Caring, Common Sense, Confidence, Effort, Focus, Initiative, Motivation, Perseverance, Problem Solving, Responsibility,
There is not a living, breathing person who is confident all the time. Yet our children can get the idea that everyone else is more confident than they are, and that everyone else, especially a parent, has never been scared or felt the pangs of loss of confidence.
That´s why it is important to share your experiences, to come clean, to tell your child about a time in your own childhood when you felt confident — really able to do something. Maybe it was jumping off the high diving board or excelling on the math test.
And what about the time when you felt not so confident, when you had trouble standing up in front of the class to give a speech, or when you realized you were short on cash at the checkout counter. Share as many memories as you can remember.
Sparking the Conversation
Focus on a specific problem. For example, “When I first went to school, I had trouble speaking up in class. I felt shy. I guess I was worried that I wouldn´t have the right answer.”
This helps children start talking about their own experiences with confidence — when they have it and when they don´t. We learned that my older daughter, a whiz in her classes, was having trouble making friends at school. And our younger daughter was spending so much time with friends, that she was finding too little time for her work. It gave us all a chance to give each other a pep talk.
Confidence Building: Newspaper Activity
Children who balk at math in class are often youngsters who figure out batting averages in their spare time. Some even understand the financial pages.
Capitalize on these interests. Try questions such as these: Which team has won the most games this year? Who are the high scorers? How much higher are they than the others? Use the newspaper to get the answers.
Moving to Bigger Questions
Try these bigger questions in conversations with your children:
What makes people scared?
Does what we say to each other make a difference in our self-confidence?
What kind of praise do we like to receive?
How can we help each other feel more confident?
© Dorothy Rich, 2000. The nonprofit Home and School Institute, sponsor of the MegaSkills program, was founded by Dr. Dorothy Rich in 1964. For information about bringing MegaSkills books and programs to your school and community group, contact: The Home and School Insitute, MegaSkills Education Center; 1500 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington DC 20005. Phone: (202) 466-3633. Fax: (202) 833-1400. www.MegaSkillsHSI.org Reprinted with permission.