24 February 2012

Confidence

I have always been interested in what makes a person confident or not.  However it is only since I have become a mother that I have realised how confidence grows within us as we are growing up and that the environment we are growing up in has influences this. 

When I was at school I could never understand why some children really wanted to be liked and be part of a group/gang of the 'popular' kids.   I couldn't see what the attraction to this type of person was.  What, of course, I did not realise at that time was that most of those children probably lacked any confidence in themselves and were looking to other children to help them, as their home environment was not enabling their confidence to grow.

Within the world of work, as I was given greater responsibilities, met more and more people with a lack of confidence and usually self esteem I had to manage them with great care and attention.  I misguidedly thought that I could help them to overcome their lack of confidence and build this important skill.  What I did not appreciate is that, although my great care and attention was probably what they did need in a manager, trying to build on their lack of confidence was not something that could be developed that easily.  As we follow our path through life it is harder to build on our confidence if the building blocks for this skill were not started when we were a child.

As parents we are responsible for creating the environment for our children to grow and flourish into adults.  If we expect our child to live up to our expectations of them, please us, or do what we think is right all the time then they will need to take care to weigh their own thoughts and actions which, if they are not sure if this will lead to us being pleased, leads to anxiety and doubt in themselves.  We are placing conditions on our love for our child and manipulating them to behave how we expect them to.

If we love our children unconditionally they do not need to meet unknown expectations or have to guess at what we think is the right thing to do.  We behave how we expect them to behave in front of them, but do not expect this behaviour from them.  In their own time and at their own pace, they will do likewise.  They are safe in the knowledge that they can express themselves as they wish, that their needs are taken care of, that you trust your child and meet them on their terms.  This I believe is the environment that a child needs to grow their confidence and self esteem.  It is not an easy environment to provide all day of every day, but who said child raising was easy?


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