Our children are born with some amazing qualities. They believe they can do anything, and wont 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 whats wrong with something rather than whats right, like the one stray sock in an otherwise tidy bedroom. Whatever your kids are up to, look for whats 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, thats wrong, ask him what could you have done better? This way, rather than focussing on whats wrong and drawing his attention to the idea that theres 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 shes so .., he cant .. are a form of label, and imply that thats the way they are and they wont change. . Using terms such as bad boy, silly, stupid is giving them labels, and kids wear such labels. Remember, it is not your child whos silly, its 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 childs earshot is even much more powerful than a comment to the child himself. So if youre talking about your child, make sure its a positive, endearing comment!
Parents, being the role models, are in the best position to empower their kids to have the skills for success. Its 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.