Does your child lack confidence?

Kids display a lack of confidence in many ways. Stressing themselves out/panicking, going above and beyond what is necessary to prove one’s worth, requiring peer approval before taking action, overly-apologizing with soft voice and meek posture, and, of course, avoiding activities they would like to do. Some kids will even act overly confident to hide their doubts and fears. If you ask your kid to share their strengths and weaknesses, and they say “I’m awesome and a genius” and cannot claim any weaknesses, they are hiding a lack of confidence.

Sensitive kids seem to be born with a general lack of confidence, others seem to grow more self-conscious and fearful once puberty kicks in. Either way, it can be hard for parents to watch their kids hold themselves back, stress themselves out, and avoid doing things they would really enjoy. Parents, too, lack confidence in certain areas so watching kids struggle can often bring their own insecurities up the the surface.

According to the brilliant Russ Harris in my favorite book on the subject, The Confidence Gap, people lack confidence for the following five reasons:

  1. Excessive expectations
  2. Harsh self-judgement
  3. Preoccupation with fear
  4. Lack of experience
  5. Lack of skill

I was one of those sensitive kids who seemed to be born lacking confidence. At a very young age, I picked up the belief “I have to say everything perfectly” (#1). Avoidance seemed like a better option than stress so I simply didn’t speak until I was about 12 when my extroverted personality couldn’t take the silence any more. Then I just started beating myself up for all the mistakes I made while speaking (#2) and combined that with my generally fearful demeanor (#3). All this first hand experience helps me move clients past the first three obstacles easily until they feel ready to take action. 

We all lack confidence because we all lack experience and skill in some area. If your kid was born naturally athletic, and has spent many hours cultivating her athletic skills, she probably feels confident in this arena. But getting in front of the class to give an oral report might be an area she has yet to cultivate this confidence.

If you’d like to help your child, and yourself, with confidence, here are a few things to remember.

  1. We all lack confidence in some areas and have it in others. Kids like to know they are normal and it’s ok. Think about things that used to scare you (roller coasters, swimming lessons) but are no longer scary. Overcoming fears comes with time and experience.
  2. You do not need to FEEL confident, in order to ACT confident. This is one area where “fake it till you make it” can be very helpful. Watch this TED Talk about body posture for inspiration.
  3. Facing fears is a part of life and courage doesn’t feel good. But the more you feel the fear and do it any way, the easier it will get.
  4. Commit to having your own back. Promise yourself you will say encouraging things no matter what the result. Be your own cheerleader and reward yourself for taking risks.
  5. Recognize perfectionistic thinking. “If I don’t succeed, I’m a failure”, “If I’m not the best, I’m the worst” “Nobody likes me”. Look out for black & white thinking and start creating shades of gray. “I’ll be proud of myself for trying”, “A B- in a class I hate is a victory”, “I’m learning how to make friends with all kinds of people”.
  6. Make friends with fear. It’s going to be with you your whole life. Make room in your body for it. Learn to recognize what it feels like, looks like, sounds like. Allow it to coexist with you and your life will be a great adventure. You get to choose the relationship you want to have with it.
  7. Parents can use their child’s doubts and fears, as an opportunity to recognize their own. What area would you like to have more confidence in?  How would it change things for you? If you’d like to feel more confident in your parenting, try scheduling an appointment today. 

 

Staying optimistic in a negative world

After spending time at my vision board party last weekend, and the march for human rights this weekend, I am filled with positivity and optimism for the future. But just like anytime you feel really joyful and happy, that little doubt-filled, scary feeling shortly follows. As I was walking the streets with a crowd oozing with love and support for all people, I couldn’t help but think, “Why couldn’t we have done this sooner? Why didn’t I show my support before the election?”

Staying in positive emotions is hard for many of us. Brene Brown calls it “foreboding joy”, the immense love and joy we feel with our precious newborn baby, followed quickly by the fear that our baby could stop breathing and that love could be taken away at any moment. Happiness and love makes us feel vulnerable. Appreciating what we have and dreaming about a positive future makes us feel naive or ignorant. We worry about being blindsided by something bad happening. The fear of “getting the rug pulled out from underneath us” keeps us on alert. Instead of enjoying all the wonderful things we currently have, we “wait for the other shoe to drop” so we can at least say we saw it coming. Or, if you are like me, you go to feeling guilty for not doing enough.

But here’s the thing, foreboding joy DOES NOT WORK! Worrying about something does not keep it from happening. Feeling guilty does not motivate positive action. Getting mad at yourself or others only creates more anger and an avoidance of love and positivity.

Sometimes we use negative emotion to motivate like calling oneself fat and lazy to get ourselves to the gym. If you get stuck in negative emotion try asking yourself “What immediate action step can I take today?”  If you are angry about the steps our new President is taking, call a Senator, join an organization, or donate to support your cause. If you feel guilty, forgive yourself. If you are worried about your health, make a dr. appt. If there isn’t a clear action step to take, then it’s not helpful and it’s time to let it go.

Love casts out fear, but it also motivates you to take positive action. What motivated you to play with your adorable one year old? LOVE! What motivates our young athletes to sweat in a stinky gym and get beat up by their peers? Love of the game! What motivates us to throw cutely themed birthday parties for our toddlers who won’t even notice or remember? Love! Who would you rather hire to babysit your kids: A worried, stressed out perfectionist who feels guilty if she does something wrong, or a joyful, loving person who adores your cute kid?

Love gets you hired. Love draws other positive people to you like a magnet. When you raise the bar on how much joy you can tolerate in your life, country, and planet, it shows other people how to do the same. My clients and children need me to stay in joy and optimism, but not denial. I don’t watch the news or listen to our new president talk, because it’s not helpful or productive and it makes it too easy to fall into fear. I maintain a positive Facebook feed and surround myself with kids and uplifting adults. This optimistic state allows me to coach my clients, inspire my children, support organizations I believe in and create a vision of a positive future.  When I slip into “not doing enough” guilt, or fear and anger, I catch it and coach myself on it, so I don’t have to go into my bubble and hide. Listen to your body and let it show you what actions are healthy for you, and which are toxic. If all you can think is what you DON’T want, it’s time for a negativity detox.

If there are certain topics or people you can’t listen to or tolerate, or if you are stuck in negative emotion, it’s worth taking the time to “clean it up”. Our country is going through quite the evolution and we need as many carriers of “love and light” as we can get. Schedule a life coaching session with me today, www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me

This video helped me focus on creating a vision for our country I’d like to see. Someday, I’d like to see an advertisement like this for the United States. Enjoy!

Should you give your child everything on their wish list?

Making our kids happy without making them feel entitled

Don’t you loving reading kid’s wish lists or letters to Santa? It’s so easy get a picture of what the child is like and what his interests and priorities are. If a kid can’t create a wish list, it’s a warning sign of low self worth and depression. It is SO important for kids to be able to ask for what they want, and believe they are worthy of receiving it. img_2686

As parents, our desires often get buried under the daily to-do list and we lose touch with what we really want. The feeling of yearning, of wanting, is very valuable and I’m often coaching my clients into reconnecting with this feeling. We need it to know who we really are and what’s next for us. It provides us a road map for our life. WANTING is wonderful, but you might want to read this before indulging your child in all of their desires.

None of us wants to create entitled kids but we all want to see our children happy. Watching their face light up when they open that gift they were so hoping to receive is OUR reward for all the hard frickin’ work! Let’s start by admitting that giving kids what they want is about US, wanting to make our kids happy so we can be happy.

What creates the “omg this is the best present ever” moment we all crave, is when the child is hopeful, but doubtful. It’s the surprise element that helps the child feel loved, seen and heard. If you always buy your child everything on their list, they lose the surprise and appreciation. Then, opening the gift just turns it into a checklist. When children expect to receive everything on their wish list, it changes from a “this is my heart’s desire and yearning” to an “here’s an errand I expect you to run for me”. Yuck.

Sometimes kids want gifts just because “everyone else wants them or has them”. Games, clothes, electronics, etc. can act a social marker between kids. If the kids your child likes and wants to be friends with, all talk about xbox, your child will want to be able to speak that language, talk about the latest games or levels, and feel accepted by his peers. This is a valid reason to want something, especially during the pre-adolescent years when they are trying to establish their identity.

My daughter has wanted UGG boots for years. Spending that much money on something that will make her (naturally hot) feet sweat and that she will grow out of quickly, is really hard for me. With so many better alternatives, the cost goes against my values. Helping my daughter have a sense of belonging and connection with her social group is aligned with my values, so I’m delegating to Grandmas and hope they can resolve the issue for me. 

“Something you want, Something you need, Something to wear, Something to read”

Remember, Christmas is for US. We do most of the work which means we can make it whatever we want it to be. By filling their stockings with deodorant, nail clippers and socks, you can make their “wants” that much more exciting. Giving practical gifts remind them that the “magic of Christmas” isn’t about the gifts themselves but the surprise, the traditions, the togetherness and the energy of giving.

So just be sure, if you are indulging your child in their desires, that you don’t do all items every year and you give them plenty of opportunity to experience yearning. There are many things that make the holidays special, make sure you aren’t sacrificing your own happiness for the sake of your children’s wish list. 

So what’s on your wish list Mama?

The only problem you will ever have

Friendship problems can be confusing, overwhelming, and very common. But really, all problems boil down to just one thing: The problem is we think we shouldn’t have problems.

Friendship problems are here to help us grow. Our problems teach us about empathy (for ourselves and others). They help us figure out who we are, what we like, and what we are willing to tolerate. Conflict helps us to let go and move on, or bring our relationship to a deeper level. Conflict teaches us the importance of advocating for ourselves and communicating our needs in a respectful way. Friendship problems are a super important learning opportunity!

Nicole* could feel her friends pulling away. They started sharing secrets and planning things without including her. They were still kind to her but she felt left out. What should she do?

Shay* was ready to branch out and make new friends. She loved her old group but was ready for something new. Despite her efforts, her old friends were not interested in bringing in any new ones. Shay didn’t want to hurt her old friend’s feelings, but she felt pulled to expand her social circle. As she did, her old friends got mad and unfriended her. Shay wants to shake off the guilt and sadness she feels so she can enjoy her friendships but she doesn’t know how.

Please join me for a mother/daughter workshop and tea, all about female friendships on Saturday, Nov. 16th from 1:00 – 4:00. You and your 10-14 daughter attend together for this helpful and fun mini-retreat. We’ll use our friendship issues, conflicts and girl drama to learn some important life lessons and build skills around empathy, self-compassion, positive self-talk, asking for what you want and standing in your power. Games and activities will help reinforce the lessons. Tea and goodies will be served and the cost is $60. per mother/daughter pair. ($30. individual price). This afternoon workshop will be held in my home so space is limited!

Reserve your spot today by clicking here: 

http://lifecoachingforparents.com/classes/mother-daughter-workshop/

pre-teen girls texting while hanging out at their school

*Names changed to protect these sweet girls

Have you seen the movie Bad Moms?

Oh my gosh, so funny. Not very flattering of Dads so go with girlfriends for sure. The movie does a great job of illustrating the problem modern moms face. Somewhere around the invention of “Baby Einstein” we picked up this idea that being a “good mom” means taking responsibility for our children’s mental, physical, emotional, social, and academic needs. We so desperately want to be “good moms” that we kill ourselves trying. We have created an impossible, idealistic goal that we will never achieve. We will never have perfectly healthy, happy, whole, content, responsible, friendly, kind self respecting kids who get perfect grades. If you did have this perfect kid, you would be calling me up and saying, “Torie, I think something is wrong with my kid. She’s like, happy all the time, she never makes a mistake, she’s always courteous and kind and gets perfect grades. Something’s got to be wrong with her.”

We aren’t meant to raise perfect kids, nor are we meant to be perfect parents. We are here to love, accept, grow and appreciate them and ourselves, while we stumble through this crazy thing called life.

In the movie, Bad Moms, you can see how the oldest daughter takes on the stress and perfectionism from her Mom. This is the one thing the girls at my summer camp all complain about, the expectation to be perfect. When we Moms don’t make mistakes but take care of everything: cooking, cleaning, coordinating, school work, income needs, etc. Kids learn that unless they can do it perfectly, they shouldn’t even try. Sometimes messing up, dropping the ball, forgetting things, or being an irresponsible Mom is the BEST thing we can do for our kids. They look at us and think, “I could do better than that!” and they start trying.

The lead character in the movie hits her breaking point and her world starts to implode. You don’t have to wait for the shit to hit the fan before making some changes in your life. Listen to that nagging voice that says, “I can’t keep going like this” “something needs to change”. Listen to your body that tries to communicate through physical pain, rashes, IBS, headaches, etc. Pay attention to the whispers of discontent and instead of tuning OUT, tune IN.

Laughter is always the best medicine so grab a Mommy friend and go see “Bad Moms”. After the movie, ask them:
1- “Imagine you won a great mom award, what would make you worthy of that title?”
2- How do you know when you’ve been a bad mom? Let’s say you yelled, ask “Is it true that a good mom would never raise her voice, ever?” “How many times would a mom be allowed to yell and she could still be considered a good mom?”
3- See if you can come up with contradictory definitions. For example, one Mom might say “A good mom provides high quality, nutritious foods without artificial colors and flavors.” Another Mom might say, “A good mom provides foods that are quick, easy and fun so other kids will want to come over to your house.” or “A good mom makes sure the kids are ready for school with a healthy breakfast, homework completed, and lunch made.” Another mom might say, “A good mom expects their child to take responsibility for getting up and out the door in the morning with all supplies necessary for the day.”
4- How much of your definition of a good mom/bad mom was formed by your own mother? Where are you similar and where are you different? How did your mom’s area of expertise, or lack of it, effect your own beliefs and beliefs around what makes a good mom?