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Monday, March 28, 2011

Building Self-confidence (By Anshu Basnyat, LCPC)

Building Self-confidence
            As a therapist, when I counseled parents, I used the metaphor of a house to describe effective parenting.  When building a house, you first need a strong foundation then you can work on the interior of the house.  For the purposes of this blog, the love a parent has for their child is assumed.  The principles I have discussed thus far: effective discipline, consistency, positive reinforcement, illusion of control, structure and limit setting are the building blocks of effective parenting as in the foundation of a house.  The interior of the house represent the independent factors of effective parenting, and this can vary from one household to the next.  For example, confidence may be an issue in one family whereas it may not be in another. Therefore, without a strong foundation, you can not fix the individual issues in parenting.
            Self-confidence is directly related to self-esteem.  So what is self-esteem?  It is the way one perceives his or herself internally.  Self-confidence is the external expression of one's self-esteem. Therefore, higher the self-esteem, higher the self-confidence. I have outlined below some of the characteristics in those with high self-esteem and ways to foster high self-confidence in our children.
          It should be noted that a parent's own self-esteem and confidence level has a major impact on their child's.  The good news is, even if you need improvement in the self-esteem area, you can still fake self-confidence! This, of course, has implications in areas such as social relations, work, school, etc. More to follow on this matter in future writings.  Stay tuned!

Definition of High Self-esteem
          Realistic and positive self-worth
          Act independently
          Assume responsibility
          Take pride in their accomplishments
          Tolerate frustration
          Handle peer pressure appropriately
          Attempt new tasks and challenges
          Handle comfortable and uncomfortable emotions
          Offer assistance to others
          All of the above build SELF-CONFIDENCE

Fostering High Self-confidence
          Positive Reinforcement
          Criticize behavior, not the child
          Good communication (active listening)
          Foster new learning
          Be realistic with expectations
          Seek help to treat any problems
          Shared fun/quality time
          Express affection
          Let children learn from mistakes
          Good discipline
          Expect perfection
          Compare with others
          Criticize the child
          Rescue from natural consequences (“helicopter parenting”)
          Blame the child for adult problems
          Assign adult responsibilities
          Bribe your child
          Be disingenuous with praise 

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