One of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is confidence. Why is it important to raise confident children? What steps can you take to improve confidence in your kids whenever possible? And what’s the main difference between self esteem and confidence?
Building Confidence In Your Kids
Episode 134, March 18th, 2016
Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: While it may feels good to give your kids the stuff and the things they want, one of the greatest gift you can give your children is confidence. What are the ways that parents can instill high self-esteem in their young ones and what are the reasons that this is so important?
I am Laura Christofferson Celnar, a licensed clinical social worker and registered play therapist, and today we are talking building confidence in your kids. This is Parent Savers.
JOHNER RIEHL: Welcome everybody to Parent Savers, Broadcasting from the Birth Education Centre in San Diego. Parents Savers is online on the go support group for parents with infants and toddlers. I’m your host, Johner Riehl. Thanks so much to our loyal listeners! You join us every time a new episode is released and have probably heard this piece.
SUNNY GAULT: A million times!
JOHNER RIEHL: A million times! Every time a new episode is released. And also for those of you who continue the conversation with us on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to check out our Parents Savers app, so you can also listen to all the episodes wherever you go. That’s an easy to get it, but you can also listen to our episodes online as you know, or we can send them to you through whatever podcast program you use. Sunny, our head-mommy at New Mommy Media… Is that still you title? Head-mommy?
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, I think mommy-in-charge is that I gave myself, when I titled myself.
JOHNER RIEHL: Mommy-in-charge. MIC?
SUNNY GAULT: MIC!
JOHNER RIEHL: And ew-mommy, just made it up, jangled. Anyway, tell us more about The Virtual Parents program and how people can participate?
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, so we love it when our listeners participate in the show. And I usually highlight a couple segments that you guys can participate in, but you guys can check that out on the website if you go to www.newmommymedia.com and go to the Parents Savers section and on that page you’ll see a section for segments. Click on that and you can see the different ways you can submit for the show. I want to talk about story ideas, because we are on the process now of planning different ideas for Parent Savers. We are on episode 135 now for Parent Savers, which is awesome!
But we want to hear from you as far as what, what episodes do you want to know more about. What topics or… You know, people are talking online and they are like: what’s that? Like, you know: let’s learn more about that! So I would love for you guys to e-mail us those ideas. That’s a great way to get involved. Also what kind of expanding our panelist program, the people that we feature on this show, the moms and dads that come on this shows and talk. And we are going to be changing our format a little bit.
In the coming weeks we are actually switching from recording in a studio environment, where we are now, to everybody recording straight from their own computers. Technology has evolved in the last 4 years since we've started Parent Savers, and so now the technology is there to be able to do that and do it well, and keep up the quality, which I’m really excited about. And this opens up the opportunity for people all over the World really! As long as you have internet browser and you can click on a link, you can join our conversation.
We still need to structure it and have certain people participate in certain shows, but we want to hear from you. If that sounds like something you want to be part of and you’d like to join us on the show, we would love to hear from you and you can go on our website. And there is a lot of information on the site about how to become a parent that is involved on our shows. And yeah, just reach out, because it’s fun! We have a lot of fun on this show, so…
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, I always tell people that we are a national podcast, but now I think we need to say is that we’re a global podcast! But it is great to have you guys participate! And so as we talk about this, there are going to be four people on the conversation today. And one of them is participating remotely! We’ve got Jules joining us from Seattle, Washington. So hi, Jules! Will you tell us a little bit about yourself? Hi there!
JULES MASS: Hi! Well, I’m in Seattle. I’ve been here about ten years with my husband and we have five years old, I got to say this the right way or it will come out average, we have five year old triplet girls. Two are identical, one is fraternal. And being new parents, we are sort of figuring all of this out, as we go.
JOHNER RIEHL: I love that five year old is still a new parents.
SUNNY GAULT: And it is!
JOHNER RIEHL: Because you are going through everything for the first time.
JULES MASS: …previous experiences before this. I know a lot of people who have hung out with babies, or love babies and kids. I didn’t even babysit in high school, so I’m like so…
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, me neither, Jules. You and me: never babysitters! We are the only people on the Planet, I think. You and me, sister!
JOHNER RIEHL: You know, but I think yeah, that’s the beauty of Parent Savers. We are all learning and going through it. So even if you have older kids, five year old seems really old to someone who has an only 18month old. But they are still feeling like: this is our first time through; we don’t know what’s going on!
SUNNY GAULT: Right!
JULES MASS: I am a total expert on, you know, just through 1 to 5 with my kids, so…
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, great, that’s the key: with your kids!
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, with my kids!
JOHNER RIEHL: Great! Well, welcome! I’m glad you can join us. So my name is Johner, we have three boys. They are nine, seven and four, so definitely getting older. It used to be like… I remember doing this and they were like five, three and one.
SUNNY GAULT: I know.
JOHNER RIEHL: So we’ve been doing this for a bit, but three boys club, and I live here in San Diego, and among things, I like to hang out with Sunny and be Parent Savers. Sorry, Sunny, go ahead.
SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so I’m the owner or New Mommy Media which produces this show as well as a bunch of other podcast, so you can check on our website, but that’s all gear towards parents with young kids. And so I kind of have a lot of fun doing that. I have four kids of my own. And my oldest is five, a boy named Sayer. And then I have a three year old son named Urban and then I have twin girls, they are identical, Ainsley and Addison, and they are just over two years. Yeah…
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, I remember when you told me you’re pregnant with them.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah!
JOHNER RIEHL: And you didn’t even know they are twins yet!
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah! No, I know, right, because they missed it.
JOHNER RIEHL: That whole journey!
SUNNY GAULT: I don’t know, Jules, if you had that. It seems like whenever they go to, you know, how many babies you have, they seem to not set up.
JULES MASS: The question we always get is: how soon did you know?
SUNNY GAULT: Oh, yeah!
JULES MASS: Like it’s a sort of a giant surprise for us, like: no, we knew at 6 weeks, and…
SUNNY GAULT: See, I should have known at eight weeks. And then they said: oh, yeah, it’s one baby. And I didn’t know to ask for more than one baby! I went to my first trimester screening and of course my husband wasn’t there, and nobody was there with me, and I thought that was routine appointment, and they didn’t even know they were giving me news! They were just like: oh, twin appointment… Like: I didn’t schedule you for a twin appointment! I’m like: EXCUSE ME? Excuse me, stenographer, WHAT? Crazy story in itself!
JOHNER RIEHL: And then we are also joined by our expert today: Laura Christofferson Celnar. So hello! Welcome!
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Hello! Thank you for having me!
JOHNER RIEHL: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your kids.
SUNNY GAULT: Kid!
JOHNER RIEHL: Situation! Kid situation!
SUNNY GAULT: Nice save! I totally missed that!
JOHNER RIEHL: Because I’m lying!
SUNNY GAULT: Oh, ok!
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Yeah, so I am… Let’s see! I have an 18month old. So I have been working with children in capacity of being a home visitor, a play therapist, for something like ten years.
JOHNER RIEHL: Alright, welcome! I think we’ll have a great conversation today about building confidence in you kids.
SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so before kick things off, with our episode today, we’d like to talk about some headlines and this one… I thought, Johner, I thought you would really like this one.
JOHNER RIEHL: I bet, I will! I’ve heard one word of it and I’m excited about it!
SUNNY GAULT: Ok, so the word you are probably thinking about is ‘beer’.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yes!
SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so here is the headline. So it says: “A brewer’s beer" featuring a baby on label. Now has an official approval in Michigan. So, this brewery, it's called Founders Brewery Company, I believe, they have breakfast out and the label was pulled out in August, because it had a baby picture on it. And so it was replaced with an empty chair and a note with a child that says: “Left the crib for a bit.” And so anyway, everyone came out and said: why do you have a baby on a bottle. And then they came back and said: oh, we are going to replace it with this image of you know, just an empty chair with a note that says the baby was going to be back, or whatever it said. But then… Yes, go ahead?
JOHNER RIEHL: Well, so who?
SUNNY GAULT: That’s what I’m trying to figure out, who…
JOHNER RIEHL: Alright, so people are saying: why did you put a baby on a bottle of beer, but why would they…?
SUNNY GAULT: They were fined. Wait a sec. The Grand Rapids based Brewery was fined $300 and then they removed all bottles of the breakfast stout from its tap room. Then the State I guess came back. So they weren’t pulled from the store shelves. Founders have now “yes" from the State.
JOHNER RIEHL: But why do people this it was inappropriate for there to be a picture of a baby?
SUNNY GAULT: Ok, that’s the question! Like ok, so it’s baby and it’s promoting alcohol. Is that somehow not appropriate? People were saying: no, it’s not appropriate.
JOHNER RIEHL: Because they think a baby would see a picture of a baby and say: I want what’s in it?
SUNNY GAULT: I don’t think it’s that. It’s just the association of babies and alcohol.
JOHNER RIEHL: Aren’t the breastfeeding moms, as someone who produces the show called The Boob Group, sometimes encouraged to drink beer?
SUNNY GAULT: No, not anymore, that’s kind of old. Yeah, no Guinness for breastfeeding mammas! I mean, that’s something that they kind of promoted in the past, but they’ve learned since.
JOHNER RIEHL: I mean, my reaction is that unless this was a picture of a baby that the family didn’t give consent to use that baby, I don’t understand it. And I’m not trying to say that in a flipped way. I don’t think that the picture on like… I don’t think fish are mad that they are on the Ballast Point beer here locally.
SUNNY GAULT: Did you ask them?
JOHNER RIEHL: Fish have feelings too.
SUNNY GAULT: I do know!
JOHNER RIEHL: They don’t make any promise that there will be a fish in the bottle or anything like that. I think it’s just…
SUNNY GAULT: So, I know you guys can’t see the photo, but like I’ll post a link on out Twitter/Facebook page, so guys can see, but it does make sense. It called a breakfast stout, there is a picture of a baby eating a ball of oatmeal. So it’s kind of they are tying it to breakfast and it’s so yummy, and all these kind of stuff. And so that’s why they wanted to use the baby, and kind of tie it in. And then, you know, people were kind of upset about it, and they got a fine, and then they came up with another label and the State came back and said: oh, just kidding, you can have the baby back.
JOHNER RIEHL: So I think they did a great job… As a PR guy-people are talking about them.
SUNNY GAULT: Oh, I see. You are going to take that seat!
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, I mean, as a PR they did great with this label, a label that people took notice of.
SUNNY GAULT: So you think it was intentional?
JOHNER RIEHL: No, I don’t think it was intentional. I think that they are capitalising on the fact that people had a problem with that. I don’t think that they put upfront that people would have problem with it. That’s just totally a guess, but people did. I don’t know. Maybe I’m super conservative and my views are… Maybe it’s liberal. I don’t know which one it is.
SUNNY GAULT: Maybe it is, because you are the president of a beer club!
JOHNER RIEHL: I am! But what do you guys think? Jules, what do you think? Laura, what do you think? Do you think it’s weird?
JULES MASS: Gosh, having worked with a little bit of branding in my past, I think they absolutely knew what they were getting into, when they did that. I think they did that for show, having not see it I think that is my guess. But I think it’s also… The part of the problem would be the connotation that it’s okay to drink around kids maybe?
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah.
JOHNER RIEHL: That’s a whole new episode, and that’s not me like saying like to endorse, but I that is probably a topic that there is probably a lot of strong thoughts on both sides of that issue, but that’s all I mean by having said that. I don’t know what I think about it! I’m kind of fascinated about it. I’m thinking: drinking in front of the kids, that would be a good topic to discuss.
SUNNY GAULT: What do you think, Laura?
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: I guess I was thinking of it as of the perspective of someone who’s thinking about having a baby, right? I’m just thinking about alcohol exposure. And I guess that’s my social worker mid, but I’m like: oh, I don’t know, I don’t think I like this.
SUNNY GAULT: It kind of makes you feel uncomfortable a little bit, I think.
JOHNER RIEHL: I can accept that. That’s fine.
SUNNY GAULT: Ok, we’ll let you guys decide.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, and I think this is probably an issue where a lot of people bring a lot of their own perspective and experience from it, but I think for some people, like: I’m like I don’t care what the big deal is, but for others I can absolutely acknowledge why they would think it was a big deal. I’m glad that it seems to have worked out and that everyone has kind of reached a happy compromise. Or is that not where we are? We are back with the baby on the bottle and…?
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, the baby is back on the bottle.
JOHNER RIEHL: Okay.
SUNNY GAULT: That doesn’t mean that everyone’s okay with it, but the State gave them approval.
JOHNER RIEHL: Got it.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah, so take that.
JOHNER RIEHL: Alright, today on Parent Savers we are ready to start our conversation about building confidence in your kids with Laura Christofferson Celnar. Welcome!
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Thank you very much!
JOHNER RIEHL: So what we are talking about when say confidence, or high self-esteem in kids?
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: So self-esteem and self-confidence are actually two different things.
JOHNER RIEHL: Okay.
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: And they do often overlap. But when we talk about self-esteem, we are referring to a person’s feeling of worth. So it’s how we see ourselves in terms of how we look, what we believe, what our thoughts and feelings are. So it’s an overall kind of appraisal of who we are. Self-confidence by definition is a feeling of trust in ones abilities. And so it’s kind of a catch all term that… You know, when we think of confidence, we think of you know, facing challenges head-on, trying new things, putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations. That sense of that tenacity. If that first I don’t succeed, try and try again, you know. Or: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
You know, when something doesn’t go our way and we can’t find a way that we are: okay, we can find a way to be okay with that. So that’s kind of what I think… And I think confidence can lead to successful experiences. And that’s what we want for our children, right? And then the other side of the coin is that successful experiences can lead to more confidence, you know. So for an example coming here today, I have some confidence of public speaking. It wavers, back and forward, ok? But that bit of confidence allowed me to say: ok, I’ll give that a go, going on Parent Savers, right? And so now I’m having this new experience.
So in this new experience, if I don’t self-destruct by the end of this, then I will hopefully have a bit more confidence in moving forward and applying that to other areas in my life. So I think we can see how that could be applicable to children, right?
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, like how being confident to put yourself in a situation to do more.
SUNNY GAULT: To learn.
JOHNER RIEHL: And I’m sure there is some kind of a fancy word for it. It feeds itself to get more confident. And you know, it may seem like an obvious question, but why do we want our kids to be so confident? Why is that what we are looking for? Why is that important?
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Well, I think when we think about you know trying new things, facing new challenges, we’re thinking, you know… It’s that concept of self-reliance, independence, autonomy. Those are the things that just in our American culture are greatly valued and our society is set up that way, right?
So when children go to school, for example, they are expected to think on their own, and so maybe, you know: Timmy, you need to come up with an idea for a science project. And then if that project doesn’t go as planned, we are expecting Timmy to then find some solution. So he creates a solar system out of play doh, he comes down the next day and it’s all dried up, and in a million pieces. So what we want for Timmy is for him to go: ok, ok, ok, I will try again, let me add water, ok, so let me add water to the plate and see if that works.
So that doesn’t work, right? Then we want, we still want you know Timmy: I think I can, I think I can. Ok, Timmy is going to start over. He is going to use some clay. He’s going to make a solar system again. And then he’s going to be expected to get up in front of the class, or maybe in front of strangers at a science exhibit, and speak about it. So all of this stuff takes a lot of confidence! And you know, it’s not all or nothing! You know, I think Timmy maybe have a lot of confidence in that arena, but maybe when we go out on the playground, he is more timid in making new friends and asserting himself.
But yeah, I think, you know, as a parent, you just want to like protect your child. You want to give them this armor in this World, where we are really kind of expected to have quite a bit of confidence.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, Absolutely. And then what is interesting is to separate the confidence and the self-esteem and to think about them as being separate entities.
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Yes.
JOHNER RIEHL: Because Timmy can be on the playground and have a high sense of self-worth or of what he think about himself, but maybe not have the confidence. Or maybe even vice versa.
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Absolutely.
JOHNER RIEHL: And so on. So initially: oh, it’s weird that they are separate, but it makes a lot of sense.
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Aha.
JOHNER RIEHL: What I think about through then it’s that kids that either or are at some sort of confidence deficit, or they for whatever reason don’t have the confidence… Like, do you see that in your work as a therapist or social worker, as leading to problems?
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: I definitely see, you know, parents come in often and say: I want to help my child get more confidence, or more courage in certain situations. You know, maybe their child is timid when starting something, going to a karate class for the first time. Or maybe they are having some insecurity even in situations that they’ve gone through time after time again, you know.
We’ve been to the bowling alley before, we’ve been with this group of friends before, but the child is having a hard time hard time with it. So sometimes that can overlap with the child having anxiety. Or another mood disorder like depression or things. And then often times too with… I see a lot of families where there is some behavioural issues going on with their kids. And so sometimes it’s like: which came first? Right?
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah…
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: A child who is maybe acting a little bit out in school, or high-spirited and having trouble kind of fitting them all in school. They know when we are kind of putting a target on them and going: let’s fix this, let’s make you different. Right? So that can have an impact on how they feel about themselves, so both their self-esteem and their confidence. And then the other way around too when children are struggling with some of the self-confidence, some kids are going to shy away and be more timid, some kid’s defense mechanism is just to act out more, right?
If I’m feeling afraid to get up in front of the class, I don’t want to speak in front of the class and maybe I’m just going to act out and start throwing spitballs or something across the room to get the attention away from that other thing that I’m not comfortable doing.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, but it’s not… So it’s all sort of tied together, different things. It’s not necessarily that it’s causing a problem? Like it’s not necessarily that the lack of confidence is causing depression, but that they might overlap?
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Yeah, that can be an overlap.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yeah, and so what are they ways to kind of improve some kids confidence or self-esteem? Because I have been thinking about this. I just sort of had them sort of tied together and now I feel like there are almost two problems that we are looking at: confidence and self-esteem. And I guess the title is confidence, so we should focus a little bit more.
SUNNY GAULT: We could change the title.
JOHNER RIEHL: I think they are both worth exploring.
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah…
JOHNER RIEHL: For sure! Yeah, so let’s talk about improving confidence.
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Yeah, that’s definitely something that a lot of parents come to and they ask: how do I improve my child’s confidence? And so I like to kind of compare building confidence in a child to growing a garden. It seems kind of silly, but go with me on this.
So if you want to grow a beautiful garden with all kinds of unique plants, and flowers, and herbs, and vegetables, it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to be kid of a slow process. And it’s going to evolve into different ways, right. And there is going to be sometimes when as a parent you are, you know, very thoughtfully watering the plants, or very strategically planting the seeds. And then there’s also going to be times when you're just going on with your life and the garden is growing without you even looking at the garden.
So that’s a great thing about this stuff. It’s that it can take some intention on the parent’s part, but also it’s evolving on its own as well.
JOHNER RIEHL: It’s not fertilising. Well, you know in a matter of speaking, but not in a…. Jules, have you seen a difference between your three girls in their confidence?
JULES MASS: Oh, definitely! And they all trade, but I would have to say the most obvious thing that brings to my mind right now is we have Ashley. She is one of the identical twins. And in new situations like specifically when we started pre-school, she tends to want to stay back and observe everything until she feels comfortable with whatever that new thing is. And so I would have to say that she has self-esteem, but probably not a lot of confidence, because I’m kind of… It’s a struggle that we are working on. And I think will be really beneficial for us, because logistically during the week, there are all with me. Unless they are in pre-school and then they are in pre-school together.
We have always, since they were born, tried to install sense of individuality in all of them, we’ve never really trust them. Like we are trying really not to treat them the same. We have the same rules for everybody. But I can see that it has an impact on them and that they rely on each other. Which can be a good thing and a bad thing, because I can feel secure that they are watching out for each other, but at the same time again with Ashley, she can depend on her sisters to sort of plough the way for her?
JOHNER RIEHL: Right, and when you as a parent like to see is her being a little bit more willing to step up without sitting back first.
JULES MASS: Right, there is a lot of dependency on me for doing things and I struggle to find that line where I can realise where they can do certain things for themselves. Such as like with play-doe: are they able to open this bottle of play-doe? We had this issue today. Everybody was asking me to help them do their project rather than have them do it. That’s where I am drawing the line. If you can’t physically open a container, I will do that for you. But I’m not going to do your project for you. If that makes sense. Does that apply?
JOHNER RIEHL: Oh, yeah!
SUNNY GAULT: Yeah!
JOHNER RIEHL: Totally! And that’s kids just pushing everything.
JULES MASS: I want to stay on topic, but…
JOHNER RIEHL: No, yeah, totally. My kids are afraid of like going upstairs sometimes. But sometimes it’s just a ploy I think: I don’t want to be upstairs by myself, but like: dude, you are six years old, you can go upstairs to your room and grab the shirt that you are not wearing now, because you are shirtless, because that’s what kids do. And then it becomes a little bit of power-struggle too. So it’s probably a difference between… I’m not sure like if it’s in-confidence or he is just trying to insert his control over you know, me going up there. But anyway, it’s obviously a multi-fascinating issue. Let’s take a quick break here. When we come back we are going to talk about some more tips to help your kids build confidence and more.
JOHNER RIEHL: Welcome back, everybody! Today we are talking about building confidence in your kids. So thanks again for joining us, Laura. Let’s talk a bit more about encouraging our kids with some more tips on… Parents can say that: you know, maybe my kid…I don’t think that Whitaker is confident enough in this situation or whatever. So what are some ways that we can help the kids out?
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: So, there is a lot…Oh there are a lot of different things that we can do to like intentionally help with self-confidence. So we’ll talk about some of those. I just want to mention really briefly, because I think it’s important to know that the soil of the garden. I mean the attachment, the relationship you have with your child, the connection, unconditional love, respect, that’s kind of the foundation. You know, those are the things that are really going to help the garden to flourish or whatever.
JOHNER RIEHL: And so really paying attention to all of those aspects as opposed to just saying: sit down on your knees and play with Whitaker, but really focusing on some bigger aspects, like respect, unconditional love helps instill confidence.
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Yeah! Absolutely! It’s kind of the backbone, you know. And so there are certain tips, that we can…Again like we can try to intentionally help some of the struggles. But just to know that is those concepts that seem kind of basic, but they are really important to a child having this instilled sense of feeling good about themselves in the World.
JOHNER REIHL: Unconditional love.
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: So, unconditional love, I love you no matter what. I love you no matter what you do but I love you because of who you are. And so just thinking for the messages we are giving a child not only through what we are say but our non-verbal, you know, are you giving your child the message “I just … I like to listen to what you have to say. Your opinions are important”.
JOHNER REIHL: So then let’s talk about some tips like playing together with them. Is that a good thing to help or where do you help …?
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Yeah, absolutely. Playing together, I mean, it builds upon the soil which is your relationship and strengthens your relationship, it helps the child feel good about themselves. But there are also strategic things that you can do in the play to help your child gain sense of mastery, sense of like “I can do it”. So a classic example and I will just put myself out there again, I am going to tell you about the struggle, we are in the 18th month phase so we are shape-sorter phase right now.
So my son goes to the shape-sorter and I am immediately like “oh gosh, here we go” because he is learning frustration tolerance; he is learning how to take the time to try things and not throw them against the wall. So I have the triangle, I am trying to fit it in the circle. And so as a parent my inclination is like “oh, the triangle goes in the triangle hole”, I just want to save him, I want to rescue him because I know it leads to such frustration when he can’t get it in. But if I as a parent can take a step back and go “okay, this is good, he is practicing” this confidence building stuff, right, of trying to get the triangle in the right hole.
So that is something we can do or I couch parents with preschoolers a lot, you know, the child is building a building with magnet tiles and it keeps falling over and as a parent we want to just rush and go “oh, let’s build it this way so it will stand up straight”.
And I really try to help parents, you know, take those opportunities to just allow the child … just observe and kind of allow the child to keep trying and you will be amazed sometimes at how, you know, we will sit there for 20 minutes and the child keeps putting, it keeps falling and the child puts it back together again and it falls and puts it back together again and how much of that … the opportunity for that child to gain some mastery and to find some enjoyment in the doing and not so much the result.
JOHNER REIHL: And what I find with my kids a lot is when they try something new, they want to be good at it right away or they will totally flip their habits in hyper tantrum. But there are times, like when we went ice skating over the holidays and for the first time we took the four-year-old with us, put him on ice skates for the first time. And this was something that he really wanted to do and I think there was some preparation involved and he totally fell but it wasn’t … you know, we were expecting that he might fall and just be like … he would be super mad because he is not a great ice skater right away.
But he kept picking himself back up and I think it is like you talked about that if they somehow are able to see the task and are dedicated to it then they can build the confidence. And by the end of it, he would actually be able to take some steps all on his own, like baby skating. But there are other times where he gets a new toy and within five minutes, it is not doing exactly what he wants and he just throws it across the room because he is so frustrated.
And so I think that there is … somehow, like how can we help position the activities? Is it allowed a preparation or anything we can talk about what they are doing to help them see what a big deal it is?
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Do you mean like what do we say in those situations?
JOHNER REIHL: Well, I mean like how come ice skating he was so willing to use these tools but with like a new toy, he is not willing to stick with it. He is just wants it to do exactly what he wants.
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Yeah, so I think that the ice skating provides such a nice activity to in the moment be acknowledging and praising his efforts and continuing getting up when you fall and try again. And maybe later, since he is a little older, you know, reflecting back on that and how was that for you. You just … you kind of want to build that such a great strength that he has so he has it, it is just hard to apply … it is hard for all of us to apply to all the other situations. We need help sometimes in applying it to other situations but maybe you can …
JOHNER REIHL: Maybe it was a matter of expectations and like he was really talking about it and I think we prepared him a little bit that it was going to be really hard. And so his expectations were appropriately set as well for what was happening.
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Yeah, the preparation can help a lot so especially if you know your child struggles with the toy, maybe setting them up and prepping them before they begin playing with the toy – “it might be frustrating and if it is frustrating maybe there is a way we can work together to find a solution”.
JOHNER REIHL: I read another interesting tip about using the kids’ name that helps us build their confidence. Have you heard about that?
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: I am not sure.
JOHNER REIHL: And so what it was is just hearing their names was building confidence in themselves.
SUNNY GAULT: Well, I know when adults have conversations and I do this in business a lot, I like to … when I am talking to someone on the phone, I like to use their name a lot because I feel like … I don’t know if it is a confidence thing but it lets them know that I know who they are, you know what I am saying. I am not just speaking blankly to somebody, I like to use their names so they know that I am truly in a conversation with them. And so … I don’t know, maybe that builds up a little bit of confidence, I like it when people talk to me and address me by my name, even in the course of doing a show where somebody says “oh, you know, Sunny said this …” I don’t know, I like hearing my name. There is something to that.
JOHNER REIHL: And for a kid to hear it, really sort of affirms them as an individual, independent being.
SUNNY GAULT: Right, they are a part of the conversation, they are like an adult, you know, you are including them and making them part of it.
JOHNER REIHL: And not in a condescending Whitaker . . .
SUNNY GAULT: It is all about inflexion really.
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: And also, you know, a tip that I like to use a lot now is body positioning that we put ourselves in. So, there is a book, Amy Cuddy has a book – “Presence”, bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges and this is so cool. So her and her team of researchers found that your thoughts and feelings impact your body language but what her team of researchers found was that our body language also directly impacts our brain chemistry and our thoughts and feelings.
So she talks about how when you put yourself in a powerful position like putting your hands up in the air like in a Y or standing in the Wonder Woman pose with your hands on your hips, that they actually found that a lowered cortisol in the brain – so the stress hormone – raises testosterone which helps us to feel powerful and changes our thoughts and feelings and makes us feel more confident. So and you can do that with kids … with kids you can even like put a cape on them and you are a superhero.
SUNNY GAULT: That really does do wonders. I mean … your house too with three boys, I know my boys love it and actually for Christmas we got them all those different superheroes … he has got the shield from Captain America, the helmet from this guy and whatever. And they feel invincible when they wear these stuff.
JOHNER REIHL: Jules, put your hands on your hips right now. I am doing it right now and I have to say, I am ready … I feel like a powerful podcast host right now.
JULES MASS: Apparently, I do that quite a lot because the girls were copying me for a while there.
SUNNY GAULT: With the hands on the hips?
JULES MASS: Yes, the hands on the hips.
JOHNER REIHL: That’s funny. Alright, but let’s say that we have got … we built this great garden … listen, I got it … so we’ve got this great garden that we have built, right. And we have tended to it but things happen that are outside influences, there is a big windstorm, there is a big rainstorm. No, so we can control our garden only so much but then the weather – so that might be outside influences, maybe they go to school or preschool or something happens. So what can we do to help our kids or help our garden when it is not in our control? Are there any tools that we can provide or things we can help our kids to … I mean maybe the body posture is a great tip?
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Absolutely. Yes and I think part of it is helping your child to … let me use the example of … you have a kid who is – let’s say you are talking about preschool – so the child is struggling in preschool, maybe they are learning through … like we were talking about before … they are not necessarily fitting the mold, of being able to sit down on the carpet during circle time or they are taking toys from other kids and things like that.
So a lot of times, other kids start to pick up on the energy from your teacher and so you walk in to pick up your kid from preschool and it is like all the kids are up to you “Billy took the toy from me and Billy wasn’t staying on the carpet”. And so that has an impact on Billy and so sometimes we tell kids … we often tell kids “you made bad choices but that doesn’t mean you are a bad kid” but kids have a really hard time separating that and we do too.
So when we have something that happens that we are unhappy with we can take it on to … things don’t … I get tongue tied on the podcast today and I am like “I am never doing that again and I am a terrible public speaker and I also should just quit my career and mail it all in”. So, I am saying that it is really easy to get on that thought process and I have at least the coping mechanisms and the tools to kind of flush it out and say “okay, that was just a … I have never done that before, I have to give myself a break”.
So we really have to help kids to kind of flush that out too, to kind of mirror to them that “you are a good person and I love you and we are struggling with some things here”.
JOHNER REIHL: Yeah and give them the tools and I think that so it sounds a little bit like modeling good behaviour for the kids and also I go back to the soil too. I am glad that you brought that up at the beginning that, you know, the weather, the storm is to make sure that you have strong roots.
SUNNY GAULT: Boom, we are still on the gardening theme for all you green thumbs out there. I love it but I think too that … a part of it is there is no easy answer. Like, we can’t protect our kids from all of the hits it is going to take, you know, all of the inclement weather that is going to happen. It is like we want to but they are their own person and they are going to fall in tough times and they are kicks to their esteem and their confidence.
JOHNER REIHL: Right but the more that we can just sort of prepare them and give them the experiences and the tools and not put the triangle through the whole form to figure it out. Alright, well hopefully this will all help us build a little more confidence in our kids. I was thinking a lot about one particular kid with all that and the separation of the choices and you are not a bad person because like Whitaker makes … and I thing I said is “he will make some bad choices and we will talk to him and he will just …” he really internalizes, that’s just who he is.
And then, I know he is a good kid but I saw him trying to trip a kid on second base the other day playing baseball … what’s going on, what’s that decision and to think that he can’t separate the two … that’s just as who he is feeling is part of who he is … we have to do some work on the soil, sorry Sunny. But … anything else you would like to add or Jules, anything on the phone?
JULES MASS: Yeah, I have got a lot of work in that area too. I am an enabler, I know it about myself and I know that we spend a lot of time doing everything as a unit and we have been talking for a while about whether or not it would be a good idea to put them in different activities, sports wise, so that they have something that is all just about them because they are so used to having to share us and our attention that it must … and going back to the whole using their names specifically, it has to be hard to feel like you just lumped and together with your sisters.
JOHNER REIHL: Constantly, as one of that group.
LAURA CHRISTOFFERSON CELNAR: Oh my gosh! But there is also so much benefit in having such a strong family unit so I think you are being hard on yourself.
JULES MASS: I think … going back to just trying to find that balance, as long as you are trying and working on it, I mean, obviously nobody is perfect.
JOHNER REIHL: Except Sunny. Well, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you Laura and thank you Jules dialing in remotely. Thank you everyone for listening to Parent Savers today. For more information or if you want to learn more Laura, you can visit our website at www.newmommymedia.com and we will continue the conversation actually for members of our Parent Savers Club after we are done with some bonus content talking a little bit more about confidence and some of our experiences with confidence when we were young kids.
SUNNY GAULT: Alright, Parent Savers, you know we love to get mail from our listeners and so usually whenever I do get mail, I usually read it on the show. So this one comes from Rebecca and I really do appreciate what she had to say so Rebecca says:
“Hey, Parent Savers! I just wanted to thank you for your episode on Family Game Night Ideas”.
So I don’t know if you guys are familiar but I don’t know, maybe it was a couple of months ago, we did an episode on different games that you can do with your family and the importance of family game night, just kind of hanging out with your family and having a good time. So this is the episode that she is talking about. She continues, she says:
“It was really fun to hear about some of the games that worked in your homes and why your kids liked them so much. We have been inspired to try some of those games in our own home and even start our own family game night once a week. Thanks for all you do”.
Well, I want to thank you for sending this and it is so nice to hear from our listeners and to get the positive feedback, honestly you guys, it is what keeps us going, it is what keeps us producing these great episodes of Parents Savers for you.
So, thanks so much. I would love to hear what you guys think of the show and how our episodes have helped you. So please send me an email, you can do so through the New Mommy Media website; you can also send us a voicemail, we will play it on the show. All you have to do is go to www.newmommymedia.com, click on that grey banner on the side that says “Send voicemail” and you can actually use the microphone on your computer and send it that way so you never have to pick up a phone.
JOHNER RIEHL: That wraps up today’s episode of Parent Savers. Thanks so much for joining us! We appreciate you listening!
Don’t forget to check out our sister shows:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed
• This is Twin Talks for parents of multiples and
• Newbies for those going through it for the first time.
Okay, everyone put your hands on your hips! This is Parent Savers- empowering new parents!
This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
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