Saturday, February 28, 2009

Confident Kids - Part 1

From time to time, I like to share this blog with other people and other blogs that have salient points on kids and families. Today, from a website, entitled,, I came by an article on “Raising Confident Kids”. Below is the content of that article in italics, with my thoughts below some of the paragraphs in bold print::

It takes confidence to be a kid. Whether going to a new school or stepping up to bat for the first time, kids face a lot of uncharted territory.

Think back to all of the times that your kids tried something for the first time, i.e. riding a bike, blowing out a candle, talking on the telephone, etc. These first-time events were filled with wonder, stress, and sometimes glee! Of course, the more confident the child, the less stress there will be.

Naturally, parents want to instill a can-do attitude in their kids so that they'll bravely take on new challenges and, over time, believe in themselves. While each child is a little different, parents can follow some general guidelines to build kids' confidence.

Self-confidence rises out of a sense of competence. In other words, kids develop confidence not because parents tell them they're great, but because of their achievements, big and small. Sure, it's good to hear encouraging words from mom and dad. But words of praise mean more when they refer to a child's specific efforts or new abilities.

When kids achieve something, whether it's brushing their own teeth or riding a bike, they get a sense of themselves as able and capable, and tap into that high-octane fuel of confidence.

Building self-confidence can begin very early. When babies learn to turn the pages of a book or toddlers learn to walk, they are getting the idea "I can do it!" With each new skill and milestone, kids can develop increasing confidence.

Yes, starting with small victories and achievements will definitely give rise to bigger and bigger successes for your child. Riding a bike today – designing a car tomorrow!

Parents can help by giving kids lots of opportunities to practice and master their skills, letting kids make mistakes and being there to boost their spirits so they keep trying. Respond with interest and excitement when kids show off a new skill, and reward them with praise when they achieve a goal or make a good effort.

This might be one of the best lessons of all – let your kids fail at small tasks, but be right there to pick them up and get them to try it again! When I first learned to ride a bike with two wheels, I kept falling down – just couldn’t get the hang of it. My dad kept encouraging me; had me get back up and try again and again; and, before too long (although it seemed like a lifetime), I was ready to ride anywhere.

In fact, I was headed for a VERY busy street and my dad thought that I couldn’t stop. No worries, I was successful riding a bike and I wanted the feeling to linger right up until the edge of the busy road!

With plentiful opportunities, good instruction, and lots of patience from parents, kids can master basic skills — like tying their shoes and making the bed. Then, when other important challenges present themselves, kids can approach them knowing that they have already been successful in other areas.

Have you ever wondered why some children are confident to speak up in school and with adults and others stay quiet, - almost afraid to make a mistake? In many cases, the confident child is the one who was allowed to try small tasks; experience success; fall down and get back up; and try harder tasks, all while gaining confidence.

(Please come back next week for Part 2)

Paul W. Reeves

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