Raising confident children

Confident kids ... I can tackle anything you throw at me.
Confident kids ... I can tackle anything you throw at me. 

We all fall victim to low self-esteem from time to time. Moments in our lives when we question our ability or self-belief are unfortunately part of the journey for all of us.

Fighting past that feeling of awkward inability or the sudden panic attack that might have us believing we are not good enough, smart enough, athletic enough, or pretty enough can be a difficult process.

Even the most outwardly confident of us suffer the nerve-wracking side effects of that psychological condition that undermines our most steadfast intentions.

Like the time someone put me in front of a camera during live flood coverage last year expecting an enlightened discussion on natural disasters in the age of social media.

Nerves replaced any self-assurance that might have dwelled inside me as each word I uttered seemed to echo in my head and the seconds ticked by like hours.

Despite the belief I have a very healthy self-confidence, I too have had to confront the demon of insecurity coupled with moments of self-doubt.

As adults, wisdom and life-experience make the task of fighting off those negative thoughts a little easier, but for children confidence can be shattered by what might seem like the most inconspicuous action, thought or criticism.

Building that confidence back up again is a delicate procedure and sadly, at times a loss of confidence can be debilitating for a child, sometimes resulting in behavioural problems, poor grades or difficulty interacting on a social level.

My children have always displayed a healthy level of self-assurance. They have made friends easily and been reasonably popular amongst their peers.


They each have areas in which they excel, be it athletic ability, creative flare or academic achievement - although both are very different from each other.

They also have their unique ways of sharing that confidence with the world, and have managed to carve out their own little identity or self-image.

I would suggest neither of my children are the shy type, however, with the move to a new school just around the corner, it seems we may be experiencing our first real encounter with self-doubt.

The tears and tension have already started as they question their confidence and ability to make new friends and find their feet in an entirely new environment.

The fear stems largely from a need to be accepted – will the other kids like me? Will I still be the fastest in my class? What if the teacher doesn’t like me?

Some people bully others to direct the focus away from their own lack of confidence, others play the comedian, hiding behind jokes to avoid any honest self-analysis.

I just hope my children are brave. I hope my praise and words of encouragement and the good sense I have endeavoured to instil finds its way to the surface when they need it most.

Next week will be tough for all of us - your advice is most welcome.

You can join Dirty Laundry on Facebook or follow the discussion on Twitter.

-This article orginally appeared in Life & Style