Teach Your Child To Be Self Assured

In the first stage of their lives, children grew from believing they were extensions of their parents to understanding they were individuals.

They struggled with independence. They were balky without understanding why. They threw temper tantrums. They put their foot down in stubborn defiance. If you handled this stage right, they emerged as trusting individuals eager to make their own decisions and welcoming your direction.

In this second stage, they have become people pleasers. Children begin to realize that by pleasing others, they will get more of what they want when they want it. They seek rewards for good behavior. They like to share their successes. "Mommy, see what I did!" They have become outer-directed. They look for others to validate what they have done.

This is the most important time to show appreciation for small achievements. Tell your child how proud you are of them. But, let them know that you would love them even if they weren’t so smart. Avoid catching them at failure. Treat mistakes as a way to learn.

When they make a mistake, teach them how to think the problem through so future mistakes can be avoided. They will learn this lesson and use it the rest of their lives. We see so many adults who get frustrated over little problems. If they had learned to think problems through when they were a child, they would approach problems without frustration.

At this stage, children will stay out of trouble by doing what is expected of them. They want to help. They want to be just like mommy or daddy. Let them know what you want in the way of positive, helpful behavior.

Remember not to point out failures. That doesn’t mean to ignore them when they do something wrong. It means to encourage them to do things right. Show them how to think the problem through and try it again. Praise them when they accomplish the task.

There is an old saying “We attract what we project.” If your child emerges from this stage feeling like a failure, guess what he will attract? This will remain with him forever.

Show him how to succeed. Encourage him to feel proud of his accomplishments.

When this stage is over, we want a self-assured child who is proud of his accomplishments. We want a child who looks inside himself for validation, not a child who has to prove to others how good he is.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to word our praise so that he knows he should feel proud.
“You must be very happy that you finished your milk without spilling any.”
“You must be proud that you built the Lego fort so strong.”
“You must be satisfied that you wrote your name so well.”

We are teaching him to be inner-directed (looking inside himself for satisfaction) rather than outer-directed (looking for others to confirm he is good enough). We are building his confidence.

If you manage the first two stages well, your children will be well-bonded with you, and you will continue to have an important influence over their thinking and behavior. You are building a foundation of life that will make his future easier and more successful than you ever thought possible.

You can learn how to make raising your children more enjoyable with a Parenting Class.

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