Updated: Mar 9
If you want strong, kind, Christ-loving children who don't bully and who aren't bullied by others - check out these four ways to build confidence in your children, while helping them be respectful of others.
#1 . Model Confidence
This, like every other skill we teach as parents, starts with YOU! Since you can only give from what you have, you need to first do a self-assessment: Do you model confidence by attacking new challenges with the belief that you can do it? If you are Christ-Follower, you CAN do it because it is He who lives in you is greater than he who lives in the world AND He gives you strength to do all things (1 John 4:4, Philippians 4:13). This doesn't mean you have to be perfect or not make mistakes! There was only One Person to walk this earth who was perfect and it's not you or me! It is actually HELPFUL for you - and for your children - if you acknowledge out loud when you feel nervous about an upcoming task or event. This way you can further model for them how that fear didn't STOP you from proceeding! It may sound something like this:
#2. Embrace Mistakes and Imperfections
My boys had a soccer coach who always said before games, “We either win or we learn.” (By the way, their Jiujitsu coaches ALSO say this!) This supports the idea of learning from mistakes. As parents, we have the daily opportunity to see mistakes and conflicts as a chance to teach new, needed skills! By US having this outlook, our children have a greater chance of seeing things this way as well. So rather than seeing something as BAD or having to be STOPPED, how about looking at it as something from which we can LEARN and GROW?
Equally as important is helping our children understand that “perfection” this side of Heaven is unrealistic. So we need to help our kids see that whether it’s on TV, magazines, YouTube Videos, or Social Media, the idea that others are always happy, having fun, and perfectly dressed is a destructive fantasy. We need to remind ourselves and our children that being less than perfect is human and totally okay.
#3 Encourage New Things but Allow Them to Fail
Instead of focusing all your energy on what your children are already good at (Whether it is a sport or a subject or a hobby), be willing to expand their (and your?) horizon a bit. Trying new things and learning new skills can help our children feel capable and confident in handling whatever comes their way.
And we MUST know that, while we want to protect our children from failure, trial and error is how we all learn (I'm reminding myself of this right now)! When kids fall short of a goal, it helps them find out it is not the end of the world. Failing can also motivate them to try harder, which is an important skill to have as adults.
#4 Know That "Hurt People Hurt People"
Have you ever heard this saying? Read it again. It’s worth thinking about and teaching to your children to help them have empathy for the “mean girl” in their life. We always have a choice when people treat us poorly. We can think “REALLY? That big jerk!” OR we can think, “They must be having a hard time.”
Everyone knows the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them to unto you (Matthew 7:12). But do we recognize that the world slyly teaches, “Do unto others as they have done to you.” In the moment of retaliation, you may feel good that they got what they deserved, but that is no way to live. Where would it end? Instead, be kind. Forgive. Know that you - and the one who is hurting you - were made in God’s image! Pray for them! And pray to be able to speak with the boldness and truth and love of Jesus Christ.
I pray these suggestions have been helpful for you. If you use any of these ways to build confidence in your children - or have any to add - please comment below!
Some books that have helped me along the way include:
#ConnectPointMoms helps you create stronger relational connections with the children in your life. This starts with being aware of your own stuff so you can BE PRESENT with your children in the moment you're in, and then knowing and using the best ways to communicate with them!