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What is Your Child's Self-Confidence IQ?

Sep 5, 2008
Self-confidence means different things to different people. Some believe self-confidence is a "can-do" attitude that shows no vulnerability, uncertainty, or self-doubt. They believe one simply goes out and gets things done without regard to how she feels. Others say true self-confidence means you can be honest and show your vulnerability and still be confident. They believe that if you're truly confident, you don't need to hide your vulnerability and your humanness.

Definitions of self-confidence I found on Wikipedia include self-assuredness in one's personal judgment, ability, power, sometimes manifested excessively; self-esteem; a measure of belief in one's own abilities; self-acceptance.

My personal definition of self-confidence is having an inner relationship with yourself that allows you to express yourself honestly and authentically out in the world without waiting for or having external approval from others. Being self-confident means having positive approval and appreciation for yourself. It means trusting yourself.

No matter what your definition, we all agree that self-confidence is an essential component for children's success and enjoyment of life. Self-confidence is one thing we all want for our children.

There are indicators you can watch for that your child doesn't feel self-confident. These may include being clingy and needing lots of parent or teacher attention, unwillingness or hesitancy to try something new, giving up easily, being shy and timid, holding back from participating or interacting with others.

Other possible indicators are being very active and "high strung" in an unfocused, ungrounded way-what is typically identified as ADHD behavior, asking for adult approval or permission, frequent expressions of anger and frustration, being unkind or hurtful of others, frequent crying, tantrums, and meltdowns, defiance and disrespect.

You may believe these are simply childhood misbehaviors that need to be improved through teaching your child right from wrong. What I've seen is that when you empower your child's emotional wholeness your child's self-confidence grows and these seeming misbehaviors quickly improve or disappear.

To nurture your child's self-confidence, you need the confidence, clarity and skills to empower your child's trust in herself. Then she feels confident to take care of herself, to think for herself, and make positive choices for herself. If you focus on teaching and training your child to act better and ignore her emotional well-being, you'll always fall short of what you want for your child.

You can't get where you want to go by focusing on your child's behavior. You need to focus on your child's emotional and spiritual wholeness.

Sometimes parents and educators worry about a child having too much self-confidence. What I've seen is what appears to be too much self-confidence and lack of sensitivity to others is really a lack of self-confidence. Children who are unkind and bully others have dramatically diminished feelings of self-confidence, which they try to cover up by appearing toug, uncaring, and overly self-confident.

When you nurture your child's emotional and spiritual wholeness, you will soon see indicators of your child's increasing self-confidence. Your child will be happier and more independent. He will get along more easily with others and be more cooperative and easy-going. He will be more motivated to create positive experiences for himself and to take action.

The only path to empowering your child to be self-confident is through nurturing her emotional and spiritual wholeness. It is not a learned behavior. It is not something you can teach your child. It is something your child feels on the inside and that is expressed as joy, love, and full self-expression on the outside.
About the Author
Connie Allen, M.A. of Joy with Children. Connie helps parents and educators who are unsure how to best empower their child. . For information on how you can nurture the joyous inner spirit of children, subscribe to her free e-newsletter "Joy with Children". Visit her blog.
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