Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What Do You Do When Your Kid Has Lost His Confidence?

I’m the mother of two teenage boys. The oldest is fifteen and the youngest just turned thirteen. You might think that boys this age would have as much confidence as they do appetites—which is HUGE, I might add. But, like any kid navigating through childhood and adolescence, their level of confidence ebbs and flows—and usually is dependent upon SOMEONE else...or so they think.

The oldest son plays hockey. You would think that after playing for almost ten years, he would be a wealth of confidence…especially now with his teammates and opposing players being as big as refrigerators. These are big boys who play rough. But when he doesn’t get ice time during games for whatever reason, he questions his abilities and the confidence that his coach has in him as a player. Game after game, this can spiral into a pretty ugly mess. This situation ends up devouring his confidence, making him second-guess himself when he’s on the ice, which results in mistakes—which then creates self-doubt, low self-esteem, etc. This lack of “hockey” confidence then flows to other areas in his life, as I can show you with some of his most recent grades. L

Watching a son or daughter lose their confidence is heart-wrenching. We want to pick them up, dust them off, and kiss and hug them until the hurt goes away.

But what’s a parent to do? No matter how much we say, “You’re awesome!” our words fall on deaf ears. He knows we think he’s awesome – he’s our kid! We aren’t the ones who can mend this situation.

And I’m here to tell you that it’s not the coach who can mend it either.

Wait. What?!?!? I can see your eyes bugging out. Wasn’t I leading you to believe that? Tricked ya!

Nope. It’s our son – or in your case, your son or daughter.

Confident kids bounce back after being beaten down…but only when they finally realize for themselves that they have value and worth. Sure, it helped that we gave praise, reminded him of past successes, and the fact that he got more ice time.  But it was really him that decided that he wasn’t going to be broken anymore.

Here are some traits of confident kids:
  • They take risks.
  • They use unsuccessful attempts (notice I didn’t say failures) as learning experiences.
  • They work hard.
  • They expect to do well, but don’t cave when the result turns out differently than what was expected.

We all “lose” our confidence at times. But really, it’s not lost. It’s there…we just have to remember that we are valuable and have worthiness.

What are some of the ways that you help boost your son’s or daughter’s confidence when they appeared to have lost theirs?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Book 2 in Becoming a Better You! series update

We've been asked when to expect the next book in the series, Are You Respectful Today?, and we're proud to say that the book will be going to the printer tomorrow! Our illustrator Jeff Covieo did another outstanding job bringing our words to life.

We've been blessed with wonderful words about the new book. You can read them over at The Corner on Character blog.

We've finished the text for book 3, Are You Empathetic Today?, and the illustrations have already started. We can't wait to share this entire series with you!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Confidence vs. Cockiness (psst...we really don't like that word, but...)

Our marketing rep told me that at a conference, while looking at our book Are You Confident Today?, a mother stated, "My child doesn't need any more confidence. He's already too cocky."

Upfront, please know we don't like that "c" word - and I'm obviously not talking about "confidence"!

When I heard those statements, I immediately scrunched my nose and said, "What? Too much confidence?"

But it brings up a really good point...when does confidence become cockiness and how do we, as parents, make sure our kids are grounded enough to know the difference?

My older son plays hockey. He's always had natural talent, but has worked really hard to hone his skills. Over the years, my husband and I have watched parents build their kid's ego up, oftentimes to the detriment of the player's attitude and work ethic. By the time the player gets to high school age, his self-perception of his skills is so elevated that even teammates don't want to hang out because "he's such a jerk" and coaches have a hard time getting him to comply with the system (way the coach wants a particular play to go.)

It's hard enough making and keeping friends; why would parents want to put their kid at a disadvantage by creating an ego monster? And, aren't coaches like future bosses? I highly doubt parents want their child to be unsuccessful in the work environment.

We've never been over-the-top parents. We compliment on hard work and question when things didn't turn out as expected. With the amount of time, money, and energy that goes into nurturing a hockey player, we do expect him to do his part. With a good combination of praise and questioning, I think we've help to create a balanced attitude in our son.

Building a healthy self-esteem and providing opportunities to build confidence are key components of a parent's role in raising a child. If your kid really has too much confidence, to the point that he/she is not accepted by his/her peers, it might be time to look at ways to gently rein in his/her ego.