Episode 36

What Builds Confidence in a Child?

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I was asked recently what's the greatest gift a parent can give a child. I think the answer is confidence, real confidence based on a child’s natural skills. I’m not talking about every child getting a medal for participation. I’m talking about a parent, in their nurturing process, making sure a child feels good about themselves. I think confidence should be built by nurturing a skill that your child has naturally, either professionally, sports-related or musically, so that your child builds up that good feeling about who they are. When they feel good about themselves as children, they’ll feel good about themselves as adults, not only professionally, but socially and as a member of the community. What do you think builds confidence in a child? I’d like to know.

Your stories

  1. No to the Lies!

    by Lise
  2. Forever Disabled ?

    by Amanda
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  1. No to the Lies!

    by Lise In my parents' house, lies were not accepted. I was raised to tell the truth. I was never punished. When I told my parents what I did wrong, I was reprimanded, and I had to make amends. However, the two times I tried to lie about my mistakes ( once I was 9, and the second time I was 15 ) I was severely punished ( nothing physical). I learned that by telling the truth, we can discuss the problem, then we can find a solution together. The parents are keeping the last word, indeed because they are the rulers. Maybe I am a too old-fashioned? Telling the truth helped me along my entire life. I used the same rule in my house with my two sons, telling them that we love them enough to hear whatever they had to say, and to help them find a way to correct their mistakes.
  2. Forever Disabled ?

    by Amanda When my daughter, my only child, was 21 she was hit by a car while riding her bicycle. She wasn't wearing a helmet because she was, well, 21. After 6 weeks in a coma, she woke up not knowing who anyone was as well as walking, eating etc. It took her another month before she finally recognized me. I still tear up thinking of that day. The rehabilitation center worked with her to strengthen her muscles, and walk again. My job was to give her that confidence that she could do it. One day I walked into her room and she was crying. She said someone had called her a "forever disabled" girl. She remembered the word disabled and knew it was not a happy word. I told her that people are disabled in one way or another. Even the "normal" people are disabled because their lazy or mean. I finally said "Your not disabled until I say your disabled". At that time her mentality was of a 5 year old. She is now 38 and a Pilates instructor. She said she could do it because she had learned to believe she would.
  3. A Musical Journey

    by Jason As a child growing up my mother got me involved in music. She encouraged me to play the saxophone and enrolled me in private lessons with Mrs. Groom when I was in Junior High School. Mrs. Groom played the clarinet, but the clarinet and the saxophone are very similar instruments. Mr. Barnum was my junior high school band instructor. My first three years of high school I played in the marching band. We went to football games, basketball games and even took a trip to Washington D.C. in 1986 to play in the Cherry Blossom Parade. We visited landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial and the White House. My experience with the saxophone was a confidence builder because it is difficult to read music and master the instrument, but at the same time it's like reading a book; when you play you are "speaking" to yourself and others in the language of music. Today I sometimes play a keyboard and having learned to read music. It helps me lead singing at church.
  4. Confidence Building!

    by Josh My parents were always big on making sure we grew up, did our best, and we're kind to others. Being a child who grew up being constantly bullied, my parents were really big on working on my self confidence. How did I get this? Lots of ways. Community Service- Volunteering in the Community can help children out a lot. Knowing that there little contribution can, in fact, make a huge difference in there community. Join Cadets. Cadets does help one's self discipline, self confidence, and social aspect. Joining Cadets helped me realize that I had friends, and that I was worth something. So, how can parents help there child's confidence? The answer is simple. Engage them, but don't force them, into social and community events. Let them be with friends, and monitor them for signs of bullying. Parents- don't be afraid to step into bullying situations with school administration.
  5. Learning your lessons

    by Donna My child sometimes tries new things and sometimes she doesn't want to finish what she started, so I have taught her that she needs self motivation. I am not going to tell you its ok to stop in the middle or continue, but if you want to grow into yourself and know what you truly like and don't like you should always finish what you started. It will also build a strong work ethic in you. And one day she will be signing autographs for her fans.
  6. Confidence!

    by Kim Being the best parent you can be while doing everything in your power to give your child a stable comfortable home filled with love and good teachings should give a child at least a solid base to feel confident enough to achieve everything that life has to offer to be successful in this life.
  7. Make Them Work For It!

    by Jen My parents made me work for everything I ever had. Be it chores, errands, you name it, I somehow earned everything I had. I even had to pay for my own college. I grew up with the confidence to get any job done, and never felt entitled to anything. We need more of that. We farm. My daughter knows that each day means feeding, watering, mucking out stalls and pens, working with the animals - in -20 or 90 degree weather. As for the crops, she's learning that we're at the mercy of the weather, markets, and suppliers. My daughter is growing up learning how to work smart, but that outcomes may or may not be favorable. She is learning about the environment, computer technology, mechanics, politics, economics, crop and animal management, and how to manage and conduct herself. This is in addition to what she learns in school. How fortunate we are to live this way. One thing's for sure, she has confidence and will never feel entitled!
  8. I'm enough, and so are you!

    by Don I didn't have warm, nurturing parents. I got my confidence from my amazing grandparents. They loved me unconditionally, whereas with my parents--I'd never be good enough. The lesson that has helped me most was from my acting coach (Allan Fawcett) who taught us that you have to go to every audition knowing that "You are enough". You may not be exactly what the job is seeking, but you have to know that you're good enough, no matter who you are. If you don't get the part, it's not that something is wrong with you, you happen to not be exactly what they have in mind. He also taught us, you will always be best at being "yourself". Don't try to be anyone else. Only you can be the best "You"! Maybe it was just an acting class, but the advice has always stayed with me and I have passed it to my children. It's worth mentioning that "integrity" is undervalued. Maintain integrity, and you will maintain "you". In the end, you're integrity is everything--don't jeopardize it.
  9. Show me. Don't tell me.

    by Nancy After my divorce both my 12-yr-old daughter and I were quite devastated. Confidence wasn't anywhere on our radar. Survival was our most important goal. What I didn't realize, however, was that through dealing with my grueling, difficult circumstances. I worked myself almost to death to rebuild our lives emotionally, financially, and physically. But I did it. In addition to getting our lives back, I soon realized that I had another much more important accomplishment. I had shown my daughter what confidence can do for you. I had demonstrated first-hand that you can do anything you need to in life. I had communicated through my actions that you can't use your life circumstances as an excuse for failure...that you control your own destiny. I honestly believe that my daughter is a self-confident young woman now due in large part because I showed her how. At least I hope so.
  10. Yes, No and Discipline

    by Diana My father was a great teacher in our lives. We were 7 women and one brother but he made sure we were not going to grow up becoming vain people. He stressed to us the importance of learning how to say "yes", "NO" and to stand by it. Both of my parents applied tough love to us, but certainly discipline played a great role in the confidence I have today. They were no-nonsense kind of parents and had zero tolerance for excuses. They were demanding and we grew up knowing the importance of doing a well done job or nothing at all. At home, we had to earn everything.
  11. Putting up awards they receive so they can seethem

    by Tamara I was a single mother who went to college and sent both of my children to college. My son has his Theology degree and is currently working on his Masters degree. My daughter is an Elementary teacher. As my children were growing up every A-B honor roll or perfect attendance, spelling bee award or anything outside school for sport or cheerleading was put out or hung up so they could see them everyday and other people could see them and comment on what a great job they had done. Encouragement from myself and others. Positive reinforcement made them want to succeed and keep trying.
  12. A few simple actions will fuel a child's confidenc

    by Judy 2 This is a good topic for me. I was a child with courage, and I wanted to participate in different things. I would make attempts, make a mistake and as everyone has experienced; ridiculed by classmates and at home by my siblings. I signed up to play baseball, my parents ran a business and I understood they worked long hours. I asked them to stop and watch me play. Mom didn't drive, she was dependent on dad, but they did stop by. They were there maybe 10 minutes, I was so thrilled, but when I looked and they were gone, I felt like I was unimportant. Parents send the message, you're important. Attending events to cheer the child on, says: you're important. Teaching children right from wrong, and teaching them how to deal with bad people, how to win with integrity; says, you're important and able to deal with and overcome bad situations. I will add, parents don't know everything. They are an imitation of their childhood. You may have to learn how to do the right thing on your own.
  13. Confidence is Learned

    by Karen I believe that confidence is learned when a young child feels valued. It is learned when you support failures as well as success. Think of it like this: you clap your hands when your baby stacks a block tower, and laugh with her when it falls. As they grow, children are influenced by others, but a youngster who knows unconditional love and support has a solid foundation. And we must value our children for who they are, not who we want them to be.
  14. Love language

    by SK If my inner child were to speak up, she would say, "don't blame me for being born. You decided and it was your choice to have me so take responsibility for your choices." There are parents out there that dump their issues on their kids. Many behavioural and emotional problems can be avoided if they learned how to keep them on their own plate and not feed it to their kids. My inner child would also advise," Dont go round making me an extension of yourself for your unresolved dreams and issues, I'm not you're gd show pony. Let me be who I am, you're supposed to help me be that, to help me believe that I'm loveable and worth loving just the way I am. So get your s#%! sorted out so you can help me get mine sorted out because that's supposed to be your job, you bonehead! Now hop to it!" I don't apologise for my inner kid, I make it safe for her to speak up and express herself honestly. Because I let her be seen and heard, which is what also helps children become confident.
  15. what builds confidence in a child

    by Nancy My parents always communicated with us. And trusted us. There was always the utmost respect for them, and a tremendous amount of love. Ive tried to carry on those things with my 3 children as well, and my husband and I have 3 wonderful adult children who are carrying that onto their kids too.
  16. You Can Do Anything

    by Joyce I have 3 wonderful adult kids and 4 awesome grandkids! I believe in building a child up to love who he or she is, then being there to add as many confidence-buildling skills as possible. That means being a hands on parent- not to whine if your child doesn't always win. Life is sometimes not fair-suck it up and try to win at something else. Teach them it's okay to lose, to be curious, open to learning, to get along well with others, that life is good, but you have to hunt for the good, look for the good in others, be a friend, not a bully. Be fair. And YOU be there to walk him through his young life! Teach them to make good decisions, trust in a higher power. It isn't a weakness to say I'm sorry or to ask for help. I think these lessons will build confidence in kids!

  18. Piece of Wisdom

    by Vicky I am a 35 year old woman who lacked confidence as a child. One thing I feel builds confidence is encouragement. Secondly letting a child know they are their own unique individual with strength and weaknesses like everyone else and lastly, they should try not care about what anyone thinks of them.
  19. Programming a Child for Success

    by Amatullah Starting from day one you have to be there for your child, that's where trust comes in.Being able to depend on his caregiver is a must. The child is taught how to do things by himself and learns how to have confidence. Helping him and guiding him along the way reassures him for succcess. Giving him praise and rewards for jobs well done is a must. Always encourage him to do the best that he can even though other others may do things better will help him to understand and accept the fact that he can still be proud of his accomplishments as well as the accomplishments of others. Say words of encouragement, like good job, I knew you could do it, way to go, or I knew you had it in you. Tell them to continue believing in themselves and trying to do the best they can do will pay off. So positive feedback is necessary for your child's success in their many struggles and life events. Instruction and guidance play a big role along the way, in order to build confidence in your child's future.
  20. Building Confidence Through Acrylic Painting

    by John Unlike many other extracurricular activities like sports, dance and musical instruments, there is no right or wrong way to do a painting. Painting builds confidence in kids by empowering them to make their own creative choices. In many ways, painting is easier than drawing, plus acrylics dry very fast, which is perfect for shorter attention spans. Discussing kids' art is the best way to instill this confidence, not to mention the fastest way to get inside their head! As a painting instructor for Space Age Art, I teach the skills (brush techniques, mixing colors) and the kids bring the creativity. I ask open-ended questions beginning with "how," "what" and "why" and support their choices, leaving out any personal preferences. The ability to paint fine details will come over time, but what is most important in young artists is empowerment. Kids who are given the opportunity to make fearless artistic choices will soon see that confidence emerging in other areas.
  21. 3 different individuals

    by Karen I have three kids that are grown now: 2 boys 1 girl. I have always participated in their interests. I always gave them encouragement when they felt they couldnt do it...sports, clarinet, drawing, dancing, etc. Now they are grown and with all I did working with them, they have become positive adults. Yes, at times they don't feel so positive, but I remind them of all they learned and accomplished and that this is a hurdle they can get through again. They think about it a bit, and there they go...confident again.
  22. It's About Acceptance!

    by Susan When a child knows that he is acceptable as himself, he has the beginnings of the courage necessary to do difficult things that build confidence. When a child knows that he is unacceptable unless he becomes someone else, his ability to become confident is under constant strain which may never lift. Each child has a unique combination fo strengths and weaknesses. Knowing that his parents accept him as he is gives a child the confidence to try new things without fear that the result will mean a loss of his parents' love.
  23. How I tried to Build Confidence in my Children

    by Gina We were poor, so I wasn't able to provide my three girls with the best clothes, or the expensive sneakers to bolster their self esteem, so I worked with what I had. I spent a great deal of time with them doing daily tasks, like cooking, chores, and food shopping. I enjoyed their company and they felt good about that. I worked, so they had to help around the house. I taught them to do their own laundry at an early age. One of my girls came home from school amazed at the realization that most of her classmates didnt know how to do their own laundry, and most didnt even have chores! She wasn't resentful, rather, she felt proud that she was so capable! When times were tough, like when our electricity was turned off, I didnt freak out. We played board games by candle light, told stories, ate the ice cream before it could melt, and camped out in the living room, using our body heat to keep warm. I always tried to be optimistic, and I taught them to be resourceful and make the best of things
  24. Give kids the opportunity to build confidence!

    by Jane Most kids are born with some distinct ability for music or sports or mechanical hands on capabilities. Not every parent recognizes these early on in the development of the child. They are pretty much caught up in the cuteness of the kid at first and the annoying traits that show up later, to see how gifted or capable the kid may be. Giving them an opportunity to find out what they are good at by signing them up for little league or dance class or music lessons or ROTC or whatever is the available opportunity in the area beyond the dirt lot will expand their thinking and give them an idea what they are better at than other things. The confidence comes from sharing these things with friends and parents and knowing they support the effort is where the confidence comes in.
  25. Humor as a state of Grace

    by Barbara My father and I always had the same sense of humor. Sometimes, right out of the blue, he would tilt his head back and gaffaw over some off-handed comment I made. We "got" each other that way, it was our special connection. Without having to be something special or excel at anything in particular, my Dad gave me the gift of feeling wanted. He's always enjoyed my company - just the way I am. Nothing can take that away.
  26. My son-terror, separation, love, praise,confidence

    by Retired Military Woman I was active duty when I had my son. He was only a few months old and he had had a few surgeries already for problems when he was born and.. then war broke out and I had to leave. My son had bad separation anxiety. He was just a baby. He screamed and screamed and the doctors could not help. I came home from war -- injured, disabled but alive. I spent a lot of time with him as we both recovered. I loved him and loved him. I hugged him a lot. I praised him when he learned something. I gave him space to learn things on his own. I encouraged him. He eventually grew up. He played hockey. He played football. He plays electric and acoustic guitar. He has been with the same girl since they were 16. He cannot have children but he has pets. He loves and he is confident even with his disabilities. He works as an assistant head chef. He is my son. His life was hard at first but he is now a confident adult ready to face any challenge. I am his mom and I am proud of my son.
  27. Encouragement

    by Courtney Definitely encouraging your child's natural abilities boosts their confidence! My parents always encouraged me to do what I was good at and what I loved doing, even though I had my hands everywhere from art to robotics to geology. I loved doing a lot of things, and still do. My parents encouraged my art and now I'm having people ask for some of it. They encouraged my interest in geology, I always come home with rocks and a story behind each one. My parents let me go to science camp, and I built a robot that beat all the other robots. They were always behind me with whatever I wanted to do, every step of the way. Knowing that my parents believed in me was a big boost to my confidence, and I'm so thankful that they were, and still are encouraging my passions.
  28. What Builds Confidence in a Child?

    by Karen I grew up where my mother is the dominant figure over my father and my paternal grandmother. It was a horrible childhood I had growing up with quarrels, yelling and disrespectful behaviour towards the passive family members, including myself. I was less than 10 but saw it all. I was also a recipient of her verbal and physical abuse when I chose to play more than to memorise my timetables each day. Then we relocated and I changed school. Since then confidence in myself deteriorated and my grades plummeted. I grew up in a negative world around me and learnt neither affection nor respect. When I graduated from high school, my lack of confidence in myself did not help me hold onto a job. Not that I was a bad employee, I never felt good enough for the job. It was not until my late 20s that I gradually learnt self respect and broke free from those lies. So what is the greatest gift a parent can give to a child? Showing by example an effort to love one another.
  29. Only and Lonely to Confident and Cheerful

    by Felice My mother passed away when I was just about 2-3 and it was my father and grandmother who raised me. I was an only child. During my childhood (the mid 60's-70's) Englewood, NJ had it's share of racism and being a child of mixed descent I was "an only child and lonely" because others (children) made me feel I didn't fit in. When I was in tears my father would ask "why are you crying"? And when I told him, he'd say "do you want to know a secret"? "Yes" I said... and he told me "Don't you know that you're special and you can do anything that you want to do"! And I felt better. He would say - "do you know what your name means, Felice? It means happy and that is what you will be all your life; and if you want, you can make others happy too! So when others try to make you sad, remember what your name means and that you can do anything you put your mind to" It's amazing the power a parent has to shape a child's future. I am so very proud to have had such a parent in my life.
  30. Give Children Examples!

    by Linda My parents had very limited educations. 7th and 10 grades. Yet, they believed,, wholeheartedly in education. When I was 17 and working all day in my parent's store and would lay down at night with my feet throbbing....my Mom would say, "Do you want to do this all your life? Get an education! They gave me the example of their hard work but also the confidence to leave my very small town and go to college in New York City. I tried to instill the same sense of purpose in my children - to be confident and gave them a safe place when they failed only to get up and go out and try again....both our sons have succeeded beyond our dreams. It is so important to give them a sense of purpose and the confidence to follow their path, whatever it is. It saddens me to see parents whose children are never at fault, rude in public, no discipline....whatever will their lives be like when it's always someone else's fault.....??? I think rude awakenings are in their future.
  31. Confidence in Children

    by KC My mother and father both had the internal fortitude to allow me to make mistakes and watch me fail if necessary. When done Whatever it was, sports mostly) the emphasis was never on my winning(never) or losing (always) but on the fact that I TRIED. The trying or my participating in anything was supported with enthusiasm no matter what the outcome. It gave me a sense that I would only know what I was good at if I tried whatever I wanted. Sports as it turns out, I'm not good at. An as an adult, I'm ok with that.
  32. A Child's Confidence to Bloom and Become All They

    by Retired Judge I am a retired federal civil rights judge. No one person would have thought that was a possibility for a child raised in poverty, tortured, violently sexually abused and sold for profit into child sex slavery. Why did I survive and thrive against all odds? A deep and abiding belief in a God I knew could not possibly be so cruel, occasional kind words from strangers and Grandparents who attempted to protect me some ten plus years later, and a dream no one could take away from me. Children are fragile but within each child is the ability to dream, to believe in a reality different from the reality they are thrown into, and to keep a dream alive through visualization. When I retired from the bench I wrote my story. For all intent and purpose judges appear to have no past. A child's soul is formidable. Not all receive the nurturing and nourishing that they deserve, yet as a flower grows through the cracks of a sidewalk through angry rain and careless people it still blooms.
  33. Learning to Ride a Bike

    by JoAnne Our youngest grandson, aged 6, was very nervous learning to ride his bike without training wheels. For a week, our daughter, myself and his grandfather ran next to him, catching him when he fell and dried his tears. His big brother, age 8, also tried to help him with his balance. He felt so discouraged for a short time. We all told him never give up, that we believed he could do it. Finally, as with most children, it 'clicked' and he found his balance. The happiness on his face was priceless and I will remember it forever. He told me he loves riding his bike. I am absolutely positive that the entire family working together gave him the confidence to keep trying.
  34. The child centered approach

    by Stacy Ideally building a child's confidence begins before they even come into the world. They will be brought into a two parent loving stable family with lots of extented family with at least a moderate income and live in a safe environment. The parents need to take a child centered approach to raising the child. I mean that you give the child what he/she needs when they need it, as opposed to deciding what you need and trying to make the child do that. Your child can tell you what it needs even before it can talk if you really listen. Hold the baby, sleep with the baby, establish trust. Be there, truly be there, give your children your 100% undivided attention. Go places with them, play with them, color with them, listen to them, don't judge them, use loving limits, children need no and limits, but they need to know that there is someone in this life that is always going to be on their side no questions asked no matter what. BE STRONG, they will test you over and over. It's worthit
  35. Building Confidence For a Lifetime

    by Debra It certainly helps to build confidence if you have a good role model in your life. Mine was my father, and I always wanted to succeed in whatever I attempted from a small age because of the way he taught me. The key is to have someone who will encourage you (or -- as was the case with me when I got a little older & had no one -- to have courage to know you can do anything you want). Part of building confidence is knowing that it is okay to "fail" or not be the best at what you do. Confidence is an attitude that you carry with you throughout your life. If you don't have a role model, find one. I had several good teachers who took an interest in me, and I WENT FOR IT! My goal was to work in The White House and I did achieve that goal. I had a great career in D.C. for 38 years. One last thought. It's okay to be unsure and afraid at time -- that is very normal and part of the "growing" process. I also think that a person who succeeds has determination! Believe in your potential.
  36. Confidence

    by B H What we as parents did to build confidence was this. We gave them a stable home life. They saw respect between my husband and I. They were given chores to do and praised for doing a good job when they did so. And we also let them express themselves to relieve any frustrations. We supported all their class activities, went to see them all their plays and recitals and we even were volunteers in their classrooms. I pretty much think that helped instill confidence in them. I love you Judy! you are so awesome. B

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