Confidence Begins Year One
Building confidence in children doesn’t start when they’re teens or young adults but instead should be instilled in babies from the time they can understand praise.
Ever since our daughter was born, we noticed her streak of determination. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts my daughter was 6 pounds 3 ounces at birth, but by the time she left the hospital after a few diaper changes, she was 5 pounds 13 ounces or so. So, our little girl is petite and she still remains a mighty strong little package. Despite her size, she’s extremely active and always wants to be on the go.
I walked roughly 40 miles a week throughout my pregnancy until the day before I delivered her on May 12, 2015. Just shy of 13 months later, she’s taking a half-dozen or steps by herself but not yet totally walking on her own, though since she was 5 months old she’s been standing by herself and “cruising” while holding onto the couch, walls, us and anything else she can use to keep her balance. Everyday she’s walking more and more. Every time our daughter takes more steps we praise her and make it a big deal. We clap and say “Yay!” and she starts to clap and laugh, happy at her own progress.
Being novice parents, we’re still learning along side our little girl, but the one thing we do know is that babies respond best to positive reinforcement. We firmly believe in the importance of boosting our daughter’s self-esteem and confidence. While in this day and age some might dispute that this Generation Z is a little too self-absorbed, indulged, and yes, kids receive awards for simply participating, it is vital to long-term success for kids to learn how to lose and that failure, as well as rejection, is a perquisite to achievement.
Dog trainers say that spanking dogs doesn’t teach them anything except to fear their owners. Some child behavioral experts also subscribe to the anti-spanking school of thought. But, disciplining children and various styles is for another article. We believe that positive reinforcement and verbal praise is huge for children, teens, young adults, and even adults of older ages. The damage of constantly harping on mistakes, rebuking, negative words, and hyper-criticism can do more damage in the long run. While some children might grow up to be successful in spite of perfectionist, over-achieving and critical parents, there can be all sorts of ramifications, too.
When it comes to raising little humans, we don’t get do-overs. So, it is our personal parenting style to shower our daughter with as much praise, positive reinforcement, and to let her know when she’s doing a good job. We get so many compliments on our daughter’s disposition. For such a physically small baby she is highly alert, observant, attentive, intelligent, and extremely smiley. She is generally very happy from the time she wakes up until she goes to bed at night. While we are total newbies at this “mommy-daddy thing,” we hope that by boosting our daughter’s confidence it increases her ability to build independence, self-assurance, and trust in her guardians and in her self.
Feeling loved and knowing you’re loved from the time children are babies is so important. It’s my personal belief that it’s too late to wait until kids are older before you try to boost a child’s failing confidence. Medical professionals say that a child’s personality is already formed by the time they are 3 years old. This indicates to us, that the first 3 years of a child’s life is crucial, especially as at the same time their brains have been absorbing knowledge like a sponge. No parent can ever do this “parenting thing” without ever making mistakes, but our hope is that we try to minimize as many lapses of judgment as we can. Because we only get one chance to make raising a little human right and boosting our daughter’s confidence, we feel, is a vital step in the right direction.