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What our children and our own inner child need

If we want to raise confident children or rekindle our own confidence we need to nurture and develop our children and our inner child. There are various thigs we can do.

We need to ensure that we don't discourage by constantly pointing out their faults. If you are constantly told what you are doing wrong you eventually don't see the point in trying or form a belief about yourself that you are not capable or one which just isn't true. It can also, because of it having been drummed into you repeatedly, become what you do everytime. It becomes your reality. The same goes from being self critical. As the mind you see, learns by repetition and listens to your every thought or word, doing everything it can to take you away from pain and towards pleasure. You therefore end up feeling like you'd rather try something else or give up.

We need to encourage by praising every point in the learning journey. So we praise for starting, for trying, for thinking it through, for problem solving, for partaking, for all gains or achievements whether big or small. As this makes it pleasurable, enjoyable, rewarding, we are more likely to keep trying and achieve. We aren't put off or discouraged. We become a doer, a thinker and an achiever.

We need to encourage finding the solution rather than focusing on the pitfalls. Life isn't rose tinted and we are all going to face problems. But if we learn to critically think, to find solutions rather than hit a problem and give up we become resilient and happier. To do this we need to think for ourselves, not have everything done for us. So keep asking open ended questions that require your child to think it through and resolve it. Allow them to do things for themselves as sometimes trying and finding out why it doesn't work or went wrong is the best lesson. We then know what not to do and why, especially if in the safety of the home or other safe environment with adults on hand for support. But obviously without there ever being a risk of serious harm. Being on hand means you can stop them, get them to think through what they are doing - what might happen, is that safe, what might be a better choice. They can then make better choices for themselves.

Life is all about good choices and bad choices. We want to praise good choices and reflect on the bad choices so we can learn and move on. We won't always make the right choices and that's fine as long as we learn from them. We must not get hung up on what we did wrong but learn from it. From the day we arrive on the planet to the day we depart it we are on a learning and developing journey. We are constantly changing and developing physically and mentally. So the quicker we learn to grasp every opportunity, to learn and develop ourselves, to embrace change and flow with it we are on a far happier path. Life is one big lesson so the best thing we can teach our children and embrace ourselves is a love of learning.

We all like a treat or reward but these days they are frequent and not as influential or productive. But if we make sure we get the worst jobs done first or those we don't enjoy, then reward or treat ourselves they do become productive, they provide motivation and we all need motivation. They don't even need to be pricey and can be pretty mundane such as "tidy your room first and then you can watch tv". But use them wisely and be consistent. There is nothing more confusing than inconsistency without a good age appropriate explanation!

Another helpful tool in life is to develop good routines. Like good consistent school mornings and bedtime routines. So that the child knows what to expect, can partake willingly, do some parts even independently and also defuses arguments. It sometimes isn't easy and this is where little rewards such as once your dressed you get to choose your favourite cereal or when you have cleaned your teeth you can have or do something. You know your child and what will motivate them. You can even collate points during the week and reward them with something bigger at the weekend like a trip somewhere. As adults we can develop healthy routines too and likewise reward ourselves. Such as put our gym clothes ready the night before or in a bag we fall over in the morning and reward ourselves with a coffee or something we enjoy once we have exercised. Routines help organise us and help us achieve what we want to.

As adults we have learnt all we know about dealing with emotions from those around us. Sometimes we have even taught ourselves on the back of not liking what we saw. So we can give our children a head start by openly discussing emotions, by role modelling and talking through good self regulation so they have the knowledge and understanding to do the same. We all have emotions, they're natural but it is what we do with them and how we handle them that is important. Squashing them, hiding them and feeling that you are not allowed them is incredibly unhealthy. As the feelings and emotions that cannot find their expression in tears may cause other organs to weep. Meaning that unvented emotion results in illness or problems elsewhere. Emotions are big and heart felt. They need validating, understanding with an opportunity to discuss them and work through them. Knowing how to deal with them is a big thing. Again it's a lifelong battle based on life events and experiences.

By doing all of this you will be making a start on nurturing and developing their self-worth, self-esteem, self-respect and self-confidence. These are so important as without these we become easily manipulated, taken advantage of, deflated, discouraged, anxious or depressed, stifled with what we can achieve or are capable of. So by starting now you could be setting your child up for a mentally healthy and successful future and as an adult you can start nurturing and developing the inner child within you that may have been hurt or let down in the past. One thing is for sure it is never too late to start.

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