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Confidence Building in Parenting: How to Let Go So Your Children Can Soar

Hello Sweet friend,

I hope you are doing well on this last day of January! It’s amazing how time flies by—we are already 1/12 of the way through the year!

So the other day, I took my family roller-skating at the same roller rink I used to go to as a kid. Other than being full of nostalgia as the same disco ball hung from the middle of the ceiling and remnants of the light up board that used to direct us to “all skate” or “couples only,” I was also a little bit anxious. This was my son’s first time roller skating and he can sometimes have an ugly tape inside his head telling him he can’t do something even before he starts. Do you have anyone in your life that gets that?

He asked me to go out on the floor with him so he could hold my hand. As a parent, this can get a bit dicey. You want your child to feel comfortable but not reliant. We don’t want to feed the “I can’t” monster or the “only if you help me” monster. We went out onto the floor together, and we held hands. I held his and he held mine. As he got his bearings, we went very slow so I was sure he was moving his own feet and I wasn’t pulling him along. After a few times around, I let him hold my hand but I wasn’t actively holding his. Then we progressed to him only holding my finger, using his own balance and momentum to take the lead and pull me along a little. So when the moment came when my daughter said; “You’re doing great Noah, now all you have to do is let go!” He did. And off he went. Shaky at times but completely on his own.

It can be hard to let go. But even before that, it can be hard to slowly transition from taking the lead to allowing your child to do so. And yet, this is one of the key ways that they gain confidence. Self-reliance and taking healthy risks allow a child to learn to trust him or herself. To get up when they fall. And they will. And though it’s hard, we will grin and bear it as they gain the grit to bear it themselves.

I love exploring how to gain confidence and when I keynote on this topic, talk about the many barriers that get in our way and how we can push through. We want every child to lead their life knowing; “I am capable, I can do it and I will do it.” Don’t you agree?

For more on this topic, I have three recommendations.

1. My newest podcast episode on How to Talk to Kids about Anything is with Sue Atkins where we talk about how to raise confident, happy, resilient children. Sue has such a warm and welcoming way about herself- and lots of hands-on tips.
2. One of my most popular podcasts is on “The Gift of Failure” with Jessica Lahey. She talks at length about how we step back and allow our child to take the lead even though s/he may falter. After all, this is how they learn to succeed.
3. For those raising girls or working with girls, a recent podcast with Katie Hurley, author of the just-released No More Mean Girls (wonderful reviews and tools- recommended!), details how we can raise strong, confident, compassionate girls that defy the mean culture we hear about so often.

Can we raise children who are confident and resilient? I think we can. But as Sue Atkins says on yesterday’s podcast; “Confidence is an inside job.” Our children need to develop confidence from what they do rather than what we do for them.

Looking forward to hearing what you think! Come up on Facebook or I’m now on Instagram–> Let’s chat!

Wishing you a great week, sweet friend.

Warmest regards,
Dr. Robyn

Start Again! How Adele’s Public Mistake & Recovery at the Grammy’s Makes an Impact

What happens when one of the world’s most well-known and highly regarded superstars makes a mistake at the Grammy’s and asks to restart her George Michael Tribute? More than you think.

“I know it’s live TV; I’m sorry I can’t do it again, like last year. I’m sorry for swearing. I’m sorry for starting again. Can we please start it again? I’m sorry — I cant mess this up for him. I’m sorry, I’m sorry for swearing! I’m really sorry. Sorry.”

Young fans often see the highly airbrushed, perfectly lit, professionally made-up and styled version of their favorite singers and actors. It can do a number on the brain—making onlookers believe that perfection is possible and there are people who have achieved it. Such a conclusion can plant an insidious seed that strangles a young person’s self esteem- they strive for the impossible—both inwardly and outwardly, in appearance, academics, relationships. They miss the mark and feel worthless.

When we see the human side of the highly beloved and recognized, we realize five main lessons:

(1) No one is infallible. No matter how much money you make, how famous you are or how much power you have been given, people are flawed. We all make mistakes and nobody is immune to this time-honored tradition as a human being.

(2) It is possible to recover. When we make a mistake, we can restart. You don’t like how it’s going? Begin again. Try again. Life often provides moments for a do-over. All is not lost.On the other side of failure can be success if you go for it. Just keep moving forward.

(3) Assertively ask: When we make a mistake, we can ask to begin again. There is no need to bow your head in shame. We can often have another chance if we ask for it. This may be one of the most important lessons of the night.

(4) You will likely be loved even more for it. We are so used to seeing the perfect side of Hollywood and the music world- everything orchestrated and choreographed. This authentic peek into the character of this superstar, Adele, speaks volumes to young people about who Adele is as a person. Of course, as it turns out, faults are beautiful. Accept yourself, as is; you are enough.

(5) You can persevere and get to the other side. Another try may just be what you needed. No doubt someone in your life repeated some version of “when at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” or, as my mom always sung to me; “pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.”  Turns out, Mom was right. Even if millions of people are watching and you are a mega-superstar.

It is apropos that Adele won tonight at the Grammy’s because each time someone in the lime light reminds us that we are all flawed and flaws are what make us unique and beautiful, we step forward into ourselves a little bit more. And that is a win for all of us.

~ Dr. Robyn