Recently, I conducted a poll in my Facebook group, asking parents how strong their own levels of self-belief were.
The results were startling – a significant 52% of the respondents stated that they only sometimes believed in themselves, and a whopping 36% revealed that they had little to no self-belief.
This means that a staggering 88% of parents surveyed, carry the weight of self-doubt on their shoulders as they navigate the path of parenthood.
It’s not surprising, the prevalence of kids developing a flawed sense of what self-belief means. The perception that having self-belief equates to arrogance or thinking you’re better than everyone else can deter us from nurturing our own positive self-image. In this blog post, I will delve deeper into the importance of building self-belief in ourselves and our children, as well as debunking common myths about self-confidence.
Looking at things from the perspective of our children…
I’ve been having some really thought-provoking conversations with the kids in our Connected Kids Academy. Every single one of our members said they see kids at their school, walking around “showing off” acting like they are the king or queen of the playground reigning terror on their peers. Every single child had either experienced or witnessed these same kids putting down others (teasing, bullying or just being mean).
We talked about the perception of these alpha kids and how they are sometimes considered by peers to be the ‘cool’ or ‘confident’ or even ‘popular’ kids.
It quickly became apparent that the behaviour of these top-dogs is often not really cool. This lead to a discussion about confidence so we took a closer look. It was a real eye-opener for our kids that when we scratched the surface, it revealed that all the pomp and bravado in the school yard was in fact a façade for what lay beneath.
Insecurity and poor self belief!
You’re probably familiar with the phrase “Hurt people, hurt people”.
The situation playing out in schools is a perfect example of this. The kids going around making life difficult for others are most likely not very happy within themselves.
Now, that’s not to say that every child with low self belief behaves in this way. There is a range of ways people cope with self belief issues. In fact the kids in our Connected Kids Academy, are kind, brave and friendly towards others even if they identify as having low self belief themselves.
Their own low self belief shows up in different ways though. They might be highly self critical and hard on themselves (did anyone say perfectionist???). They might avoid situations altogether because they are filled with self doubt or they may worry a LOT and replay mistakes or failures over and over in their heads.
Either way low self belief is NOT fun.
It robs the joy right out of our kids’ life!
In the 90’s and early 2000’s there was a push to teach self confidence – it pretty much equated to kids getting stickers for every effort they made, giving “positive reinforcement” (via charts and points), everyone is a winner (participation trophies) and teaching kids “You are the BEST”. I literally sat in a school assembly (in around 2015) listening to a class of children singing a song with the lyrics “I am the best”, shaking my head thinking, this is so far off the mark of developing confidence and self-belief.
Self- belief is NOT about being the best, better than all the rest (thanks Tina).
Self-belief is understanding our own set of unique traits and abilities that make us who we are. It is accepting our strengths and our weaknesses and showing self-compassion. It is having the confidence to suck at some things and ask for help and feedback. Self-belief means not having to pretend to be something you’re not. Self-belief allows you to feel good about yourself without having to bring someone else down. Self-belief is having personal boundaries, morals and conviction to uphold them. It is caring about others, but caring about yourself too.
Many parents are then left wondering “How do we then instil self-belief in our children, when we may lack it ourselves and we come from such a self-deprecating culture?”
Let’s take a look at how Self Belief develops throughout a child’s life.
Fortunately, we can strengthen our self-belief like a muscle. Similar to any other skill, it is entirely learnable and can be improved with practice.
In fact, there is no need to wait until we are a shadow of our former confident toddler selves. By teaching children specific skills and strategies, we can help them cultivate their own self-belief.
How We Develop Kids’ Self-Belief- Unlocking Your Child’s Inner Potential
The 5 Pillars of Self-Belief
1. Improving self-awareness
We begin by closely examining how your child perceives themselves. This offers them the opportunity to explore their inner self and gain insight into their true identity. Our team assists children in recognizing their distinct set of qualities, talents, strengths, and weaknesses. We encourage them to acknowledge areas in which they may not excel and accept them as opportunities for growth, should they choose to pursue them.
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2. Recognising thoughts and challenging them
We promote positive self-belief in children, by helping them identify negative thought patterns they may have developed and how these patterns affect their feelings, behaviours, and experiences. We teach them two strategies to manage unhelpful thoughts that may pop up in their minds. Through our collaboration with parents, we encourage children to seek new opportunities and explore various activities, providing them with the necessary support and resources to overcome their discomfort in challenging situations. Embracing the discomfort of being a novice in new activities and not knowing how to do things well fosters valuable experiences that contribute to becoming successful lifelong learners.
4. Learning perseverance
We nurture a growth mindset in children, instilling in them the belief that they can improve through effort. By developing this mindset, children are more inclined to take on challenges and persist in the face of difficulties. We encourage them to focus on their effort and personal incremental achievements, helping them understand that success is not just about achieving a certain outcome, but also about the journey of personal growth. We teach them how to embrace making mistakes as part of the learning process and view failures as opportunities for learning and growth.
5. Build self-talk and self-nurturing skills
To help foster positive self-talk, we help children develop a specific vocabulary to regulate and encourage themselves, allowing them to overcome obstacles. By fostering intrinsic motivation instead of relying on external validation, children learn to access their inner resources to navigate challenges, which builds their confidence and develops a sense of self-efficacy. With this foundation, children are better equipped to tackle future obstacles and achieve their goals.
6. Seeking and accepting support from others
Knowing when help is needed, and becoming confident to ask for help is an essential part of self-belief. Being open to others’ ideas, perspectives and feedback promotes growth. Combining support from others with their own self-awareness and inner strength to make decisions, take action and grow enables children to reach their full potential.
Believe & Achieve – Self-Belief For Success
As parents, it is our responsibility to nurture their emotional development, we have the power to shape our children’s beliefs about themselves. Developing self-belief in children is an ongoing process that demands concerted effort from parents and caregivers. The benefits of instilling self-belief in children are immeasurable, as it not only shapes their confidence but also fosters a sense of resilience, perseverance, and adaptability.
Encouraging children to challenge themselves, embrace their mistakes, and foster intrinsic motivation to promote a growth mindset requires dedication. However, this can be a challenging task, and seeking the support of a professional can be incredibly beneficial for both the child and the parent. A professional can provide guidance and resources to support your child’s self-belief journey. By investing in our children’s self-belief, we set them up for success and long-term emotional well-being.
Would you like more guidance to make this a priority, empowering your child with the tools and support they need to believe in themselves so they reach their full potential? Take the first step towards your child’s success by clicking here to explore our services.