Daddy Directions - Five Steps to Self Confident Kids in a Scary World
Being a daddy is not always an easy thing to do. When you look across the room at your daughter sulking in the corner over her latest teen drama, you can find yourself at a loss for what to say. In fact, sometimes there are no words. It is times like this that you pray you instilled confidence in your kid. You pray that you showed them how to believe in and value themselves properly. These lessons are always easy to see after the fact. They can be tough to see when they are growing up.
For this reason, I thought I would share five special insights I wish I had known before my kids were teenagers. Some of these things I did rather well with and some were lessons I missed out on, but all of them can ease your mind and make your pathway a little calmer.
Foster a positive self image
Today’s celebrity infused expectations for our kids are really impossible and the standards are almost certain to affect your kid at some point. Little comments can affect your kid’s self image in ways you never dreamed. Spend some time each day talking that over and complimenting your kid. Help them create a healthy routine and praise their efforts to stick with it. Get them off the couch and explain that their health is the most important thing. Most of all, teach them to love themselves during all the life stages they might go through. You can honestly make a huge difference by doing this early on. Kids listen far more than we realize.
Shift their focus early
Kids are going to naturally want to lean towards the popular trends at school and among their friends. This is inevitable. You can, however, teach them the value of things early on. Put the focus on helping others when they are kids and they will continue that as they get older. If you put the focus on getting things, accruing things and building wealth, you will have their focus on something that is destined to come and go. Make them smart, but focus on humanitarian efforts and ways to help our fellow man.
Use positive reinforcement rather than constant correction
Of course you have to correct your child. That is a given. But it is easy to fall into the habit of leaning on correction as a crutch. We can quickly forget to praise when things are done right. Yes, even the little things. Kids learn far better from positive parents than from a parent that screams frustration most of the time. Take the time to compliment your child freely and regularly. When you do have to correct them, it will be much more impactful.
Empower them to solve their problems
This is one that I surely wish I had done better with. Don’t take the control from your kids when you don’t have to. If they can do something for themselves, resist the urge to do it for them. Whether you are doing that because you want to “get it done and over with” or you are doing it because you think they can’t, you are crippling them for the future. Every problem they figure out on their own will build confidence that you can’t reproduce any other way. Give them tools or show them how, but never do it for them.
Introduce them to God early
Parents all have differing opinions about Jesus and religion and I respect that. Regardless, your kid is going to learn about God from someone. It might as well initially be the people that gave him life. Talk to him about the Lord and share your beliefs in a way that allows them to think for themselves. God will do the rest.