How many of us have had confidence or self-esteem issues that have held us back from doing something we’ve really wanted to in our lives? The answer is many of us I expect!

Through coaching, mindfulness and meditation I have been able to overcome any issues I had personally and I’ve been able to let go of any thoughts and beliefs that weren’t serving me. This has allowed me to move forward with my life and allow myself to go forward and achieve my goals and fulfill my own dreams and aspirations. Now I lead a life that I have designed and I’m truly living life ‘the conscious way’ but, now as a parent I’m keen to adopt positive parenting habits that help my own brood feel confident and comfortable in their own skin so they too will always feel ‘good enough’ to live the life that in time they’ll design (for themselves).

We all know how debilitating confidence and self-esteem issues are and we’re aware of the power of these thoughts and we might have even experienced this ourselves so know first-hand how it can hinder us in our own lives. Now as a parent now myself I don’t want my children to experience these thoughts and the feelings that go hand in hand with them but, I know the reality of it is that they probably will experience these issues at some time or another but, I know as a parent I’ve got to equip them with the skills and the beliefs that they can truly do anything they set their mind too if they ‘believe they can.’

As a parent I promise to praise them for their efforts and not for always being the winner, it’s natural to want to be the best at things but, to want to be the best at everything is a tall order and one that none of us can live up to. Having two boys of my own means that ‘competitiveness’ is just a part of their life, they view most things as a competition and they want to ‘win’ at everything but, we’re learning to praise them for their efforts and not the outcome. You see, children find it hard to ‘lose’ but, losing in life is an important lesson and we try to find opportunities to help them experience this feeling so they know what it feels like to ‘not win’ (I prefer this than the word lose). It wasn’t always like this, we used to let them win at everything because it’s a natural feeling to want your child to win at things and experience pleasure, excitement and praise but, we soon realised that this caused all sorts of problems and they ended up thinking that winning was everything and because of this they lost sight of the experience of ‘taking part’ and we knew this wasn’t right so we changed our game plan.

We now let them win some games and lose others so they can understand what it’s like to be on both sides of the fence and so they can appreciate the emotions of not winning too and know that that’s ok! We then praise them for their efforts and explain that next time it might be them, this was a very difficult concept for them to grasp but, over time they’ve got better. We encourage them to praise one another and promote team work and show them how to take pleasure in others winning, we want them to experience those feelings of ‘genuinely’ being happy for someone else winning because this is a fact of life and we want them to experience this too (this is still work in progress at times). But, I’m a firm believer the more we do it the more they’ll learn from their experiences.

We also praise them for their efforts when they get 4/6 in their spelling test or when they read a word incorrectly too because they’ve tried and that’s okay, they just didn’t quite get it right, this time. Self-esteem and confidence issues can manifest itself in all sorts of ways and I have seen this when one of my sons attends football training, he stands at the back and doesn’t want to get ‘stuck in’ because he’s happier watching or observing the game. Of course, the aim of football is to get ‘stuck in’ but, there are times when I can see that he just wants to watch and he will kick the ball when he feels ready and I just want him to know, ‘that’s okay!’

I don’t want to be a parent that’s constantly telling him to get stuck in when he doesn’t want to as he might feel uneasy or scared, I just want him to know that whatever he decides, ‘it’s okay with us.’ Confidence issues can rear its head at any time and can show itself in different circumstances too, so I know when he’s at home with us and his close friends he’s happy to get involved in a footy game because he feels safe and comfortable and he’s in familiar surroundings however, in order to step outside of your comfort zone and gain more confidence you need to take the plunge in trying new things. So as a parent we encourage our boys to experience new things, get involved in new opportunities and experiences but, to always listen to your heart and do the things you want to do.

As a parent it’s easy for us to judge, control or instruct our children to do certain things in certain ways because that’s what we’d like them to do but, I know more and more parents who are taking pleasure in just ‘letting them be’ and helping them to ‘appreciate’ everything. I’m sure these are the parents that will produce happy, confident children so whatever parenting style you have, let’s all make sure we fill up our children’s bucket so high so that whatever it is they encounter in their lives they’ll feel confident enough to go forward and live happy, fulfilled lives!