children may be attributed to parents’ over-valuation of their child’s abilities and achievements, consistently over time. That is, parents believing that their children are more deserving and special compared to others. The findings also suggest that the development of narcissistic traits stem partially from socialization experiences, and in the case of children, how their parents interact with them. There is a difference in the way “narcissism” is defined, and how it is different from a person who has high or healthy “self-esteem” though.

For starters, the study defines narcissistic individuals as those who “feel superior to others, fantasize about personal successes, and believe they deserve special treatment.” On the other hand, “confidence”, may be simply referred to as “a measure of one’s belief in one’s own abilities…”, according to Kansas State University professor, Candice Shoemaker. Based on anecdotal evidence and empirical studies, it would also appear that individuals who’ve a healthy degree of confidence in their abilities also tend to perform better in their chosen areas of application.

In a nutshell, the confident person has realistic beliefs in his/her own capabilities and enjoys higher chances to succeed, whilst the other holds an inflated belief that they better than the rest, often feel entitled to receive a (positive) result, but tend to perform poorer than the former.

Whilst it is natural for many of us to think the world of our flesh and blood, and go the extra mile to support them during their formative years, praising them to the high-heavens doesn’t help. In fact, over-praising was found to be the largest predictor of narcissism in children – and that had no effect on the self-esteem levels (i.e. self-respect and confidence in their abilities).

How can parents and caregivers help nurture confidence in children and minimize the risk of arrogance then?

Here are ten tips to help you to do so:

1. Allow them to fall (and be there for them when it happens)

I’m starting with probably the biggest and hardest point to swallow – how to let them fall.

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Falling and failing hurts. It’s a natural way our mind alerts us to danger… and motivates us to do better. Pain is a survival instinct that reminds us that we need to skill up and adapt to our environment.

When our children fall, parents feel the pain twofold – one because they can relate to the pain their children are going through.

Two, when they see their baby cry – and out of love and concern, they become all too eager to put a smile back on their children’s faces.

Sometimes, the pressures of the world also mean that some parents want to “fix things”, stop the crying and move on as well. Unfortunately, we won’t be with our children forever, so it’s better for us to teach our kids how to pick themselves up after a fall and recognize areas for improvement rather than to dismiss it or blame others for it.

I learned a great way to teach kids how to pick themselves up from losing, from seeing my nephews and nieces playing with board games.

Games being games, there’s going to be a winner and losers. Yes, plural. Seeing them attempting and playing together starting at the tender age of three showed me the best and worst (then) sights of child. The periods of competition, victory, joy, disappointment, gloating – the good and bad – became teachable moments for these young minds, and parents want to be there reinforce positive traits and guide them through negative behavior when that happens.

As the adage goes, “when one hits rock bottom, the only way is up.” Funnily enough, when we’ve become experienced enough with our initial fears and difficulties, we learn to handle them better – and with that comes a deeper sense of confidence.

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2. Teach them to be accountable for their actions

By teaching our children to be accountable for their actions, they begin to appreciate the power of their choices and develop greater sensitivity to the consequences of those choices. Our children begin to learn and see that life is what they make of it, and not merely subjected to the actions of other people – parents, society etc. Naturally, there will always be things beyond our control, but that’s what all of us are subjected to in this world. Some of the world’s richest and most accomplished individuals are shining examples of how they struck gold when they strove to make “lemonade from the lemons” they were given.

Some famous names that come to mind are, Richard BransonSteve Jobs and Chris Gardner. Teaching our children to be accountable for their actions helps them learn about the power that’s in their hands. It’s the power to shape and chart their future in spite of the environment and competition surrounding them. It challenges them to see things in perspective, to see opportunities, their strengths, and potential pitfalls. It’s a skill they will continue to learn and hone long after we’re gone.

3. Let them help around the house (and celebrate milestones)

A large part of confidence comes from having a sense of competence, and children also need opportunities to build and demonstrate their skill and competency levels as well, and a great place to do that is when they’re at home. Getting them to help, even when they’re to little to help with cooking, setting the table and making beds helps everybody see tangible results of their actions, and provides an avenue for them see and feel that their contribution is valuable.

Too often, many parents are afraid of the mess that might come about during the early days, and rush to rescue their children when they fall. Yet that “mess” is merely a small and temporary problem to a larger and longer-term solution

4. Challenge them

As our children make progress in the various aspects of their lives – be it setting the tables or making the soccer team, it’s not sufficient to merely validate their achievements. The nurturing role of the parent also requires them to challenge the children to push their boundaries and strive for the next challenge. This could mean our children graduating from making the bed they sleep in, to sweeping the bedroom floor (conquering their bedroom!) before moving into helping out the living room and finally into the kitchen.

Similarly, they may do well to make the soccer team as a striker or defender, and whilst we celebrate that achievement, we’ll be encouraging them to actually score a goal or keep a clean sheet.

After all, there’s only so much one can rave about and commend our kids for actually kicking the ball and encouraging them to become better also helps them keep their feet on the ground.

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5. Put your child in charge

Every so often, put your child in charge of family activity. This could be what the family might be having for dinner, movie, or where to go as a family. Putting your child in charge provides them with the opportunity to make decisions, not only for themselves but with their family (and others) in mind. It may be prudent to rotate this privilege between each member, so that more assertive siblings do not dominate

6. Encourage play and the pursuit of their passion

Like so many of the points above, inculcating a sense and desire to learn is not only a great way to build competency (and hence confidence in their skills), but also keep your child’s feet on the ground. Helping our children find and encouraging them to pursue their passion not only helps them nurture their love for learning, but also liberates them to explore freely and find their feet in the world.

Like many of the greatest discoveries of our world, many were found by accident. Who knows what talents they might unearth when they’re having fun?

7. Encourage them to express themselves

Encourage them to take part in discussion, be open and respectful to disagreement and be open to every member’s right to share their opinions and emotions about a particular matter. Sharing and challenging each members’ opinions help our children understand that more than one opinion has the right to exist in our world, and that there’s never a clear-cut solution to life’s sophistication.

In turn, showing respect for another’s opinion also shows our children how to be respectful towards others as well; and in certain instances, what it means to be assertive and passionate in one’s stand and perspective as well.

8. Listen and and help them relate to emotions

When your child is trying to tell you something, stop and listen to what he/she has to say, even if you don’t understand all his words. They need to know that their thoughts and feelings matter.

Help them recognize and get comfortable with their emotions by acknowledging them. You may say, “It sounds like you are sad because you have to say bye to your friends.”

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Doing so helps them recognize emotions such as sadness, frustration, anger, and shows that you are accepting their emotions without judgment. It shows that you validate their their emotions, and show that you value what they have to say.

Likewise, when you share your own feelings, like “I’m excited about going to your play”, they’ll gain confidence expressing their own.

9. Don’t be afraid of calling them out their strengths, values and negative emotions

Every so often your child might get frustrated because they can’t do things their friends can, like painting as well as Peter (for example). Empathize with their disappointment by saying, “I can see that you are feeling frustrated, and I’m glad to hear that you are determined to do better”.

You may also remind them they’re good at “building things / putting things together” (again, for example), something which Peter really isn’t good at. This can help your child learn that we all have unique strengths and limitations, that there are other values worth acknowledgement, and that they don’t have to be perfect to feel good about themselves.

10. Resist sweeping comparisons

When we make comments such as “Why can’t you be as hardworking like Alice?”, we are more often than not making our children feel bad about himself. For some, it’s a hope that shame inflicts enough pain for them to take action.

Interestingly, even positive comparisons, such as “You’re the best player in your team” could be damaging – not only because a child now has a skewed idea of reality without taking into account the contribution of others, it can also be hard to live up to this image.

Better it would, when we learn appreciate our children for the unique individuals they are rather than how they measure up against others generally.

In that way, it’s more likely that they will learn to value themselves too.

Featured photo credit: Petr Dodek via flickr.com

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13 Things You Need to Forget If You Want To Be Likable How to Set Up Your Child for Success in Life 10 Tips To Boost Your Child’s Confidence (And Not Their Arrogance)

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Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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