If there is one thing that I should should come with a manual, it is this thing called Parenting. Even though I have a Degree in Psychology, years of experience in Counselling and yes, 4 children under my belt, nothing really prepared me for motherhood.
To be really honest, even though my oldest child about to turn 17, I still feel that raising my children is still a trial and error thing. What works on one doesn’t work with the other. Oh, newsflash to those with babies and toddlers, it is still way easier to deal with them at that age. In fact, I consider that the “golden age”.
With the growing number of “experts” both online and off line, this guest post by Sarah Dickinson is the most honest I’ve read. From my experience too, I couldn’t agree more with her.
What do you think of her tips? I’d love to hear your views. Let me know in the comment section.
(Note: The article below contains affiliate links.)
While the technology keeps changing there are some things that stays the same. Even the topography of parenting evolving with our society and its values, most parents have the same goal: to raise happy, confident children who have all the skills they need to succeed in the world.
There is no right road to get to the destination of a thriving, balanced and functioning adult. In fact, all parents will tell you that there are countless decisions to make over a never ending tide of situations. Today though, we are looking at the best tips for giving your child the confidence they need; while keeping the arrogance at bay.
Remember what works for one won’t always work for another; and that is okay. Every child and family are different. So take these suggestions with a grain of salt, and mull these over until you find the best way that aligns with your parenting style.
ALLOW THEM TO FAIL.
I’m about to completely sell out my generation; and I do it gladly. Part of being a good parent is to have a strong sense of self, and not let “parenting trends” sway you from your core beliefs. My generation ushered in a movement of everyone is a winner, everyone gets a trophy, and we are all special.
When I find myself in the position of motherhood, I rejected this idea completely. Sorry to those who embrace this philosophy and believe that winning at everything creates confidence. As honestly as I can state it, it doesn’t. It fosters entitlement and keeps children from learning how to lose. More importantly it keeps them from learning their strengths and weaknesses.
TEACH THEM TO BE ACCOUNTABLE.
When you teach your child to own their actions, and the results of their choices, you foster their confidence. From the rewards and accolades of their good choices to their failures and punishments of their bad choices; they will truly understand what consequences are. While on the surface it may not seem as important, over time they will learn to appreciate the power of their choices. Both the good and the bad.
ENCOURAGE PLAY AND THE PURSUIT OF THEIR PASSION.
I spent years on my floor playing every conceivable game with my girls. Legos, Barbies, crafts, painting, and every made up as the rules changed game. When they have friends over for play dates, I watched them over but never interfered.
It sounds simple, but why is it important? We all know that children learn through play. Not only do they learn more how things work and how to interact, they learn about themselves too. They learn what they like and don’t like. They learn about who they are and their interests (?).
Parenting is a world where it is far too easy to project ourselves into our children. So playing is the first place they learn about themselves.
LISTEN AND HELP THEM UNDERSTAND THEIR EMOTIONS AND THE EMOTIONS OF OTHERS.
This is such an important task but it is so easy not to utilize. Many parents believe they know their children. But the reality is parents need to invest the same time and attention getting to know them as you would anyone else.
How do you do that? Good old-fashioned listening. Listening without judgement or an agenda. Listen to hear what your child is saying, what is important to them and how it makes them feel. When you truly hear your child, you can help teach them to understand their feelings and how to express those feelings.
Once you’ve started this conversation, you can start introducing the concept of empathy and “putting themselves in some one else’s shoes”.
CALL THEM OUT AND ALLOW THEM TO CALL YOU OUT.
We live in a world where social media encourages a mentality of perfection. Multiple times a day on multiple platforms, people share the best side. Everything is filtered through a lens of perfection, achievements and status. There is no room for t he ugly truth or God forbid, anything less than perfection. This leaves parents having to work even harder to encourage their kids while keeping them grounded.
The simplest way to handle this is to be a little unfiltered. Here’s a little secret. Just like your child making mistakes wouldn’t make you love them any less, your child will not lose any love for you when you to either. So when you burn dinner, don’t know the answer to a question, lose your temper or your filter – ADMIT IT!
A simple call out for yourself lessens the sting when it is their turn. Likewise, when you shout out their accomplishments and triumphs, they will carry a bit more weight.
When I began my novel, Silver Spoons: One’s Journey Through Addiction, I became exceedingly aware of how crucial honest dialogue is. Not only in the relationships we have with our children, but in every relationship we have through our lives and children’s lives.
I know these insights can be difficult to read as it’s not in our nature as humans to call ourselves out easily especially to a child. Equally difficult is going against our nature as parents and standing back silently watching our child fail or criticized.
But as a mother of both a 13 and a 19 year old, I can say it works. Not only does it help raise a confident child who doesn’t reek arrogance, it also lays the groundwork for maintaining a close relationship with them as they navigate their way through seemingly endless stream of obstacles.