Confident moms raise confident kids, says an author and expert

“How did you become so confident?” That’s the question I was constantly asked by women after the publication of my first book, The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is You. In fact, it inspired me to write a second book dedicated specifically dedicated to inspiring readers to Claim Your Confidence.

Confidence is an inside job. When you start looking externally for someone to give you a gold star, you have given your power to someone else. How can you be confident when you aren’t in control of the narrative of your own story?

As a mom of three kids ages 7, 9 and 11, I am constantly looking for opportunities to empower my children to build confidence. It isn’t always easy to stand by when something isn’t working out well for your kid. Our instinct is to jump in and make it better, to push away anything bad that could possibly happen to them. However, the more we empower our children to practice their ability to overcome challenging situations on their own, the stronger and more confident they will become as they grow up. 

Don’t get me wrong: It’s important your kids know you’re always there to support them, but it’s equally important to push your kids to try things that seem intimidating, whether socially or physically, in order to help them develop the skills that will help them to become more confident throughout their life. As a parent, the more we foster resilience and independence, the more our children will feel empowered to create a life path that will fulfill them.

In the wise words of Maye Musk, “a woman makes a plan.” Here are a couple of tips I’ve learned to help you inspire your children to claim their confidence.

3 tips from a confidence expert on raising confident kids

1. Model positive behavior

As a mom, I think a lot about how to model positive behavior for my children. By messaging that and displaying it in our life, our children learn how to do it for themselves.

I learned this lesson in my early 20’s when I was recounting a story to my boss about some drama happening in my personal life. In my opinion, I was clearly in the right and the four people I was talking about were not. My boss listened to me before saying,  “You know, Lydia, I like to think that if you have one argument over the course of the day, it’s 50/50. If you have two, you should probably look in the mirror.” Ouch. She was right. In the words of Taylor Swift, I’m the problem, it’s me. 

I think about this anecdote constantly as it pertains to the way I am interacting with other people, especially with my children. We can choose to flip any situation that arises and find the good—or we can choose to find the bad. 

Positivity is a choice. 

On days when it seems like everything is going wrong—I’m irritable with the kids, I’m annoyed by little things that are taking place in conversations—it’s probably me. Conversely, if one of my children is arguing with their siblings, I pose the same question. Who is the problem here? Usually the one starting the argument.

2. Never give up

A few months ago, my son came home from his squash tournament looking a little sheepish. “How did it go?” I asked as he walked in the door. I knew the answer from looking at his crestfallen face. 

I asked him to sit down on the couch with me as I read him the chapter from my book titled “Never Give Up”. There’s a story where I recount four years in middle school when I played on three sports teams that never won a game. Volleyball, basketball, track. We were crushed by the larger schools every time. For four years. There is no Hollywood ending to this story. We lost and we lost big. As a child it was crushing. As an adult, I realized it taught me the importance of just getting in there and trying, no matter the outcome. As I read the chapter to my son, both of my daughters came to listen too. As I finished the chapter there was silence before my son piped up, “So you were just a big loser.” I laughed out loud. I was, in fact, a big loser, but that made me a great loser, too. I learned to lose with grace and, more importantly, how to try no matter what the obstacles every single time. It’s OK to lose. The more important thing is that you tried, and that you never give up on yourself.

3. Claim your own confidence

Make no mistake about it. Confidence is learned, not born. An interesting thing I’ve noticed when I do book signings is how many moms stop by to pick up The Most Powerful Woman in the Room is You for their daughters. When I suggest they read it first, I will hear things like, “Oh, I’m a lost cause.” Interesting, right? You want your kids to have something you haven’t quite claimed yourself. 

Our children watch our every move. They watch how we treat ourselves, how we value ourselves and how we talk about ourselves… and they do the same. 

If you want to have confident kids, make sure you are working on confidence yourself. 

Don’t hide failures in your own life; show them you are unafraid to try new things. A child with a confident parent will follow their lead. 

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother’s journey is unique. By amplifying each mother’s experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you’re interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.

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