Confident Parenting – How do we do it?

Being a kid in 2020 is tough, not only because we have and are still in the midst of a once in lifetime pandemic but also because expectations placed on kids seem a whole lot higher than ever before. The 24/7 social media machine never ends and the pressures of school and friendship groups and the levels of anxiety seem amplified compared to when I was growing up.

I was not a confident child. Think somewhat socially awkward, shy, quiet and sometimes quite a sheep. As an adult confidence is still something I need to work on, I’m trying to put myself out there a little more! As a parent I always want my girls to be confident; whether it be sticking up for themselves, finding their own voice to initiate conversations or just having the confidence to give something a go without being scared of failing.

Recently I’ve really started to dig deep and think about how I want to instil confidence in my girls, let me just preface the following list by saying I’m definitely no psychologist – it’s more a list of promises to myself in the hope of assisting my kids in finding and growing their own confidence.

Deeper listening, deeper conversations!
I have been known to be quite attached to my iPhone, I often think about how annoyed I get when I’m trying to have a conversation with someone and all they are doing is gramming on their phone. Actual one on one listening time, not being distracted by devices is key in letting your kids know that you’re listening to every word they are saying, even if the word count is running into the thousands. One of our designated deeper listening times is during dinner, the girls love to recount every single detail of their day and I love hearing all about all the school day happenings.

Stop being a helicopter and allow them to make mistakes.
It’s true we learn from our mistakes, kids need to make mistakes in order to understand those feelings of failure, gain problems solving skills and find the motivation to give it another go. I remember a teacher addressing a parent group at the start of the year saying “if your child leaves their library bag at home they will need to pick up rubbish at lunchtime, we don’t want any parents dropping off library bags to school. Kids must start to take some responsibility for themselves” I totally get this concept now.

Making memories or as Maggie Dent says “Magic moments”
These are those moments that we carry with us from our childhood, those memories about how we felt with our families. What we did together, how it made us feel and what we cherish from childhood. Creating those magic moments doesn’t need to be expensive, it just requires time. We’ve been enjoying the wonder of board games as a family, loads of fun decyphering each others Pictionary pictures.

Be positive even when you’re feeling negative.
Yes, some days we all feel like we’re having a fat day or a pimple invasion, kids are very cluey to pick up on these vibes and off the cuff comments, they also seem quick to mimic us. It’s well worth the effort of shutting down those negative thoughts and actions straightaway, I’m doing away with the time spent in front of the mirror wondering if my butt looks big in my jeans.

Check out the actual experts
My two personal child advice heroes are WA born Maggie Dent and Steve Biddulph. I really align with Steve Biddulph, in particular his “raising girls” book (I’ve heard his “raising boys” is equally as good) he breaks down what you need to know and consider as a parent for each age range. He covers things like what might be going on in your kids’ mind. How they are starting to view the world and themselves and how to empower girls and help them gain confidence. Maggie is an amazing human, with an absolute wealth of knowledge when it comes to anything kid related. Her books are incredibly useful, and she has a very impressive blog on her website that offers loads of free parenting tips and advice.

Maggie Dent live on stage last year, keep an eye on her website for upcoming live Perth events

Do you have any tips of your own? We would love to start this conversation and create a network.

Comment below with your ideads, but in the meantime check out these books from a local Perth author working on mental health in children.