How many of us have it in our heads that we are bad at something, because of one thing another person told us when we were younger? A passing whispered comment about your kids like, “She’s not very good at sports” or “He’s so shy” are harmless statements that could shape who our kids think they are — and who they turn out to be.
When my husband’s 94-year-old grandma was dying, she regressed to the childhood version of herself. One of the things that she still talked about 90 years later was the nickname that her family gave her when she was a little girl: “Chubby.” Even though they meant it in a joking and endearing way, it hurt her feelings and affected her profoundly for 90 years. It was one of the last things she talked about before she passed away. Heartbreaking!
I don’t think anyone ever specifically told me that I was bad at math, but because it didn’t come naturally to me, I grew up thinking that I’m bad at math. What if I would have been given more compliments and confidence boosts about my math skills or admiration for my persistence and hard work? Would I have tried a little harder instead of usually giving up because I was “bad at math”? Even things like, “Our family is not a family of runners” made me think that being a person who liked to run was never something I could be.
What was said to you as a child that has affected who you are as an adult? Good or bad! Being told that I was good at giving presentations in high school has led to me never feeling nervous about having to present at work. What we say to our kids is so important — and I know a lot of you feel this way too.
I try really, really hard to compliment my two boys in ways that boost their confidence in very specific ways. I always want them to be people who dance at weddings, who sing in the car, who aren’t afraid to meet new people, and who have the confidence to make the right decisions for their bodies.
10 Compliments I Give My Kids to Boost Their Confidence:
- You’ve got great dance moves!
- I love your singing voice.
- You are such a creative artist!
- I love how you never give up.
- You are so strong!
- Your brain is really good at math.
- I love the outfit you picked out today!
- Way to listen to your body.
- You are such a kind friend.
- You are great at making friends!