Do you want your child to accept and love him/herself unconditionally? To value, respect and look after their body? To express their most positive self?
“Confidence” is often misunderstood. Parents often say to me; my child doesn’t need to see you as they’re already confident… but what they’re not realising is there’s a difference between being “genuinely-confident” and “over-confident” (just as there is “under-confident”).
So how can we help our kids be genuinely-confident as opposed to under-confident or over-confident?
It is during childhood that kids form their core sense of self. Studies show that much of our personality is fully developed by the age of seven years old. This alarming statistic highlights the importance of our responsibility as a role model and source of guidance throughout the early years of a child’s life.
Confidence is the foundation of a child’s wellbeing and the key to accomplishment as an adult. How much kids value themselves, relate to others, perform at school and achieve in outer-school activities, all stem from their level of self-confidence.
For our children to be genuinely-confident they must love, nurture and express themselves (practicing self-love, self-care and self-expression). We play a vital role in helping our kids do this, helping them to free their mind, love their body and open their soul.
Freeing their mind
Negative thinking is a key contributor to low self-confidence. When they get in the habit of thinking/speaking harmfully to themselves, they live in a constant state of sadness and discontent. Teach them to free their mind of negative thinking patterns, as it’s these negative thoughts that develop into damaging self-beliefs.
Instil positive self-talk
Daily affirmations and mantras are an excellent way of embedding positive beliefs. Saying affirmations and mantras (such as, “I love being me”) builds self-worth and helps them to feel good about themselves.
Be careful of your words.
We all know how it feels when someone criticises us or responds to our proud statements with dissatisfaction. We don’t like to be unnecessarily blamed or have negative judgments placed upon us. Children are exactly the same; they need positive reinforcement and specific praise (when due of course).
Loving their body
Looking back twenty years to my childhood I notice the immense difference in media influence upon kids. Today, the media plays such an enormous part in how children see, and feel about, themselves. It’s everywhere. The images we’re constantly bombarded with blatantly contradict everything we’re trying to teach kids. Body image is a huge issue.
The number of kids who want to change something about their body is phenomenal. There’s so much pressure on how kids ‘look’ these days, making them self-conscious about their bodies.
We need to teach kids the extent of how phenomenal their bodies really are, help them appreciate their body and what it does for them, and foster an unconditional acceptance of their individual body shape/type. Be aware of how you treat your body. Do you criticise your body in front of the kids? Do you act in ways that display a disliking towards your appearance? Work at building your own body love and be a positive mirror for them. They will then reflect this confidence back to you.
Opening their soul
To open your soul is simply to be your true self and express the unique individual that you are. Kids get so caught up in being self-conscious and worry too much about how others see them. Teach them that they’re supposed to be different, and foster a genuine love of being unique.
Conformity is such a large concern these days. There’s enormous pressure on kids to conform to the norm, follow the latest trends and be like everyone else. This is the driving force behind what I do. I was never one to follow the crowd; I stood strong in my beliefs and who I was as an individual, and let my own light shine.
When kids free their mind, love their body and open their soul, they are what I call “living in FLO”. When kids live in FLO they are being genuinely-confident (ie. not feeling “less than” or trying to be “better than” anybody else).
My highlight of working with kids is seeing them flourish into self-assured human beings – unique beings that genuinely love who they are.
Like growing a tree… our job is to nurture what’s there, do what we can to shape their environment so that they grow tall and proud, and avoid cutting away at the branches. It’s not an easy job, but it’s a vital one. With societal messages being powerful and persistent we have our work cut out for us. But we can do this. Let’s create confident kids!
About the Author
Jenna Claire Fletcher is founder of FLO GIRLS. Jenna is Illawarra’s coach and mentor for our upcoming generation, inspiring and empowering children/youth through her high-impact empowerment sessions, workshops and programs. With a Bachelor of Psychology and Graduate Diploma in Education, as well as being an accredited Teacher and Holistic Health & Life Coach, Jenna specialises in self-worth development. She is on a mission to educate and equip our upcoming generation to truly flourish, being their most positive self.
For more information on FLO GIRLS visit www.facebook.com/floGirlsMovement or email Jenna at firstname.lastname@example.org