Raising Confident Kids

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Discovering the parenting secrets of the happiest people in the world.

In The Confidence Code, the authors discussed how girls are typically less confident than boys by a relative young age. Here is a recap from my review:

There are still a few reasons why your son might develop more confidence than your daughter.

First, your son is more likely to play sports. There has been a big movement around getting girls outside and on the field, and rightfully so. Male’s involvement in sports far outweighs females’ and a sports game is the perfect way to practice losing in a small way. Boys are learning sooner than girls that when the whistle is blown, they can pick themselves back up, have a juice box and cookie, and try for a better outcome the following Saturday.

Second, your daughter is more likely to pick up what you are putting down. Girls begin to catch on to social cues at a younger age than boys. They notice sooner that teachers appreciate quiet and easy students in the classroom and that tones change when you get the answer wrong. These social cues are what make our world function smoothly, but girls are learning first through rewards systems to “sit still” and “keep quiet,” and researchers think that may be one of the initial reasons why we aren’t making it to the C-suite.

So, boys have more opportunities to make mistakes as children and it is serving them well.

So, aside from signing your daughter up for softball, what can you do to foster a more confident child? Because softball, obviously, doesn’t always work.

Tess BB

Well, I am not a parent, so I do not have any pearls or nuggets to provide you with from my personal experiences. But, I have a degree in Human Development and do enjoy reading. And because I have an obsession with Denmark, I was pretty hooked when I saw this headline: Discover the Parenting Secrets of the Happiest People in the World.

In 2016  Jessica Joelle Alexander and Dissing Sandahl wrote The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids.

Here is the Amazon blurb:

What makes Denmark the happiest country in the world – and how do Danish parents raise happy, confident, succesful kids year after year? This upbeat and practical guide reveals the habits of the happiest families on earth. With illuminating examples and simple yet powerful advice, the authors present six essential principles, which spell out P-A-R-E-N-T.

So, today I want to talk about the PARENT model of parenting.

First, what does PARENT stand for?

Play is essential for development and well-being.
Authenticity fosters trust and an “inner compass”.
Reframing helps kids cope with setbacks and look on the bright side.
Empathy allows us to act with kindness toward others.
No ultimatums means no power struggles, lines in the sand, or resentment.
Togetherness is a way to celebrate family time, on special occasions and every day. The Danes call this hygge, and it’s a simple yet meaningful way to foster a close bond.

Play IMG_5311

I think play is really underrated in the U.S. Children are told to play quietly (and play is now often substituted for TV) and to “quit fooling around” when they get older. As we become adults, the idea of playing outside becomes pretty non-existent, so it is no surprise we have a hard time encouraging our kids to do the same.

Authenticity

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While it might be easier to preserve their innocence for a while longer, you shouldn’t be afraid to tell the truth to your children. So, if your kids ask a question, give them an honest answer. I remember distinctly when I asked my dad if Santa is real (spoiler alert: he isn’t). My dad said “no” and then walked into the kitchen and that was that. I am by no means suggesting being harsh or burdening your children, but some honesty will help them become more resilient and have more realistic expectations.

Reframing 

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Is the glass half-full or half-empty? The authors suggest connecting with your child and lightening the situation with humor – something we do often in the Meyer family.  The authors also caution labeling children with negative traits. Instead, separate the behavior and the child – i.e. you child isn’t lazy, he is acting lazy. Side note: this probably should be applied to your spouse as well.

Empathy

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A younger sibling really helped me learn how to take another’s perspective. But as a parent, it is important to remember that children don’t always know what is happening in their bodies and minds and what they are feeling – let alone how to vocalize that in a coherent way. Soon after my brother was born, I cried to my to my mom, saying this body part hurt and that body part hurt. She soon realized that I was trying to communicate that my feelings were hurt. At three, I was having a hard time sharing my parents’ love with the squirmy, snotty, 10-pounder that was my brother.

No Ultimatums 

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Ultimatums halt the progression of a conversation. Someone wins and another looses, and if one player is always coming out on bottom, then some resentment is bound to be fostered. As a parent, maintaining a calm and authoritative manner, without shouting or hitting, is key. Try a “Yes, but” or “Yes, and” approach. If your child is asking for a cookie, instead of saying “No” try her with a “Yes, but after you eat your dinner.” Same goes for “Yes, we can go to the pool, and after we are going to take a bath.” This is another one we should all take into our other relationships.

Togetherness

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Having dinner together, playing board games, or just chatting while cell phones remain in pockets are a few great ways to foster togetherness. Make it hygge by lighting some candles and baking some cookies together. Cue The Parent Trap.

-TM

What are your thoughts on the PARENT model? Let us know below.

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4 thoughts on “Raising Confident Kids

  1. Jeanette

    Lived the blog and tripping down Memory Lane with the photos. Sorry you found out so abruptly about Santa. But, hey, you were 14….😄

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nicholas Kelly

    Great post! I like the PARENT guildlines! Creating a healthy environment yields the best results.

    I’ve also read and heard that treating a child more like an adult – rather than like a child – helps build reasoning and accountability skills at an early age. Which in return facilitates better desicion making. A, R and N touch on that briefly.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Nicholas! Yes, child speak really isn’t all that great for children! It is more about finding balance in their lives, where they can be playful and understand some aspects of the world. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Like

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