by Penny Pitassi at 7:25 PM
Last week we discussed past victories as a source of confidence… especially when trying new things. That’s because at the heart of the matter of developing confidence in our kids is the concept of competence.
It comes from a person's inner belief that they can handle and succeed at the things life has to throw at them. You can praise your kids all day long but if they know in their heart that they didn’t succeed or didn’t give their best effort that external praise will not build their confidence or self-esteem. We can give children all the participation trophies and awards and achievement certificates we want… that won’t give them confidence unless they know they did something that deserved to be recognized. We have all received an award or achievement at some point or another that was hollow because we knew we didn’t do anything that truly deserved to be rewarded. Don’t underestimate children. They know the difference too. When they look in the mirror they have to see a lion. If they don’t…. no amount of talking or awards will change how they feel about themselves.
But there is something you can do to help them build true confidence...
Everyone knows that if you become good at something you gain confidence in that area. That confidence carries over into other things in life. Many parents want their kids to experience many different things… and that isn't necessarily a bad idea. However, being a little good at a lot of things doesn’t have the same effect on one’s confidence as becoming really good at one thing.
Well… it doesn't really matter. It could be sports, scouts, a hobby, martial arts, or even music. Your role is to help your child make an extended commitment to the chosen skill or area. After awhile a child we begin to receive recognition for their efforts and their skill. Their friends will hold them in higher regard because of the expertise and competence. Adults will recognize them for their achievements in that area or skill. That in turn will cause them to become more confident. The increased confidence will continue to help them build their competence which in turn builds their confidence. That every increasing spiral of confidence will help them to become more assertive and take leadership roles in other areas of their lives.
This is one of the main reasons we ask students to commit to achieving their Black Belts before moving into Advanced Skills training. We know that a student that makes an extended commitment to something and then masters it over time will develop the competence required to truly gain confidence. That confidence will spill over into every other aspect of their life. Again… it doesn’t matter what a child gains their competence in… but martial arts is especially well suited to this task. Remember… being somewhat good at a lot of things does not produce confidence. Being really good at one thing does!