Build Confidence in Kids
Are kids naturally confident?
I have always worried that I am not preparing my kids well enough for the world they will find waiting for them. We recently spent a couple of days iwth a family who was more like those we had been brought up with, and I realised that their kids were much more confident.
Some of it is definitely personality, but some of it is also confidence about their place in the world.
So what can we do to build the confidence of the next generation while still keeping their expectations real?
Sport, Language and Music
I believe that learning a sport, a second language and a musical instrument are good building blocks for a rounded education. I recently read the 50 Shades trilogy and I was pleased to see that Dr Grace Trevalian Grey had similar views. Her were a langauge, martial art and musical instrument. My boys do Judo, so I can live with that version.
(Do not get me wrong I am certainly not taking life lessons from the trilogy, it was just interesting that someone had put something so similar in black and white)
The reasons for my theory are that sport is essential for health, but there is a discipline to it which is hard to find in other things, but at the same time transfers seamlessing for other activities. By this I mean that the discipline learnt through sport has a very positive effect in other areas, especially at school. However, it is harder to learn at school than it is in sport. I think one of the reason for this is that kids choose their sport and they want to do well at it, where as they HAVE to go to school and it is their parents who want them to succeed in this environment.
Languages is a bit more complicated. Learning a language is hard, but developes a special type of confidence. A lot of people who can speak two languages have no fear of trying a third or fourth. They are always happy to have a go and are not worried about making a fool of themselves. Apart from the intellectual advantages of two or more languages, there are also social and cutlural advantages. It is easier to understand other cultures when you can communicate with the people living within them.
Finally the music option. I am not sure how relevant this is to our modern lifestyles, but I do believe that it gives us a way to unwind. A little like reading, but with an added external expression.
We may not be able to afford lessons in all of these things, but we can do pretty well, just by passing on the knowledge have, most of us have some musical knowledge and we can certainly all teach our kids some sports.
Sport builds strength and decipline
The Cool Factor
This can be very difficult for parents. We all want our kids to feel special amongst their contemporaries, but cool can also be just one step away from deliquent!
For my eldest we chose snake boarding. He has always had an amazing sense of balance and we certainly cannot afford snow boarding, so it was a financially viable solution which also offered social status as therewere no other local kids doing it. (Also once the board is bought, which is not expensive, you can do it anywhere).
Cool at No Cost
Money and Inadequacy
We do not have much money, and for a while I was worried that other kids would notice and exclude my boys. After a while I realised that my circumstances had taught me to be able to knock up home cooked snacks and cakes which were leagues better than the other kids were used to at home. Suddenly my lack of money had created an opportunity for the kids to be special amongst their piers. My poverty had created something which other children were jealous of! Life has not always been easy
Communication Builds Confidence
We all worry about our kids being bullied. My youngest takes life very seriously and at school he is quiet and timid. I am in a perminant state of fear as I am always sure that the boisterous boys will bully him.
Today we had our first (probably of many) meeting with his new form teacher. Yesterday in class the boy in front had continuously been knocking my sons things on the floor. Not a large problem, but enought to mean that he was distracted in class and then was upset about it afterwards.
Last year I did a lot of the talking with the teachers, but this year he has plucked up the confidence to speak more for himself. I was very pleased this morning that after the meeting he felt that he had someone else he could talk to about things who would give him time and not just brush off the issues. He does not want to be a tell tale or get other kids in trouble, but I think that just knowing that someone will listen has helped his confidence. He seemed to leave the meeting today a little bit bolder than when we went in.
Confidence builds confidence
A lot of preparing our kids for the future is abut teaching them that different can sometimes be better and that the ability to adapt is the greatest gift we can give anyone. I love my boys wiht all my heart and I hope that my constant efforts will give them the confidence to embrace their future an to thrive in what ever world they encouter.