By Kathleen Boucher
This article is the second in a series of articles on raising confident kids. Having confidence is a valuable life skill that will serve your children well.
Think of building confidence with your kids as strengthening their mental muscle. It takes consistency and practice. Teach your kids to expect to make mistakes, and to learn from them. Making mistakes allows them to improve. Each time they learn how to do something better, their confidence soars. Each time they accomplish something they fear, their confidence soars.
Have they ever had to give a talk in front of their class or a large auditorium? Were they nervous beforehand? Even the most practiced and experienced lecturers are known to feel edgy. How do you teach them to stay confident even though they may be scared to death?
Their attitude counts. Allow me to explain. Let’s work in reverse. Before their attitude will change they must change their behavior. Most of us worry about “what if”? What if I fail? What if I am laughed at? Write down all the “what if’s” that are concerning them. Now, focus on solutions. Here is one example.
Before, they give a talk or presentation, ask them:
- How well do you know and understand the material that you are talking about? Do you need notes, or are you relying on a PowerPoint presentation to help you stay organized? What would you do if the computer crashed? (This actually happened to a colleague of mine. Now, he always has a backup drive.) What would you do if you lost your notes?
- What happens if you get stage fright? Do you have a way to get yourself over this? Perhaps you could have one of your classmates ask you a question that you can easily answer.
- How do you respond if you have people asking you questions throughout the presentation, and you lose your train of thought? Solution: Have your audience ask questions at the end of the presentation.
- What do you do if you don’t know how to answer a question? Solution: Reply that you don’t have the information to answer that question, but you will get back to them with the answer.
- Fix the Image in Your Mind and Act As If¹ you are succeeding at giving a great presentation, answering questions, and solving problems.
- After the presentation is over, ask your kids what they liked about it. What did they do well? What do they feel they could improve upon? What would make it less stressful the next time?
- How are they going to celebrate their accomplishment?
Inform them that “10% of the population loves public speaking, 10% of the population is terrified, and 80% get nervous, with butterflies in their stomach!”² Where do they fit in? Congratulate your kids on accomplishing a task that 10% of the population is terrified of doing! How do you think their confidence is now?
You can use this strategy of teaching your kids confidence with the correct attitude by following the following simple steps.
- Preparation: Teaching them to be prepared for whatever they want, whether it is public speaking, applying for a job, getting their first interview, and so forth.
- Fix the Image in Your Mind and Act As If¹: Have them practice imagining that they are in the situation. Have your kids come up with “what if’s”, finding solutions to possible problems before they actual occur, and seeing themselves succeed.
- Taking Action: See themselves taking action.
- Evaluating: Looking at what worked and what didn’t, then learning from it.
- Celebrating: Celebrating that they accomplished what they said they would!
Have fun with this. Talk to your kids. What would they like to do, be or have, but they don’t have enough confidence for at the moment? Teach them that with the correct attitude anything is possible.
Thank you to ben-white-124388-unsplash for the photo.
- Anderson Walter, The Confidence Course, The Most Important Class You Never Took In School, Seven Steps to Self-Fulfillment, Copyright© by Walter Anderson, published by Harper Collins Publisher, page 166