{FAMILY} Teaching My 8yo Daughter About Self Confidence

Eight seems to be an age of self-awareness and unbridled insecurity. My 8-year-old daughter has suddenly become so self-conscious – constantly questioning her looks, her physical abilities and her mental intelligence. I always reassure her that she is beautiful, talented and smart, but it’s tough for an almost pre-teen to believe those words when they come from her mother, who of course loves her unconditionally.

I’ve always focused on teaching my children to be self-confident beings (and I do my best to be a self-confident mom as well, because it’s important to practice what you preach). But a big part of self confidence, is actually believing in yourself, not relying on others to believe for you.

The other day, my beautiful girl – eyes welling up with tears – asked me why she was finding it so hard to remember the steps in her ballet class. “I try so hard to get them right” she said softly. And I completely understood where she was coming from. Choreography is hard! I told her that I was also struggling to remember the steps in my adult ballet class, and that learning new moves is something that just comes more naturally to some people than it does for others. I went on to explain:

“Dancing is like learning how to play a musical instrument. You have to start with learning how to play the notes before you can learn how to play a whole song. With dancing, you have to learn the steps before you can master the choreography of a whole dance. Keep practicing, and before you know it, you’ll be playing your song.”

I’m not sure if she fully understood the message behind my simile (because I love a good comparison), but I think the empathy in my personal story and in my comparing dance to music, made her realize that she wasn’t alone in her struggle.

I hope that she’ll continue to come to me when she’s feeling down or insecure, and I hope that I can find the words to help lift her spirits.

self confidence

Conversations With My Kidlets

I know my children are still very young, and I haven’t even seen a fragment of the changes to come, but it amazes me how much their personalities have changed over the years. I’m starting to discover that my 4 year old is stubborn, intelligent, inquisitive, humorous, and bright. At the age of (almost) 2, I can already tell that my son is going to be athletic, entertaining, loving, and clever.
Tonight I had dinner alone with my kidlets, and I had a seperate conversation with each of them. Here’s just a small taste of what it’s like talking to my 2 year old vs my 4 year old in my house:
Mommy: So how was your day at daycare sweetheart? What did you do?
2 YO: You do.
Mommy: Did you get to play with your friends?
2 YO: Friends.
Mommy: Did you eat all of your lunch?
2 YO: Eat my lunch.
Mommy: Well I missed you very much while I was at work today, did you miss me too?
2 YO: Mommy, more milk please. Car? Car go? All done. No dinner, all done.
Mommy: What about you honey, what did you do at daycare today?
4 YO: Nothing.
Mommy: Didn’t you have swimming today?
4 YO: Ya, but I don’t like swimming so I didn’t do what my teacher told me to do and he told me to take a time out.
Mommy: Well that’s not acceptable, when your teacher asks you to try something you need to listen.
4 YO: I don’t need to know how to swim, I can wear a life jacket.
Mommy: Not acceptable. Promise me you’ll listen next time.
4 YO: (rolling eyes) Fine.
Mommy: Take another bite of your dinner please.
4 YO: I don’t want to, and it’s my body, so if I say I’m full, I’m right.
Mommy: I’d like you to take 3 more bites please, and please don’t be rude to your mommy.
4 YO: (rolls eyes). Fine. Hey mommy? Do birds ever get stuck in the clouds? And why is it colder in the Fall than in the Summer? And why is there ice on the car in the morning?
Mommy: Take another bite please…
I know many of you have older children – what do I have to look forward to in the upcoming years? Does it get any better?