July 29, 2017 by imhavingadadday
Today’s world can be an unrelenting force. It was hard enough back in my day; before social media, before cell phones, and before pop culture and criticism followed you around unremittingly. When I was growing up, if somebody wanted to get in touch with me they would call the house phone, my mom or dad would answer, give the phone to me, and then an actual person on the other line would have to use their voice to speak directly to me. For kids in today’s world, insults and criticism are merely a click of a button away from being shared with the rest of mankind, with zero social interaction required. “Traditional” confidence crushers are still around, and as social media becomes engrained in children younger and younger, the importance of a parent in developing confidence in their child from an early age is unparalleled.
I am a dad to a beautiful, proud, self-assured sixteen-month-old girl. She could walk naked in Times Square and would proudly rub her big baby belly, smile, and wave to every person who’d look her way. There’s something magical about that childhood innocence, and how they truly, genuinely love themselves. Unfortunately, the world will do it’s very best to stamp that out of them. It will try time and again to instill doubt and insecurities root deep and to eliminate any and all confidence that the belly rubbing toddler once had. As a dad to a daughter, I know how important it is (and will continue to be) to build and maintain that confidence from the very beginning. Granted, with such a young child I have yet to go through time and see the reality of dealing with these issues, however, here are a few things that I intend on implementing to try and ensure my daughter and any other children I have develop the confidence needed for a cruel world:
- Love them
Love your kids, and let them know you love them. My toddler is in the “helping” stage right now. Doing the dishes? She wants to help. Putting clothes in the dryer? She wants to help. Eating? Definitely wants to help! I try to constantly praise her for “helping” me, and you can see her confidence building every time she accomplishes something new. It may seem insignificant, but little things like this are great confidence building blocks.
- Teach them independence
There’s nothing like doing something completely on your own to show you that you can really succeed. Showing your kid how to be independent will not only build their confidence, it will prepare them for school, social networking (the real life, face-to-face kind) and eventually their career later in life.
- Allow them to be successful in something
Everybody needs to have something they’re good at. This could be anything, and you never quite know until you let them give several things a whirl. Maybe your child is a great athlete and enjoys playing various sports, maybe they excel in musical instruments, or maybe they’re a talented artist or performer. Not only will being successful at something build confidence, it typically means their social group will have similar values and goals. Having a good group of friends is always a good thing.
- Teach them to own themselves
Remember in the movie “Mean Girls” when they are trying to sabotage Regina George’s “cool” image by cutting holes in her shirt? Regina shrugs it off, confidently carries on to class, and the next thing you know, every girl in school has cut holes in their own shirt to be just like Regina. It’s all about owning who you are, and having the confidence to not worry about what everybody else is doing. From an early age, show them that they are their own person, and that they can be anybody they want to be. Being “cool” is not about what shirt you wear, but more how you wear it.