Self-confidence for children
What do you want for your child?
Asked that question, of all the parents I have ever spoken to, the answer is invariably, 'I want him to be happy.'
Not, 'I want him to be top of the class,' or 'I want her to get into the best school.'
So what is the magic ingredient? What makes one child 'happy' and another not? The answer lies in his sense of self-worth. Raise his self-confidence and you give him the tools to face this life with optimism and trust. You empower him to take risks and learn from his mistakes, to accept himself as he is and to cope with this uncertain and ever-changing world.
Children with a strong sense of self worth are:
* Able to accept and learn from their own mistakes
* Confident without being arrogant or conceited
* Not demoralised by criticism or mild teasing
* Able to deal with their own feelings
* Less likely to be defensive when questioned
* Not easily upset by setbacks or obstacles
* Unlikely to feel a need to put others down
* Assertive but not aggressive in communicating their needs
* Not too worried about failing or looking foolish
* More likely to resist peer pressure
* Able to bounce back from disappointments and failures
* Not self-critical
* Not needing to prove themselves
* Able to take responsibility for their own happiness
* Able to laugh at themselves, not taking themselves too seriously
* Accepting of themselves as they are
* Able to cope with change
* Generous to themselves
* Generous to others
* Able to accept generosity and compliments
* Able to use assertive language, using statements beginning with 'I'
* Able to set goals for themselves and strive to reach them
* Able to say 'No', without offending the other person (see my lens on squidoo.com/preventbullying, for hints on how to say 'No', without losing friends.)
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Some tips for making them feel good about themselves...
* Increase family time, centred on the child's interests.
* Make sure that your mood is positive.
* Praise him in front of other people.
* Leave messages for him where he can find them privately.
* Make sure that the last thing he hears at night is a positive affirmation of his qualities, achievements and successes.
* Write a list together of all his qualities.
* Involve your child in family decisions, such as major purchases or family holidays. It will confirm to him that he is valued and important to you.
* Give him responsibilities and praise him for fulfilling them.
* Play board games together and praise him when he wins.
* Let grandparents and other relatives know how well he is doing.
* Ask him about the good things that happened at school today.
* Praise him at any time, but especially when you see him behaving in a confident manner.
* Encourage him to take risks. Limit the risks to one at a time and make sure he understands and appreciates his own success. Make them small risks at first, like changing a routine or trying a different food, (before you move on to the go-cart racing.) Each risk will increase his confidence.
* Allocate regular quality time to discuss what support he needs in school or anything else.
'Fake it, until you make it!'
So what if you're not feeling so confident on the inside? The first answer is - 'fake it, until you make it!'
If a negative thought creeps into your head, say 'hello' to the thought, then 'bye', then 'OUT!' and feel your brain kicking it out of your head.
Think positive - people who are positive thinkers attract friends - those who are negative send them away. Do you want lots of friends? I do.
Wear bright clothes. Smile at people. Go on - do it - go and try it out now. Try it on the dog, your next door neighbour, your teddy bear or your Auntie Flossie. Smile on the outside and see what happens. You'll soon be smiling on the inside too. That's the way it works.
Self-esteem = genuine praise and reinforcement + opportunities to succeed
An affirmation is a key message which needs to be reinforced again and again. As the affirmation is repeated, it becomes internalised and the child gradually assimilates the message into his own sub-conscious. Affirmations are a very powerful way of changing internal thought patterns. They talk over the negative chatter inside our minds and if we repeat the affirmation regularly and often enough, our sub-conscious and then our conscious minds gradually accept that it is so.
'As you think, so shall you be.'
Affirmations have long been accepted as a very powerful tool for changing entrenched thought patterns in adults. Children learn to use them even more quickly and more easily. They enjoy pattern and repetition. The key to making the affirmations work is repetition; so much so that you persuade your subconscious mind that they are true. By continually bombarding your subconscious with these statements, you are reprogramming your mind in the most powerful way.
In general, affirmations:
* Are written in the present tense (I am ...)
* State a deliberate intention (I feel happier all the time)
* Must not admit defeat (This probably won't work)
* Must not be conditional (If I succeed then ...)
* Must not be about anybody other than you
* Must be spoken out loud and written down
* Must be repeated time and time again
Each time you teach your child an affirmation, make sure that he is repeating it with you. The more often you both say it, the more effective it will be in empowering both of you. He will feel double the benefit. As you read the affirmation, point out the writing on the pages. This double input will increase the effectiveness even further.
Write the affirmations on sticky notes and paste them around your child's room and around the rest of the house. Get him to draw frames around them and decorate them, using symbols which relate to other interests in his life.
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