Welcome to part 2 of the episode in which we talk about the 9 principles for raising confident children. In part 1 we have talked about what confidence really means, and I've shared the first four principles.
Now it's time to dive into the last five principles. Click play and let's go!
Embracing Constructive Criticism
Criticism is a delicate subject in parenting. While many of us adhere to gentle or positive parenting, avoiding criticism altogether isn't the solution. Remember, a key component of confidence is vulnerability. Children need to learn to handle criticism, not fear it. The trick lies in offering constructive criticism empathetically. It's about pointing out areas for improvement without making the child feel bad about themselves. For instance, correcting spelling mistakes in an essay is necessary, but it should be done in a way that doesn't demean the child.
Encouraging New Experiences
Routine is comforting for children, but occasional disruptions are essential. Introduce new activities, books, or experiences gently. The goal is not to force but to suggest and encourage. For example, my son, initially fearful of movies, gradually found joy in them through gentle encouragement and exposure. This approach helps children embrace new experiences without feeling overwhelmed.
Providing Choices and Responsibilities
Empower your children by giving them control over certain aspects of their lives. This could be as simple as choosing their clothes or deciding on a meal. It teaches them the consequences of their choices and instills a sense of responsibility. Even small tasks like tidying up their games or helping with dinner can make a big difference in how they perceive their role in the family and their ability to make decisions.
Allowing Fear and Teaching Courage
Fear is a natural and important emotion. It's crucial to let children know that it's okay to be afraid. Instead of dismissing their fears, we should teach them to acknowledge and face them. This understanding is a vital part of developing true courage – the ability to be afraid and yet do what needs to be done, whether it's trying something new or standing up for themselves.
Discussing Emotions Openly
Open conversations about emotions are fundamental. Children should understand that all emotions are valid and part of the human experience. Whether it's anger, sadness, joy, or fear, they need to know it's okay to feel and express these emotions. However, it's equally important to teach them that their actions in response to these emotions should be appropriate and constructive.
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[00:00:00] All right, everybody, welcome back to The Apparently Parent Podcast. this is part two of the episode we have started last week. All about the nine principles that you can employ in order to nurture and raise confident children.
Last week we talked about the first four principals. And if you haven't listened to that, start with the previous episode, and now let's just dive in back into the episode for the last five principles.
Now the next suggestion for helping your child develop more confidence is about criticism.
Many parents who try to leave what we call or some people call the gentle parenting or positive parenting. They try to not criticize the children like ever. Because we all know that words can hurt. And many positive meaning parents try to avoid words that may make the child feel criticized or judged by you.
But I want you to remember how we defined confidence. And part of being confident is being able to feel vulnerable. Right. So, in order to, to be confident and to stick to your ground and keep going forward, even when obstacles are abound, [00:02:00] keep exploring, and being able to face your mistakes or face obstacles and all that.
You have to be able to feel vulnerable. And that means if someone is criticizing you, you have to be able to handle that. How many people, maybe you're one of them, how many adults you know that they go out to their jobs and then someone criticizes them, or maybe in college or whatever, and it completely ruins their day.
Even if that criticism has a grain of truth in it. 'cause criticism. Doesn't have to be something destructive. You want to use constructive criticism? Okay. You want to be empathetic and show them where they are wrong. And kind of make a disconnection between the criticism and who they are. You don't criticize the child. You don't tell the child that he or she are wrong, are bad, are broken. No. What they did was wrong. So, for example, let's say that they are writing an essay and they have some spelling mistakes. You don't have to completely dismiss and ignore the spelling mistakes, just because you want to empower your child because correct spelling is important.
Right. So you can show them where they were wrong. You know, you wrote this word wrong. Maybe that's because you need to read more, so your vocabulary will be better, or maybe you need some help with spelling, et cetera. I'm not someone who is versed in how you correct spelling mistakes.
So don't take my word for it, but. I'm talking about the emotional part. Because if you, if you criticize your child by, Hey, that word, you spelled wrong, or what's wrong with your spelling?
And all that. You will probably make your child feel like shit. And they won't be able to open up for the constructive criticism that you can offer. And these experiences will build up and will show up later in adulthood. When someone criticizing them, [00:04:00]
constructively even, they will suddenly become that little child judged by their parents. No. Don't do that. Criticize, but do that constructively empathetically. Just show them where they are wrong and offer your help.
Now to the next point, that will help you grow a more confident child. Encourage new things new experiences. But do that gently. Because you know how kids love routines, especially the young ones. They can watch the same show over and over again, seeing the same song over and over again, have the same meal over and over again.
Kids love routines. Routines makes them feel safe. Let him have their routines, but every now and then disrupt it with something new. Bring something new to the table, offer another kind of show, offer a new book. Offer a new experience of going out, whatever. Okay. Now do so gently. Don't force anything on them. Just suggest, suggest, suggest. Let me give you an example from my own parenting. My son now he's eight years old and he loves to go see movies. However, there was a time that he was afraid of movies, even at home. He refused to watch movies. I don't know. He got it into his head. That movies are scary. And now he loved watching TV shows. It's not about the screen or something about the moving picture that scared him. He really loved watching TV shows, but he was afraid of movies for some reason. Now.
I love movies. I used to be a movie buff. I wanted to be a movie director when I grew up. And, you know, I love going to the cinema and having a son that doesn't want to watch movies was weird for me. But I never forced it on him. Right. But I always suggested it to him. Okay. Hey, listen,
maybe today, let's watch a movie. Let's go to new movie place. Let's watch a movie at home, et cetera. And he refused. And I said, okay, maybe next time. And I kept suggesting it. And one day, it clicks for [00:06:00] him. And he tried it. Not without fear. I remember our first time in the movies. I think he was
four years old, we went to the cinema and you know, the lights go down and he was a little bit worried. But he stuck to it and, and he did it and we watched the movie and he had fun. And since then he loves it. And unfortunately COVID prevents us from doing so, but you know, now he loves it. So this is how we can encourage new things, but gently suggest don't force. Don't judge.
If they don't want that, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We can see that in, in food suggestions, we can see that in activities. Just keep suggesting and also try to see what interests them. Another thing that I'm struggling with the same son doesn't really like to read.
And I'm an avid reader, so it bugs me. And I keeps suggesting new books, different types of books. And I'm trying to zone in on things that he would like it. Cause he doesn't like to read the things I used to read in at his age. That's fine. So, you know, figure out where you can do something similar yourself.
Now I think we're at number seven and the seventh suggestion and I have for you for raising a more confident child is, give them choices and responsibilities. It's a little bit similar to what we talked about earlier about about helicopter parents who does everything for the kids and we move obstacles and it goes even deeper than that. Because if you want to grow your child to grow up and be this kind of adult that has an agency and a, some sense of control over their lives, you have to give them some sense of control as children. Okay. And little children have next to no control over their lives.
But as they grow up, you can give them some more control. Like, what do you want to eat what you want to do today? What do you want to wear to school from the options that are okay with you, of course, because if I would let them just eat and wear whatever they want, they will go to school in their [00:08:00] pajamas or not at all. And they will eat candy all day long. Yeah. So. Not 100% of a choice and responsibility. But give them some control as they grow up. One of the simplest examples, and I see it all the time being suggested is to and give your children a two to three clothing options and let them choose from those.
Now, if they chose something you don't like it's your problem, because you shouldn't have put it out in the first place. Give them options that you are okay with. Give them dinner options that you can manage. You can make you have it in your okay. With. Et cetera.
Now, why is that so important? Because when you give your children a sense of control, of choice. You nurture this feeling that yeah I can choose. I can decide it's empowering. And also you teach them how to handle the consequences of their choice. For example, if you go out for a hike or you go out for the playground,
and they decide not to wear a coat. And it's a little bit cold outside. Let them go out without a coat. It won't kill them.
Let them go out, let them feel cold. Let them kind of pay the bill of that consequences that they, chose not to take the coat and, and of course I'm not talking about, you know, going out in a blizzard without a coat, you know, be, be reasonable, but this is how they learn
to make choices and take responsibility for their choices, which is part of being confident as you grow up.
And also give them responsibilities. According to what they can do. Let them do little things around the house, like organizing the games, at the end of the day, maybe, clean the toilet, if they are old enough for that. Clear the table. Show them that they are part of the family and they have responsibility. They are not little kids who are always taken care of by other [00:10:00] adults. They have some responsibility around the house and that thing that they are doing is really helping you.
Or the entire family, and that is really empowering. And that is really something that can help them feel more confident about themselves and their abilities. To contribute to the family and to the world.
And now let's talk about the last two, and I think maybe, I don't know if that the most important parts of this discussion, but they're very important.
So tip number eight is allowing them to be afraid. Now. Let's face it. We live in a dangerous world. And a big part of your job as a parent it's to keep your kids alive and well and safe. Okay. However, for some reason, we, we make a lot of effort of trying to shelter them from everything that we know
that might be a little bit dangerous. Many parents try so hard to shelter their, their kids from even being aware of danger. Even being a little bit scared of danger. If I had a dollar for every time I heard a parent and usually in those are dads tell their kids, there is nothing to be afraid of, stop being afraid.
As the kid is climbing on some playground or something like that, I wouldn't have been richer. And, you know, it kind of resonates this famous FDR quote. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Well, if all the respect to FDR and I have respect for him, in parenting doesn't work like that. Fear is okay. And to be afraid is okay. We don't have to fear fear.
He meant, well, that quote. Not what I'm going for in parenting. Fear is one of the most important emotions that we have. It's vital for survival. Right. Vital for survival. That's a good one. We should teach our kids that feeling afraid is okay. It's okay. To be afraid [00:12:00] because if we don't teach them that feeling afraid is okay. Which means if we teach them that feeling afraid is not okay.
It's not manly or whatever.
As they grow up they might kind of disconnect from being able to face their fears. Yeah, they, maybe they won't to dangerous stuff, but what about applying for a job that they really want? What about stepping out and talking in front of a room full of people who want to hear what they have to teach?
What about asking for a raise? What about the woman who knows that her male colleague is earning a lot more than her in the same job, and, and feeling afraid to step up and do something about it. Okay. If doing those things might cause some kind of fear in them, they won't be able to have that fear,
be with that fear, feel that fear, accept that fear, and doing what they're afraid of anyway, which is what courageous means. And this is a part of being confident. Remember exploring and being able to be with whatever is happening, even if it's not so pleasant. Whatever you want to do, fear is okay to be afraid is okay. It's vital for survival. Yeah. And we should teach our children that it's okay to be afraid as long as it doesn't prevent them from trying. I don't want them to walk around fear full all the time, not doing anything.
I want they to be able to face the fears. I always tell my kids that being brave doesn't mean not being afraid. It means being afraid and doing the thing that scares you anyway, if you want to do it or you have to, because maybe you have to get a flu shot and it scares you and you have to do it because you want to be healthy.
And that leads me to the last part of our discussion, which is talking with your children about their emotions. So fear is one emotion, but we have a [00:14:00] vast array of emotions that we can talk about.
You have to be able to talk to your children about his or her emotion. This goes back to my earlier definition about how confident means being vulnerable, being able to confront your weaknesses and obstacles because eventually your child must learn from you that being emotional is totally fine. You can feel sad.
You can feel frustrated. You can be angry. You can be fearful. Like we just talk about, you can even be overexcited and happy. Emotions should always be welcomed. If you have watched the movie inside out, you saw how dismissing emotions like sadness can hurt. That movie
is awesome because it's based of what is really happening in your mind. Okay. It's not some legend. Expressing emotions is important, feeling your emotions is important. Emotions are the best compass we have daily, daily, daily. We need them and you need to teach your children how to feel their enormous array of emotions they have. Okay. So I cannot say this enough emotions, should we always be welcomed. And what sometimes can not be welcome is the action that comes up with the emotion. So, you know, some parents are afraid that if I let my children feel angry, they will hit someone.
That's not necessarily true. You have to teach them that they can feel angry, but they are not allowed to hit anyone. Right. So you have to kind of make these, disconnection between an emotion and action, and usually children act automatically according to their emotion. This is why we have these discussions with them. Okay. We show them how an emotion can be there without you acting upon it.
Let's take a simple example. You child may be throwing a tantrum because let's say you agreed to read only one bedtime story and not two, per his or her request. Now in that tantrum, they scream, they [00:16:00] cry. Maybe it's a really hard one and they throw pillows around and even try to bite you. So, how do you react to that? What can you do? What you shouldn't do?
So, for example, you can tell your child. You got nothing to be angry about because we already read one book. Okay. Or you can tell your child stop this anger right now. Stop being angry. Now, these are absolutely not helpful, right. Because, first, it just won't work. You will be worked up.
And it won't work because,
you know, Book of Mormons lied to us and you can just turn it off. Okay, so it won't do the trick. And second, you will teach your child that anger is an unacceptable emotion. Now think about it. Your child really wants another story and you don't give them another story. Why won't they be angry with you or sad about you not giving them another story?
It doesn't mean you have to give them the second story, but allow them to be angry with it. Now, if this kind of message and anger is not acceptable is received over and over and over and over and over again, your child will grow up with difficulties expressing his anger as an adult. So think about someone in a romantic relationship and their partner is treating them
really badly. And they cannot express that anger.
That kind of inner relationship bullying will continue. Just one example. So, being confident means being able to feel every emotion that you have, not necessarily acting upon it immediately, but feeling it, letting it be processed, letting it go away and sometimes acting according to what you want to achieve.
Okay. So in that example, you can tell your child, Hey. Hey, Hey. After that, of course you kind of restrain your child from hurting anyone. Okay. Hey. It's okay. To be angry. I refused something that you really want, another story. And that made you [00:18:00] angry. That's okay.
However, we always read one story and it's already too late to add another story. I'm tired. My throat is sore and you have to go to sleep and that's how it is. You feel angry about it. That's fine. But you cannot hurt me. Or anyone else. Now, this kind of message gives you a child total permission to feel,
even though the emotion doesn't change the reality. Okay. So yeah. He's angry. He's not getting another story, even though he's angry. And by the way, with time, they will learn that anger is not a solution to that situation.
So let's quickly recap what we've talked about today. And today we talked about nine ways in which you can help your children grow up more confident, develop their own confidence. Remember confident means being able to explore your inner world, your external world, your thoughts and feelings and your actions and being vulnerable along the way, facing your demons, your fears, your obstacles, without running away from them and acting according to what you want to achieve.
Without hurting anyone and without hurting yourself. And for thatend I offered nine principles that you can follow. And those were encouraging the effort and not the goal. Practicing because, you know, practice doesn't make perfect practice just makes whatever it has to make.
Be around to help but wait a bit. Teach them that they don't need everybody's love. Criticize them, but constructively. Encourage them to do new things, but gently. Give them choices and responsibilities. Allow them to be afraid and talk with them about their emotions. Let them have all the emotions they need to do. Now, this is obviously not a thorough list. I don't know if there is a list.
There are many other of these that I may didn't think about or forgot. but I [00:20:00] think there's that these ideas are pretty robust and will help you guide your way. Towards, and developing more confidence in your children, whether they are three years old or nine years old. Doesn't matter. Even if you didn't start doing those things earlier, you can always start now because there's no better
time to start than now.
And with that, let's close this episode for today. Thank you for listening this far. Only means to me that you are awesome. Awesome. And you're a very caring parent that you want to learn more about how you can help your children. If you are not subscribed to this show, please do so in whatever
podcasting platform you like to use. Google podcasts, apple podcast, Spotify. Pigeons, whatever. And also, I would really appreciate it if you take the time to rate and review us on whatever platform you, you like to use. It helps me get in front of more people and help spread the word of being a 21st century parent,
and helping our children have their best lives ever. And with that, let's close this for today. I will see you next week on a fresh new episode and until then have a wonderful parenting journey. Bye-bye.
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The Apparently Parent Podcast
On this show, I share with you my perspectives and experience of parenting and psychology.
Enhance your understanding of the relationship with your child and yourself by learning about attachment, mindful and playful parenting mindset and techniques.
Listen to me sharing my knowledge and experience both as a parent and a therapist, as well as interviews with parenting experts from around the world.
Your Host – Eran Katz
I’m a clinical psychologist and parenting counselor specializing in attachment theory. I’m also the father of two children who are my best parenting teachers.
I believe that parenting is one of the most important jobs we ever do. This is why I created Apparently Parent and The Parenting MAP. My goal in life is to help as many parents as possible become 21st Century Parents, moving from chaos to harmony and building an enduring, meaningful relationship with their children.