How to Raise Happy, Confident, Resilient Kids

This podcast provides tips and scripts to help parents raise happy, confident, resilient kids. Dr. Robyn Silverman and Sue Atkins discuss the four “crucial Cs” as well as various ways to improve the self-esteem of children when they are faced with frustrating circumstances throughout everyday life. Special needs, age, divorce, competition and other possible stressors are considered during the conversation as well as how to talk to kids about coping mechanisms when activities or life does not go as planned or desired.

Special Guest: Sue Atkins

Sue Atkins is an internationally recognized Parenting Expert, Broadcaster, Speaker and Author of the Amazon best-selling books “Parenting Made Easy – How to Raise Happy Children” & “Raising Happy Children for Dummies” – you know the one in the famous black and yellow series? She’s also got wonderful parenting CDs and she has just launched her new ‘Can Do Kid’ Journal to give children the gift of self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as ‘The Divorce Journal for Children.’ Sue produces ‘The Sue Atkins Parenting Show’ a weekly parenting podcast where she gives practical ideas for raising happy, confident kids. Sue also specializes in supporting families through divorce. You can find Sue on morning shows like “This Morning” as well as radio shows and in articles around the world. To learn more about Sue or get her great advice or products, go to and download them instantly today.

Each one of us, as a parent, teacher, coach or mentor wants to help raise and inspire kids who are happy, well-adjusted, confident and resilient. But, in today’s world, it’s not always easy! The messages we receive as parents and educators can get confusing and don’t always know the right thing to do. We hear; “make sure to encourage your child—but don’t give too much praise or it will backfire!” “Let your child fail—but balance it with pointing out strengths and successes—and for goodness sake don’t tie in achievement with self esteem!” “Give your child responsibilities—but don’t forget to allow them to have free time and play too!” So much to balance. So much to remember. And still, of course, we all have our bad days when we throw up our hands and wonder if we are getting any of it right. Who hasn’t been there? So to discuss and tease through how we can raise happy, confident, resilient kids- we have Sue Atkins on the show today.

The podcast provides:

  • How to use the “4 crucial Cs” to help raise happy, resilient, confident kids.
  • Tips to create “I can do” kids.
  • How to help kids who are not typically developing or who have special needs to become “I can do” kids.
  • How children who are younger and perhaps less “capable” to become more confident and self reliant.
  • The script for when your child is struggling
  • How to talk to kids who have poor self esteem or who are convinced “they can’t” do it.
  • How to help kids have more confidence when they are comparatively “slower” than their peers in different developmental areas.
  • How to help kids maintain a positive sense of self esteem during divorce.

Important Messages:

  • The crucial Cs- courage, counting, connected, capable- these can help kids become confident, happy children.
  • Kids are striving to become independent at age 2 or 3 and when we take over, we are robbing them of the chance to become independent and do it themselves.
  • Teach our kids to be patient with themselves- they’re fingers aren’t as dexterous so it might take longer.
  • Name the moment, judge the moment and see what your child really needs. Should you step in or step out?
  • Watch the unconscious communication- through tone of voice or body language. Is our body being a positive influence? What is our body screaming when we are saying something else?
  • Careful not to overpraise.
  • Help them to fail forward- and learn from their mistakes. Ask yourself; What can I do better next time?
  • Look at your own actions- are you embracing mistakes or are they causing a negative response?
  • You may need to grieve so you can learn to accept that fact that your child has special needs. Don’t compare. This was you can celebrate their unique milestones.
  • Don’t compare within the family- that doesn’t help anyone. Celebrate each individual child and what their skills are—work as a team.
  • We have two voices in our heads. The inner bully and the kind voice. The brain can’t differentiate between I can or I can’t. The kind voice needs a microphone or a bullhorn so you can hear it.
  • You want to become a master? You need to practice. We need to tell the kids that people don’t just automatically become a master.
  • Sometimes it’s not about taking a huge step but a pigeon step or a fairy step towards overcoming something. This allows us to make progress.
  • Use storybooks to help kick off conversations.
  • Use the word “yet” to help kids understand that they might not have mastered it now- but it will come.
  • Put a photo of the kids in the middle when talking about divorce. We need to use perspective. You are divorcing your partner- the child isn’t divorcing the parent. Reassure your child that it’s not their fault.
  • Use a positive parenting journal to talk about what “good” happened during the day.

Notable Quotables:

  • “As parents and children, we are all on an adventure together, aren’t we?”
  • “Toddlers want to feel competent and able as they strive for independence. So with toddler tantrums, we need to look at the triggers. We need to ask ourselves, ‘what’s underneath it?’”
  • “If parents look at the 4 fundamentals—feeling connected, counting, courageous and capable- it helps you to meet the challenges of raising children.”
  • “We need to find the balance between rescuing a child and empowering a child. Pause to ponder that for a bit longer before you jump in to help.”
  • “Don’t just come in and do it for your children, show them how to do it.”
  • “Children who feel heard, feel understood.”
  • “Children are watching us, listening to us and observing us all the time.”
  • “We need to balance between praising, encouraging and rewarding. We can overpraise. The children just need to sneeze and we’re like ‘you are just so marvelous at sneezing! So talented! We have to watch that. Praise and encouragement need to be genuine, sincere, age-appropriate and it needs to be meaningful. Children sense that and notice that.”
  • “Once you learn to accept your child’s special needs, you can embrace them and celebrate all their unique and wonderful milestones. They might be different from other people but life is not a competition.”
  • “Confidence is an inside job.”
  • I like to say to children; ‘borrow my believe in you until you find your own belief.’”
  • “A ‘can do’ attitude is like a muscle. It can wobble. You can be very confident in one situation and in another you can be mortified or shy or embarrassed. We have to help children noticed that but not transfix them like a rabbit in the headlights.”
  • We have to keep the bigger picture. This really helps us as parents to remember to not see the child as the problem but to simply love them for where they are now.”
  • “Many people refer to families going through divorce as ‘broken families.’ I don’t like that. Broken implies it’s a failure, dysfunctional or damaged in some way. Family life has changed. It’s not the divorce or the break up that damages children but the level of conflict that they experience.”