Empowering Kids To Try Anything

Our children are born with some amazing qualities. They believe they can do anything, and won’t give up until they do, or get what they want. Unfortunately though, through life they pick up messages to the contrary, and their once exuberant confidence may dwindle. But there are ways that parents can teach their children that will empower them to have the confidence to try new things and focus on their abilities rather than their failures:-

1. Pope John XXIII said “See everything, overlook a lot, correct a little”.

Look for the best in your kids. Much that we try, it does seem that we have a tendency to see what’s wrong with something rather than what’s right, like the one stray sock in an otherwise tidy bedroom. Whatever your kids are up to, look for what’s good about them, and make them aware of it.

2. Correct their behaviour in a positive way, using positive language. For example, rather than saying “no, that’s wrong”, ask him “what could you have done better?” This way, rather than focussing on what’s wrong and drawing his attention to the idea that there’s something wrong, you are getting him to learn from it and focus on a new possibility of behaviour.

3. Lead by example. Our actions as parents are so powerful. Our children watch our every move. We cannot be telling our children what to do, if we do not follow our own rules. In fact, I would suggest that, in many things, children can learn perfectly just through watching us, rather than us telling them instructions. For example, as a child I would stand and watch my grandmother cooking. She never gave me lessons, yet when it was the time for me to start cooking, I knew what to do. Language is not the medium through which children learn.

4. Avoid negative labelling. Language is very powerful. What we say in front of our children matters. Phrases such as ‘she’s so…..’, ‘he can’t…..’ are a form of label, and imply that that’s the way they are and they won’t change. . Using terms such as ‘bad boy’, ‘silly’, ‘stupid’ is giving them labels, and kids wear such labels. Remember, it is not your child who’s silly, it’s their behaviour, and you can teach them just as well through positive language rather than negative.

5. Be mindful of what you say about your children. A comment about a child to another adult within the child’s earshot is even much more powerful than a comment to the child himself. So if you’re talking about your child, make sure it’s a positive, endearing comment!

Parents, being the role models, are in the best position to empower their kids to have the skills for success. It’s often the simple, everyday communication in our relationships that can make such a difference to encouraging our kids to be confident, courageous and happy. So focus on your interaction with your kids, and your family relationships, and you will be giving them the strong foundations they need now, and indeed, for later life.