Welcome to Parent by Design. I am a Dad to 14-year-old twins, and I'm a Parenting Coach.
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Now, to the matter at hand: the four biggest mistakes I see parents make when trying to help their kids develop confidence and resilience. BTW, I have made all of these mistakes (and more). But, I'm here to tell you that with a bit of knowledge and a plan to help your child, the prize you seek is achievable.
1. parents don't know what resilience is
You can't help your child BE resilient if you aren't clear about what it is. I've been researching how to help my kids be RESILIENT for the last 7 years. This is how I think about it.
Life never works in straight lines.
To be successful at anything, be that at school, in their relationships, or in the world of work, your kids will have to face and overcome many challenges, obstacles, failures and setbacks. The behavioural qualities they will need to do this are:
So, this is what RESILIENCE looks like. It's not just one thing. It is a set of six behavioural qualities that work together. And, to BE truly resilient, your child will need to be capable and proficient in all six.
2. parents don't understand how resilience works
But these six behavioural qualities are only half of the resilience story: the bit you see. But, behaviour is only ever the outward reflection of what is happening inside a person. And it's this 'inside' bit that's key.
As an example, there will have been times in your life when you have expressed these six qualities. You know how to do them, so why don't you always behave that way?
Why is it that sometimes you are BRAVE, yet sometimes, you lack courage?
Why do you sometimes PERSEVERE and other times give up?
Maybe you lack confidence or self-belief. Perhaps you don't see yourself as a resilient person. Maybe, you are scared to make a mistake for fear of failing. Or, you could be holding yourself back from going for what you really want because, deep down, you feel that you don't really deserve it.
This is the most important part of resilience: the psychological-emotional component. It's what determines behaviour in the first place.
If you want a resilient child, you need to help them develop their emotional-psychological resilience and behavioural resilience. They need to see themselves as resilient, to have the self-belief and the self-confidence to express these six behavioural qualities. Their RESILIENCE is built from the inside out.
3. parents try and change their child
Because parents miss this all-important inside bit, they only focus on the outside bit. We all know that resilient people work hard, never give up, finish what they start, have a positive attitude, etc.
And when parents see that their kids lack these traits, they try and force them to behave that way using bribery, consequences or threats. This is justified as 'tough love' or 'character building'. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
When you exert CONTROL using your power over what your child DOES, this comes with a heavy price:
1A deterioration in the relationship you have with them.
2A psychological impact.
It's this second point that is particularly damaging. When you try and change your child, you are essentially telling them that who they are BEING is not good enough.
When this happens, what message is your child getting? What ideas are they internalising about themselves?
The idea is to build their psychological and emotional resilience, not destroy it. I know that we do this out of love and with the best intentions, but it does the exact opposite of what we are trying to achieve.
And you only have to look at your own life to see how this works. The limiting beliefs that have held you back from achieving the things you want, from living life on your own terms, where and how do you think they were created and crystallised?
Yep, in childhood. And, your parents and how they were with you played a huge role in that.
4. parents misunderstand confidence
Confidence comes from the Latin:
If you look at confident people, their confidence is not derived from their competence to perform a task: it comes from inside. Confidence is an INNER STATE they possess.
They know that whatever happens, they will be able to cope. They have no fear or anxiety about that. In short, they TRUST themselves. They thoroughly TRUST who they are.
Therefore, to be confident your child will have to develop trust in themselves. Their confidence will come from their sense of worth and value derived from who they ARE as a person, not what they can DO.
Again I see parents focusing on the OUTSIDE. They value behaviour, results, grades, hard work. And when their children conform to what the parent values, the child receive praise, love, rewards. This is trying to get the tail to wag the dog. It tells the child I value what you do (as long as it chimes with what I want).
You engender self-trust and self-confidence in your child by speaking to who your child is. Not what they do. You do this by helping them to KNOW and UNDERSTAND that they ALREADY have whatever they need inside of them. When they learn to TRUST themselves, this is the foundation for self-confidence and self-belief.
As I mentioned earlier, I have been researching and experimenting with how to help my kids develop these qualities for the last 7 years. And I have put together my best resources to get you started. It's the exact same process that I use to help my kids develop their RESILIENCE and CONFIDENCE.
Anyway, take a look. I think you’ll like it.