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This Is How You Can Raise Confident kids And Keep Your Sanity

This Is How You Can Raise Confident kids And Keep Your Sanity

I am responsible for three children. I have an 18 year old daughter who is a freshman in college, a six year old son, and my girlfriend has an eight year old son. Around the time my daughter was four years old I started studying characteristics of success. At first I was only concerned about my personal survival and success, but that quickly shifted to looking at how I could help the world around me with what I was learning. Shortly after I turned 24 I knew I wanted to spend my life teaching, training, coaching, counselling, or speaking. Thankfully that has been my life the past eight years.

Whether I’m coaching one-on-one, training a leadership group of 20, or speaking to 150 people, my responsibility is to help people understand concepts that will help them do two things:

1. Overcome self-imposed barriers that hold them back
2. Gain the confidence needed to live the life they want to live

Shortly after I started learning this stuff, I realized I had the same responsibility to my children.

And, guess what? You do too!

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We all know people who are secure with themselves and confident. We all know people who are insecure and lack self-confidence. The secure and confident people tend to have an easier time with the world around them. In his Hierarchy of Needs, Abraham Maslow outlines that insecurity and a lack of self-confidence may prevent us from: developing healthy relationships, developing the esteem needed to achieve the life we desire and discovering our purpose and passions.

I’m certainly not a perfect man or father, but trust me, you want your kids to be confident. Their lives will be easier and so will yours.

If you are a parent and you view your role and responsibilities similar to me, what I’m about to share should add value. If you are a parent that has never made confidence a result you’ve committed to, you should. As I mentioned above, it will make your life easier.

To have confidence, our children must have security and stability. It’s hard to maintain a healthy and positive attitude and be all that you can be when you are in survival mode. One way we can give them security and stability is through the culture of our homes. Business leaders are responsible for the culture in their workplace. Athletic coaches are responsible for the culture within their teams. And as the leader of your family, you are responsible for the culture of your home.

Here are three things you must have present in your home to create the stability to allow your child’s confidence to grow. Oh, and to keep your sanity!

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1. Clear Roles

Clear roles is a pretty simple concept. You are the parent and they are the children. Not: you are the friend and they are the friend. Or more like, you are the friend that is only treated with respect when they get their way. You are the parent and they are the child. This means you run the show, create the culture, set the rules, and enforce the rules. When the rules are followed, there must be acknowledgement and appreciation. When the rules aren’t followed, there must be consistent consequences.

You run the show! That is your role. That is not their role. They are the child. If you set no boundaries, your children will see no boundaries and you’re going to have your hands full with kids who think they are in charge and lose their mind when they are not.

Now before I you get the impression that I am some communistic dictator, I have to point out that love has to be the foundation. I have an informal rule in my head that I need to love my kids twice as much as I have to discipline them. If you rule your home with an iron fist, your kids might listen out of fear or your perceived power, but they won’t trust you. When love is the foundation, they might not always like you, but they will trust and respect you. This will create all kinds of healthy emotional leverage that will work in everyone’s favor.

Below is one of my favorite television clips of all time. It’s a scene from the pilot episode for the Cosby Show. Cliff (played by Bill Cosby) is having a conversation with his son Theo (played my Malcolm-Jamal Warner) about Theo’s grades and his attitude about the world. Cliff is a very loving father who is hearing his son out, but at some point he has enough of Theo’s nonsense and lays the hammer down, reminding him of who runs the show.

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2. Clear Goals

The best way to guide your children to stay on course is to talk to them about the clear destination or desired outcome. Proactively talk to them about what results you need to see and explain why it is good for them. Mentally and emotionally connect them to the end result and give them some freedom to figure out how they are going to achieve it. Help them set clear goals for themselves. Sure they are going to do stupid things and make mistakes along the way, but every stupid thing and mistake they make is an opportunity to be he parent and reconnect them to the clear goal, yours or theirs.

The line I came to use often with my daughter was “My goal is that you reach 18 with confidence and a good head on your shoulders.” We even got to the point where all I would have to say is “What’s my job?” and she would immediately roll her eyes at me and in her sarcastic voice “to guide me in the right direction so I’m confident”. With my son, even at six I say to him “Buddy, my job is to help you be a good boy, so you will grow up to be a good man.”

3. Clear Expectations

Clear expectations are like clear goals, but different. Clear goals are about desired outcomes and clear expectations are about what kind of people they need to be to achieve the desired outcomes. What are their values? What are their standards? How do they need to show up?

These clear expectations became the hierarchy of rules in our home as outlined below, which hangs in the kids’ rooms. If they want to enjoy the “LET’S HAVE FUN!”, the previous five expectations have to be met in some reasonable fashion.

  • Self-repect
  • Respect others
  • Family First
  • School Stuff
  • Do what you’re asked
  • LET’s HAVE FUN!

Remember, the end result is that your kids are confident. Confident people see and react to the world differently. They see things more productively and will handle life’s adversities better. By establishing clear roles, clear goals, and clear expectations you are creating a culture within your home of love and stability. They know they are the child and you are the parent. They understand what the goals are and why they are important. They understand how they need to do things and show up to be successful.

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In closing, I’ll share a note my daughter posted on my Facebook page a couple of months ago, that for me brings everything full circle.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my main man and role model. Words can’t express how thankful I am to have such a strong, confident, passionate, and hilarious (sometimes) father in my life. Without you, I wouldn’t have the expectations that I have for myself today, nor the values and need to help others and make a difference. You have inspired me to do so much with my life, and I know I can go to you for anything and you’ll tell me what to do (whether I like to hear it or not). Thank you for pushing me to try hard and take risks, and mainly for shaping me into the person I am today. So, here’s to you! I love you more than anything in the world! Happy birthday.”

This stuff is the foundation of every successful company, team, and family. Parenting can feel like a contact sport and you must play to win. In my opinion, winning is raising confident children without loosing your mind.

Good luck!

If you have other tips you would like to share, feel free to do so in the comment section below.

Featured photo credit: Mother and son huddle together winter portrait, closeup via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

1. Salmon

Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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2. Blueberries

Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

Curcumin has also been shown to:

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  • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
  • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
  • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
  • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

4. Coffee

Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

Coffee can also:

  • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
  • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
  • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
  • Improve your memory.
  • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

5. Broccoli

What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

6. Bone broth

Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

7. Walnuts

Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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8. Eggs

For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

9. Dark chocolate

You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

Conclusion

Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
[2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
[3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
[4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
[5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
[6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
[7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
[8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
[9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
[10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
[11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
[12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
[13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
[14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
[15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
[16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
[17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
[18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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