C for Confidence

How can I build my child’s confidence?

How can I promote my child’s confidence and self confidence. My child’s lost their confidence – how can I help them get it back? What do I need to do to make my children more confident? That’s what parents ask me. We all want our kids to be more confident. Not worry. We want them to be able to face new challenges with confidence, get through things, and bounce back if they stumble. And that's, after happiness, confidence is the biggest thing that parents talk to me about.

But what is confidence? We can’t build confidence until we know what confidence is and where it comes from. Confidence building activities for kids won’t work if you and your child don’t what confidence is.

We've all got a different understanding and a different view of what confidence is. So there are as many different definitions of confidence as there are dictionaries in the world and we all have a different picture and different understandings of the word confidence. But most of us think that confidence is a thing, don’t we? We use that phrase a lot at the moment. ‘I didn't even realise it was a thing.’ Now they're talking about something, something new like a branch and I didn't even realise it was a thing. 

But we treat confidence like it's a thing and that we've lost it. So I’ve got my glasses on today. So we treat it – confidence - like a pair of glasses or a key that we can lose. We treat it like an object. But it's not an object is it? It's a feeling. So why do we feel the way that we do?  If we don't understand where our feelings come from we can’t explain that to our kids? How can we expect them to be able to master their feelings or choose their feelings if we can’t? So how can we expect them to be confident if we can't explain it to them correctly? What confidence is – we can’t do that, can we? 

Confidence is a feeling, not an object. So where do our feelings come from? So I was brought up to believe that the weather determined our feelings, or that traffic jams make us angry. And when I was younger the bullies made me feel like I wasn't good enough, or that the girl accepted my invitation to go on a date. And when she did, if she knocked me back, if she declined the date then that would change my feelings. We were brought up in the understanding that not actually expressed, that feelings come from what's going on in the world. And that makes made me, a victim of circumstance until I got into understanding what this is all about. Understanding where feelings come from and the fact that feelings are an inside job. They come from us, not to us.

And a couple years later, I started sharing this with kids, the idea that feelings come from thoughts. But it's so ingrained in society and in our heads that the outside world determines our feelings. Right now you're probably thinking, Simon’s got it all wrong. Well, how does your favourite memory make you feel? 

How does something that you're looking forward to after lockdown finishes, how does that make you feel? You see, our feelings come from our thoughts. Confidence comes from our thoughts, you know. If we're feeling we're lacking some confidence that we've got thoughts such as I can't do this. I'm not good enough. I'm not able. I don't have the skills to do this. I don't have the skills to make my child more confident. I don't have the knowledge, don't have the time, and all sorts of different things. But they're all thoughts about a lack of confidence. And if we're thinking those thoughts, then we'll get the feelings that go with them. And we're going to feel a lack of confidence. So my work with kids is helping them see that for them themselves. And they see it very quickly, funnily enough. And my work with parents is helping them see that for themselves. 

Because if you think, like I used to do, that the outside world determines how we feel and our level of confidence then you are, like I was, totally disempowered. You can't do anything. You're waiting for a sunny day to let out the feeling of happiness. Now let me ask you a question. Have you ever been upset on a sunny day? And have you ever been happy or not on a rainy day? My guess is your answer to that question is yes. And that's because our feelings only ever come from our thoughts. They don't come from the weather or any external circumstance whatsoever. So I'm going to leave you with that thought of that question. Have you seen a glimpse of the fact that your feelings come from the thoughts? Maybe like me when it was the memories thing that really triggered that insight within you.

 

Has that given you a fresh insight into how to build your child’s confidence? Not boosting their confidence for the short term but sustainable confidence for the future. I hope so. Because building children’s self-confidence is vital for their self-esteem.

Simon Benn Children's Happiness Expert

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