Oftentimes, it seems as though our personal journeys towards becoming self confident starts with unpacking the things rooted in our childhood that made our instinct to believe in ourselves dwindle.
As parents, we have the distinct honor and responsibility of raising our kids to become well-adjusted and well-rounded adults. Inevitably, our kids will reach roadblocks or turning points that will shift their opinion of their self worth. We can’t protect them from their first rejection, the first time another kid calls them a cruel name, or the first time they compare themselves to someone they see on social media.
What we CAN do is build a strong, foundational mindset that they can (hopefully) rely on in moments when they feel insecure. Here are some ways to help your kids stay grounded in the truth about who they are.
Representation matters. Give your kids diverse toys, books, games and media. (This includes gender diverse, body diverse, racially diverse and financially diverse options.) Our unconscious biases begin with a fear of what is unknown to us. Insisting on diversity in our kids’ worlds not only allows them to normalize themselves, but also to normalize others who may not look like them.
Allow space for activities and conversations that encourage your kids to become secure in their identity. Ask them what they like to do, what they like to wear, what they like about themselves. Ask them what they know to be true about themselves (“My eyes are green and I don’t like celery!”). Creating a knowledge base of WHO they are acts as a root system for them to refer back to when someone or something comes along to challenge that truth.
This one is for you, Mom. Raising confident kids means that you need to repair your relationship with yourself. Your kids are watching. If they see you looking in the mirror and criticizing the way your tummy sticks out, they will start to learn that certain body types are less worthy than others. If they hear you beating yourself up for a mistake, they will learn that mistakes aren’t okay and begin to think that anything less than perfection isn’t worth much of anything.
In the end, we can only control what we can control. Mean kids in middle school and societal messaging will always be out of our control. But, we can lay the groundwork for out kids to grow into adults who are secure in the truth of who they are and who they want to be.