When I was about 8 years old, my family fell into hard times, of course, I really didn’t know what that was, all I knew was, I suddenly wasn’t getting pretty dresses and I had to wear some hand-me-downs, and also, I knew that some other uncomfortable changes were made in the house as well. Believe it or not, this affected how I interacted with other kids and my overall confidence as a child.
Thank goodness, my mum was very perceptive and she began to do specific things that changed how I saw myself and how I interacted with other kids, even way before our economic situation took a turn for better. What did she do?
She helped me realise I had a choice and this built my confidence back. Even with the things she got for me, she would ask about what I thought and what I liked, you can bet this helped in my interaction with other kid.
We didn’t have much but she deliberately began to invest in quality kids clothing. She would come home with a dress today, a sandal tomorrow, at least, until we could afford to really go shopping as we used to. First, this made me feel like I was getting gifts, which made me feel loved but it also made me feel so happy. A child dressed in beautiful comfortable clothing is a happy and confident child.
She made it a point of duty to never compare me or my siblings to each other or to other kids. She let us know in words and action that each of us was amazing and we could get better every day, in what we knew and in how we behaved. So let’s just say, when my dad walked us to school, instead of driving as he used to, other kids’ teasing didn’t matter so much anymore.
NO INSINCERE PRAISES
Whether adults believe it or not, kids are great at detecting insincere praises. My mum would celebrate us when we did amazing things but she would call us out when we misbehaved. What this did for me was, it made me know I wasn’t perfect and so it took away the pressure of unrealistic self-expectation from my young shoulders.
She ensured we spent quality time together, sometimes she would take me to the kids’ store with her to pick out a dress I liked. I see now that it was a sacrifice for her but this helped us talk more, reinforced the lesson that I had a voice and built my confidence. I learnt to express my opinion and say “no”, and I had lots of fun with my mum in the process.
I have learnt from experience and research that building a child’s confidence is a daily journey that can be achieved with little things. So even as we eat, gist and shop with our kids, let’s take those little moments to teach and boost their self-confidence. Happy confidence building!