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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

Parents: How Do We Talk to Kids about Fairness?

Do you hear “that’s not fair!” a lot in your home or school? Many children believe that “fair” means “the same.” But often, “the same” is not fair at all. If you can imagine a bunch of different people, all with different needs, wants and interests- we’d never think that we should give them all exactly the same thing! Dividing up the pizza, time, help, snacks or privileges in equal-sized packages, quite simply, does not often make sense. Of course, other times, people should receive “the same” and that is, indeed, the most fair situation.

Fairness is the “Powerful Word of the Month” for Powerful Words this month and is also the topic for my US News & World Report article and infographics for October.

Ask your children what they think of fairness and come up with scenarios the illustrate when fairness means “the same” and when it means “different.” Here are some of the questions you can explore:

(1) When does fairness mean “the same?”

(2) When does fair mean that everyone should get a “different” amount?

(3) What do yo9u do or say when you see unfair things happen to other people?

(4) What are some of the rules at home that ensures fairness?

(5) What happens to fairness when someone doesn’t follow the rules?

Also, explore some of these talking points I discuss in my US News & World Report article this month:

Talking point No. 1: Discuss people’s varying needs, since fairness is often based on what each person needs to be successful and healthy.

Talking point No. 2: Explain that fairness is sometimes based on desire and interest. Everyone likes different activities, foods, games, colors and books.

Talking point No. 3: Have a conversation about merit, hard work and perseverance. We want to send the message that people who put in the most time and effort often get the largest share.

Talking point No. 4: Talk about fairness and appropriateness. Let your child know that depending on a person’s age, experience and ability, what’s fair may change.

Talking point No. 5: Life, unfortunately, isn’t always fair.

In a quiet moment, talk about what you think is really unfair in life, whether it’s people who are suffering – like a friend who has lost her parent to cancer – or kids who are homeless, or it’s societal inequalities that make life difficult for certain groups of people. This will provide some perspective for your children, while you ask them to take a walk in another person’s shoes. They may even want to find ways to be able to help those in need!

I discuss these fairness talking points in Ask Dr. Robyn this month:

Come up on Facebook or Twitter and let’s discuss it!

Warm regards,

 

 

How to Talk to Kids about the Las Vegas Shooting

After the terrible shooting on Sunday, October 2nd, that took place in Las Vegas killing 59 and injuring more that 500 people, parents are left wondering what to say to their children about the Las Vegas shooting. Let’s acknowledge that it’s becoming less rare to wake up to bad news lately- hurricanes, earthquakes and this senseless shooting makes us wonder when the loss of life and destruction is going to end. I get that. Our children are starting to get hear bits and pieces about these tragedies and those who haven’t will likely hear about them in time. So what do we do or say when tragedy strikes?

Resources:

  • I was interviewed for Morning Dose TV on this topic yesterday- right here.
  • Since I wrote something that is fitting when the Barcelona shooting happened– giving both tips and scripts, I’d like to give that to you now, again.
  • On my podcast, Joe Primo and I discussed How to Talk to Kids about Death & Dying if answers around grieving and death are in need.

And just a few quick words on talking to kids when tragedy strikes:

  • Be the first source– let them hear it from you. News sources are abrupt and made for adult audiences- you know best how to talk to your kids. Tell them; “I am here to answer your questions, there is nothing you can’t ask me. I may not know all the answers but I will find out what I don’t know so I can put your fears to rest.” As children get older you can ask, what do you know about this? How do you feel about this? To open up the conversation.
  • Let them know about the helpers who are working to keep everyone safe and assure them that the man responsible for the deadly act is unable to hurt anyone anymore because he is dead. Tell them; “those in law enforcement and the medical community are doing everything they can to keep us safe and take care of anyone who was hurt. Do you know how Aunt Karen takes care of people in the hospital since she’s a nurse? That’s what the people out there are doing too. Lots of people are helping.”
  • Allow them to be the helpers too– ask, how can we help someone who is suffering today? How might we help the kids who are dealing with these strategies. Something therapeutic for anyone of any age is drawing pictures and writing letters to those in Las Vegas who are suffering. They can write thank you notes to law enforcement and medical staff or raise money for a charity. As an adult, you can give blood and talk to your children about why you are doing it.

Read more

10 Powerful Conversation Starters to Teach Kids Confidence

Do you want your children to learn how to be confident but you aren’t sure how to start the conversation? The Powerful Word of the Month for June is Confidence! Confidence us a combination of trust, conviction and assuredness. Confident people are aware of their strengths (but don’t brag about them) and they also know their weaknesses and what they need to work on (but don’t shame themselves). They have a feeling of inner certainty and overall, believe in themselves.

Gather your kids around the dinner table, talk to them in the car, chat on a walk or snuggle in to discuss before bed– there is no perfect time so anytime will do! The key? To have the conversations. Yes, just have them. Our children want to hear what we have to say and want the opportunity to tell you what they think! The more we talk to kids about their lives and what they believe, the more likely they are to share.

Even kids who try new things and walk into a room with an air of confidence can feel nervous, worried, scared or shy at times. These skills are for everyone.

Ask questions like; where and when do you feel the most confident and sure of yourself? What advice would you have for a friend who wasn’t feeling confident? What are some ways you can show that you are confident? Of course, share your own feelings and stories as well. Kids love hearing how we have overcome feelings of insecurity– stories can inspire, explain and give everyone a feeling that what they are going through is normal!

Enjoy these 10 powerful conversation starters- and let me know how they go! Feel free to share!

Warm regards,

PS The podcast episode released this week is about courage- a cousin of confidence- so listen in to How to Talk to Kids about Being Brave with expert guest and best-selling author, Margie Warrell!

10 Powerful Conversation Starters to Talk to Kids about Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship, showing respect for the rules, the participants and the spirit of competition, is an important powerful word all kids (and adults) must learn when competing with others. Given that May is Sportsmanship month for Powerful Words Character Development, this is a great time to discuss sportsmanship with your children.

How can you start the conversation about sportsmanship with your kids? Here are 10 Conversation Starters that will allow you to teach your kids about sportsmanship– as well as learn what they think, feel and believe about good sportsmanship.

Topics may range from what a good sport or bad sport means to how we can be gracious winners and refrain from being sore losers, to specific issues of cheating, boasting and failing in competition. What are some ways that your children can show great sportsmanship? Why do we need to follow these respect-based rules anyway? How can our actions at a game impact the spirit of competition?

We have all seen terrible sportsmanship- from what we see on TV to what we see on the fields right in front of our faces. What have you seen? What actions do you think are okay and which actions do you feel need to be addressed? When we stay silent, it could look like we approve. And interestingly, your kids may have a great deal to say about what they have seen and heard– it will be great to get their perspective.

What do your kids think? Do you see good or bad sportsmanship around you– and how can your family contribute to the positive end of sportsmanship? Hopefully you are talking about this topic in classes this month with all the scripts and tips from Powerful Words on sportsmanship- we’d love to hear about it!

Feel free to share- and discuss!

Warm regards,

PS A podcast on Sportsmanship will be coming out in the next month or so. Keep a look out and subscribe– so you can be the first to know! You can look right here on the podcast page or subscribe on iTunes (or whatever podcast site you listen through) and I know- you’ll love it!

Double the Fun! Two New Podcasts Out on Empathy and the Death of a Pet

Good morning! Aren’t Tuesdays fun?

For one thing, they aren’t Mondays—and for another, another episode of How to Talk to Kids about Anything is available! And you know what? THIS Tuesday is double the fun because we have TWO episodes available for you as an extra bit of love for you this week.

***First, we have How to Talk to Kids about Empathy and Entitlement by the amazing best-selling author & Today Show contributor, Dr. Michele Borba.

Based on her new book (softcover version out TODAY!), UnSelfie, Michele provides us with outstanding tips and scripts to raise empathetic, caring kids in an “all-about me” world. Michele has traveled widely and studied this topic for years—you don’t want to miss it!

“Once you realize you can nurture empathy, that our children are hardwired for it, you’ll look for dozens of just simple little daily moments to weave it in, take it up, and let your children know it matters. That’s how we produce a better generation of kids: A group of children who are unselfies, who think we, not me.” ~Dr. Michele Borba

***And, as a bonus, for anyone who has a pet or is suffering from pet-loss grief, we have How to Talk to Kids about the Death of a Pet. Best-selling author, Wendy Van de Poll, provides tips to help adults know how to help a child grieve when a pet dies as well as what to say to a child when a pet is sick and death is imminent. She also provides ways to help support a child in moving forward to engage in positive memories to help heal the grief.

The relationships that children have with animals are purely magical.” ~Wendy Van de Poll

You can get any of the podcasts on my website as well as on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcast delivery sites.

I can’t wait to hear what you think! And if you love this episode like I did, it would be so awesome to have you subscribe, rate and review it on iTunes so that others learn all about it. And please, feel free to share it!

Happy Listening!

Dear friend: Be sweet to yourself

Dear sweet friend,

We can often be so hard on ourselves. Perhaps our inner voice tells us we aren’t good enough, smart enough, good-looking enough, thin enough, driven enough, and countless other “enoughs” we feel we don’t or can’t reach.

On this day, the 11th anniversary of my dear father’s death, I want you to know that while we can all improve in many ways, you are, indeed, enough. Just as you are.

My father had many faults, as we all do, but today I am remembering his generosity, his patience, his brilliance, his kindness and his love for family. I am thinking about his smile, his gentle eyes, his quiet way and his loving hugs.

Do you know what I am not thinking about? Where he fell short.

So today, be sweet to yourself. See the good in people and allow them to see the good in you. But above all, allow yourself to see the good in you. There is so much. I assure you, there is.

Warmest regards,

Dr. Robyn on Nightline: What is Elizabeth Thomas’ state of mind at age 15?

I was on Nightline the other night, talking about Elizabeth Thomas and her possible state of mind after being found with her 50-year-old teacher, Tad Cummins.

When a young girl is feeling alone or misunderstood, an older, trusted teacher can be a welcome person in her life. Usually a teacher-student relationship can be a wonderful source of help but clearly this relationship crossed the line and became inappropriate and exploitive. Being a teacher is a unique position of power and intimacy in a child’s life- you are trusted and you have proximity.

Elizabeth is likely in crisis right now. She needs love and understanding from her family and those who love her. This was a cry for help and now, she needs to get the help she needs to become healthy and secure in her life. What was she trying to tell her family? What was going on right before she left? These issues must be addressed as they were the catalyst to the incident.

Nightline: 04/20/17: Missing Student Elizabeth Thomas Found, Teacher Arrested in California Watch Full Episode | 04/20/2017

How is she feeling? Nobody but Elizabeth knows for sure. But I would venture to guess that Elizabeth is likely feeling confused right now. This is someone she has trusted for a long time and likely believed was working in her best interest- this is not likely someone she saw as a criminal or inappropriate. So being taken away from him actually may feel like a loss for her- a loss of someone she trusted so much that she left her life with him. I imagine she is feeling many things right now so it’s time for some understanding and patience as she gets the help she needs.

*Now that child abuse charges have surfaced regarding Elizabeth Thomas’ mother, this adds and important layer to why Elizabeth left, why she got attached to her teacher in the first place, and why she seemed unhappy or reluctant to come back to her life in Tennessee. This girl needs patience, time and help– and it seems that her family will also need support in order for everyone to get back on track.

 

 

 

Dr. Robyn’s Monday Morning Quick Tip!

Monday morning!

I hope you are thinking about the highlights of your weekend– the sweet moments and the times that gave you peace or smiles, however far between. I know that life can get hard sometimes. Not all of it- but some of it. The kids don’t always behave. Those great events you planned for? Often they don’t go exactly as you thought they would.

But what went well? What made you laugh, relax or feel loved?

The challenge comes when everyone’s weekend photos come out, doesn’t it? So many happy faces and declarations of “best weekend ever!” It’s natural to compare.

But seriously. Those people all had their moments too. Good and bad. Frustrating and fulfilling.

The Fictitious Facebook Family (FFF) is not real. Don’t let it become your monster.

xo

The 4th Trimester: Dr. Robyn Silverman on Good Morning America

After a woman has a baby, her body continues to change. What has been dubbed “the 4th trimester,” the 3 months after the birth of a child, can be a time when women can feel at odds with their bodies. Still, this is a time when woman should be celebrating their bodies– look at what they just did! No need to wait- you are beautiful now.

Good Morning America came to the house to talk with me about it– as an intro to their a makeover segment with a beautiful woman who had recently given birth to a daughter.


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