Confidence: The Greatest Gift

One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is that of high self-esteem and confidence.  That said, there’s a myth that parents can somehow impart high levels of confidence into their children, either by being confident themselves or following a particular parenting style that is believed to result in high levels of self-esteem and emotional stability within your child.

The truth is that confidence is not a gift you can pass onto your child; confidence and self-esteem are both things that must be generated from within.  Now, as a baby, children are naturally high in confidence and self-esteem, their sense of self-worth is second to none as they make their need very clear with the full expectation they will be heard and responded to.
The challenge, as children grow up, is that their sense of self-confidence gets chipped away at; they are told no and conditioned to believe the world is a scary place - where they need to be more unsure of themselves and the world.  Now, this is an important survival skill, for if children were not discouraged from doing certain things such as touching a hot iron, crossing the road without awareness of traffic, or putting their hand in a food processor… chances are they would not be in the best position in life.
Yet, in such a negative world, particularly when it comes to TV advertisements that encourage us all (including children) to feel that we are not enough as we are and need the next greatest toy (or in the adult’s case a particular beauty lotion, credit card, or plastic surgery)... children absorb all these negative messages up like a sponge, and even if they aren’t consciously aware, the information is stored in their subconscious mind.
In this sense, childhood conditioning (e.g. if a child hears their parents argue a lot about money) can inform the foundational paradigms of how they think and perceive the world.  Indeed, many people that receive counseling as an adult, will spend a fair amount of time trying to rewire some of the unhelpful beliefs that were installed in childhood.
The best thing you can do, therefore, is to remain as positive around your children as possible - ensuring they perceive the world as an abundant and supportive place where they can achieve anything they put their mind to… in addition, as we discussed confidence is something that must be generated, it’s a little like a muscle, and therefore needs to be exercised.
It’s important, therefore, to exercise your child’s confidence muscle by putting them in situations that build their confidence - bit by bit - rather than throwing them in the deep end, so that they develop this for themselves.  Travel and day trips are a fantastic way to do this, as there are all sorts of experiences that can help your children exercise their confidence muscles.
All too often, well-meaning, but ultimately smothering mothers that affirm the brilliance of their child whilst protecting them from experiences where they could “fail” are acting against the child’s natural ability to generate self-confidence because it infers they would fail if they tried, and that perhaps, the unconditional nature of their mother’s admiration is what they should expect from everyone… which could lead to a rude awakening in adult life.
The key takeaway, therefore, is to ensure you help your child build their own confidence muscles.

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