Confidence and self-esteem is so important to navigate through life and thrive. Our upbringing has such a big influence on the way we think about ourselves and our self-esteem enables us to have successful careers, friendships and relationships.
Me personally, I’m a pretty confident person now but I wasn’t always (believe it or not!). For me it was leaving school that really made me come out of my shell. When I left school I realised that the world was bigger than just the people I had been used to seeing everyday for the last 5 years. I think my parents did a great job in so many ways. I don’t however think they really saw the importance of building confidence in their children, really taking the time to nurture that part of development as a priority alongside some other important traits like hard work, respect and discipline. It’s all about looking back at our own upbringing and seeing what parts we want to duplicate and other areas where we will do things differently right?
So how can we help our children become well rounded adults who can live a full life and thrive? We hosted a #DaddyDebates Twitter chat on this very topic. We asked people what they do to build up their child’s self-esteem and what their own parents did to help build their own self-esteem. A few themes came up regularly and we’ve summarised the top 5 below:
1. Make sure they are represented in the media they consume
This is especially important for ethnic minorities growing up as they won’t be represented in most TV programmes, books and toys. Seeing ourselves in our media, being happy and successful, gives us a sense that we can be that person too. It normalises who we are and gives us a sense of belonging, rather then feeling like an outsider. As parents we need to do all we can to try and curate our children’s experiences so they are seeing themselves represented. There are a lot of new small independent businesses that are creating products for black and minority children and it’s important that we support them!
2. Be a confident role model
Children copy so much of what we do without us even realising! They learn their behaviours not just from what we say, but actually more from what we do. I read a little while ago that toddlers at a playgroup will be more likely to approach other kids if they see their parents doing the same. During our #DaddyDebates chat there were a few people who said that being a parent has forced them to be more confident and I think that’s great. Becoming a parent really makes us stand up, look at ourselves and improve on the areas we fell will make us better parents.
3. Encourage them to talk and share their opinions
I like the idea of sitting down round a table as a family eating dinner together (without the TV on!). It’s an opportunity to talk about how our day has been and discuss ideas and current events. But this shouldn’t be the only time that we encourage our kids to talk and share their opinions, it’s something that should be a normal part of life and the relationship between parent and child. Making it normal to ask our kids their opinion, encouraging them to be creative and and ask questions is something I’m hoping to do with my daughter.
4. Positive affirmations
Words are powerful. And whatever we hear about ourselves will, when repeated time and time again, inevitably influence the way we think about ourselves. Through life we hear enough of the negative stuff, the doubt and limitations that society puts on us. So it’s so important that we as parents are able to be that positive voice that repeats encouraging things to our children. This isn’t always easy as the business of life can easily get in the way! There are ways to ensure we do it consistently though. One way to do it is through affirmation cards which act as a prompt and reminder, check out these cool ones from A Life More Inspired.
5. Set stretching and achieving challenges
Achievement is one of the best ways to grow confidence. For a child to be set a task, work towards completing it and then be rewarded builds so many good qualities. Not only can it encourage confidence and self-esteem but also instils values of hard work, discipline and celebrating our successes. Setting challenging but acheivable tasks is fun and a great way to build confidence and self-esteem.
#DaddyDebates is our weekly Twitter chat about all things parenting (and occasionally music and football!). The chats take place on Twitter at 9pm every Thursday. Follow us on Twitter @MFFonline_ and watch out for the hashtag. We also post the debates on our Facebook page and Instagram so there are multiple ways to get involved!
We want your ideas about different topics that we should be talking about. It can be anything parenting related, no matter how light hearted or serious. Hit us up on social media or comment below with some suggestions 😉
Written by Elliott