How to Build More Confident Kids

Tallahassee Parents,

If you want to raise more confident kids, you have to take them out of their comfort zone.

Do not accept the misleading thoughts your brain fills your head with like ” I don’t think they are ready” or “They need more experience.”

Something to consider; How do you ever know if you are ready or not…until you try. Why are some people more confident than others? Most likely it is due to experience, repetition and learning from failures.

Recently our martial arts academy had a tournament and I witnessed a point sparring match that confirmed my hypothesis. Holding kids back from events and activities until parents think they are ready is not a productive way to raise kids.

A new green belt was point sparring another new green belt at their first tournament. One of the young ladies was taught to come in punching with great speed overwhelming the other competitors and earning points quickly. It wasn’t long when this young lady had 5 points and her competitor was in tears having no idea how to turn this match around. Then it happened…the girl who was 5 points down stuck her leg in front of the puncher before she could get in on her. The match suddenly took a quick turn. 1-5, 2-5, 3-5, 4-5 and so on until time rain out and we were at a tie 6-6, next point wins.

The young lady who was down 5 points had already won in my eyes, because she figured it out a new strategy how to win under duress. She was upset, confused and did not know what to do, but she didn’t quit and started to turn things around.

These are the type of life experiences kids need today for future success. Life seems cruel at times, beating us down when things aren’t going the way we want. Waiting for your kids to become adults and figure this out is not setting them up for success.

Experiencing failure and situations that are not fair slowly build up a tolerance. Eventually these negative experiences will slide off you like water on a freshly waxed car. Kids are built with this type of tolerance, but somewhere parents wash it away. How often do kids ask their parents for something even though the answer is consistently no?

Here are a few ideas to think about when building more confident kids:

  • Am I really protecting my child from a bad experience or am I protecting myself. As a parent as I trying to avoid a negative experience so I don’t have to deal with my child being upset?
  • Enroll your child in activities like team sports, martial arts or other activities where you can find tough but fair coaches who really care for the kids
  • Don’t get caught up in the result, but the effort. Too many parents are more concerned if their child received a fair competition and do not focus on their performance or improvement of their child. No wonder some kids cannot handle losing.
  • Discuss possibly outcomes before your child starts something or makes a decision. Most of the time you have nothing to lose, just give it a try.
  • Be careful how you react and what you say in front of your child. Kids learn a lot of their behaviors from what they observe especially from parents and they are not always good behaviors.

Take a few minutes and think about the “real” pros and cons before you shield your child from experiences. Do not wait until your emotions get fired up or you might be holding them back from the very experiences that are going to make them unstoppable.

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