Gina Otto, author of Cassandra's Angel and international children's advocate, provides the following five tips on how to raise confident, self-assured children based on the experience she gained during her 15 years spent speaking with and learning from children firsthand.
1. Your Actions and Behaviors Matter
Your children are learning from you every minute of every day. If you are treating them with respect, listening to them, giving them good boundaries and providing them with a safe environment, they will learn to be respectful, communicative, thoughtful, and conscientious children who are willing to try new things and take healthy risks.
2. Choose Your Words Carefully
It is very important to take care with the words we use. We must make a conscious choice to differentiate between telling a child he made a mess and that he is a mess.
3. Take the Time to Make it Right
Children are resilient, but they also hold on to messaging they receive. If we have a bad moment and scold our children too harshly or perhaps say something that we wished we hadn't, it is important to set some time aside to address the situation later. A short apology or explanation as to why we got so upset helps the child to understand that there are ways to repair a difficult moment and helps him to better understand the arts of taking responsibility and being a good communicator.
4. Above All Things, Love
You can never, never, never love or encourage your child too much. Children today receive so many messages from outside sources, (the media, friends at school, online influences, bullies, etc.) often they will receive several negative messages in a day. Home is often their "safe place" where they get to refuel and go back out into the world the next day. Take every opportunity to reinforce positive messaging and reassure your children that everyone has challenges and that you are their biggest champion and supporter.
5. I've Been There, Too...
Children often think that they are the "only one" to have ever experienced a specific situation..."Everyone has friends but me," "Everyone is smarter than me," "Everyone gets to ____ but me." It is important to share stories with your child about your own experiences or others you know who have gone through similar situations. As humans we are attracted to characters with resiliency, we overcome our own challenges by knowing that others have done so before us. Those characters become our life-heroes. Perhaps you are a life-hero to your child. She will appreciate knowing that you "got through" some bad times and your encouragement will help her to do the same.
Gina Otto, the award-winning author of Cassandra's Angel, international speaker, producer, social entrepreneur, and children's advocate, is currently pioneering a movement to inspire individuals around the globe with her Change My World Now Initiative. Gina is the founder and CEO of Gina's Ink, a mission-driven media and entertainment social enterprise designed to create a movement for self-esteem, leadership, and self-acceptance that empowers children around the world.
Otto will launch Cassandra's Angel with a national bus tour this fall. Get more info on the tour's Carle Place and Garden City stops in our Calendar section.