Being bullied is horrible, both for the child and the parent. Unfortunately, we can’t stop it from happening but we can enable our kids with confidence so their chances of being bullied are reduced.
When a child (or adult) first walks into a room, that old adage of the first impression kicks in.
A child that walks into a room with confidence is less likely to become a victim of bullying, equally a child lacking in confidence is more likely to be bullied.
If your confident child starts to act in a less confident way, then dig deeper. When my son was a first grader I noticed over the year that he had become less confident when meeting new people. I figured it was an ‘age’ thing but we found out he was being bullied, I think it was connected.
Other than our family’s bullying experience (that I talk about here) I will admit, this is not really my wheelhouse, so I asked a good friend of mine for her help.
Joanna happens to be a confidence coach and asked her to take on the situation. She kindly took time out of her busy schedule to share some tips, you might be surprised at what she has to say…
How to build confidence in your kids: start with yourself.
Confidence: 50% genetic, 10% life experience, 40% learned.
An interesting fact, don’t you think?
That means as a parent we have the power to influence up to 50% of our child’s confidence. Our relationship with our parents, and how our parents act has a significant impact on our early life experiences.
We are influenced by how our parents treat us, and how we see them behave. But as parents, we only know what we have learned from our parents and our life experience. Sometimes that can be limited knowledge.
As a parent, wouldn’t it be great if we learned a little more about confidence, starting with ourselves, and owned that 40% that we can control?
We can use that 40% to learn, develop and grow in confidence, and positively impact our children’s life experiences. We can support our own self-confidence so that we can support our kids.
Confidence is a skill, just like any other. It takes effort and lots of practice to get it right.
Remember when you first learned to ride a bike?
It was pretty scary, right?
You might have even had stabilizer wheels on first to help you get used to it. And then maybe one of them came off, as you got better because you were out practising every day.
Then finally, the last stabilizer wheel came off and you were officially ‘awesome’ at riding your bike.
It’s the same with confidence. You have to practise. But given the impact it has on our own lives and our family’s lives, it’s totally worth the investment. Use these tips for yourself and introduce them to your kids.
5 ways to build confidence:
1. Act as if:
Also known as ‘Fake it till you make it.’
You want to be confident, but you don’t feel it. No matter. Practice faking it. Think of someone you admire for their confidence, and try to emulate it.
It will feel odd for a while, but eventually, you will acclimatize to the new way of being, and it will be the new reality.
Just keep on faking it until you ARE it.
Remember, your child is probably emulating you, so you want to make sure you are acting confident.
2. Practice good posture:
Sit up straight.
Allow your body to relax and be comfortable in this new position.
It takes practice!
Body language is so important in our communication skills. In fact, research suggests that body language accounts for 55% of how we formulate our initial impressions of people (Mehrabian, 1971).
So if you want to be confident, practice getting your posture right, and encourage your child to do the same.
For extra bonus points, practice the “superman” pose for a few minutes every morning and before any important event.
Offer them and accept them.
Giving other people genuine compliments feels good. It makes them feel good and you feel good.
So, don’t hold back.
If you think someone looks nice today, tell them.
If you think your child did a great job, tell them.
And when someone compliments you, accept it. Don’t dismiss it.
Allow yourself to feel how good a compliment feels, and say Thank you. Your kids will do the same.
4. Practice positive self-talk:
Got a gremlin on your shoulder whispering negativities in your ear?
Get rid of him.
Change the tape.
Always remember you have a choice when it comes to thoughts. Just because you think it, doesn’t make it true.
Choose to focus only on positive, supportive thoughts that guide you forward with your life’s goals.
And even if that thought is true, reframe it so that it’s a true thought that you are more comfortable with, and causes less anxiety.
Obviously, this normally happens in your head so it is difficult to share. But tell your kids and what you do to shut up that annoying gremlin because being bullied by your inner gremlin can be just as bad as physical bullying at school.
5. Give yourself permission to make mistakes:
It’s the best way to learn.
Mistakes are a part of life.
Allow for them to happen, because they will… and when they do pick yourself up and try again, try harder.
Some of the most successful people in this world have experienced massive failure too.
It’s all about how you get back up and give it another shot.
Encourage your kids to try things, and allow them to make mistakes too. It’s not the falling down the success of that measure, it’s the getting back up.
Other posts you will want to read if your child is being bullied:
Joanna Bryne is an experienced Business, Executive and Personal coach who helps people get clear, build confidence and take action towards creating a life and career that they desire.
To download her free resource “Be Confident Now” Click here.