Helping Kids Who Give Up Too Easily Build Confidence

Uncategorized Mar 17, 2019


How do you help your child develop the confidence to take more risks when they easily give up and just say, “I can’t do it.”

First, of all have them reframe the I can't statement.    The easiest way to do that is to add "yet" to the end of the statement.   I tell them, when you say, "I can't do it, your brain believes you, and makes it harder for you."   

Here are some other ways to reframe negative thinking:

Instead of "This is too hard.", try "This will require hard work and good strategies to master."

Instead of "I am afraid I will make a mistake.", try "I learn from my mistakes and get better."

Instead of "This is hard for me. It is easier for my friends.", try, "I am becoming smarter everyday. I grow my brain by learning hard things!"

Next, allow your child to solve his or her own problems.   Try language like this, "That does seem like a problem.  What have tried so far?   What will you try next?”

Teach your child about the power of his or her thoughts.   Here is a powerful demonstration to reinforce the power of positive thinking:

First, have your child tap the outside of their two hands together (the side where the pinky finger is) together 20 times.  Then, have him/her touch thumb and index finger together on one hand.  Then touch the thumb and index finger of the other hand around the circle made by the first hand.   Tell them to hold their fingers together as tight as they can so that when they try to pull them apart, they can't break the circles.   Now, have them say something positive about themselves out loud, such as "I am an amazing singer." or "I am an epic skateboarder."   Then, have them try to break the circle.   Most likely, the circles will hold tight.  

Then, have them think about something they don't like about themselves, and say that out loud.   Perhaps, "I am shy and I have trouble making friends." or "I suck at math."  

Try breaking the circle again.   The circles will probably break pretty easily.    Tell them that you want to help them regain their power, so you want them to think about and say something positive, again.   After they make the positive statement, have them try to pull the circles apart again, and you will probably find that they are once again strong, and hold tight.   Conclusion:   Thinking positive thoughts makes us physically stronger, and thinking negative thoughts makes us physically weaker.   

Another tip is to celebrate mistakes.    Explain to your child that one of the best ways we learn is by making mistakes because our brain has an "error filter."   When we make a mistake, the brain makes a note, "That didn't work.  Next time try something different."    So, mistakes are not something to be upset about, they are just part of the learning process.    "Now we know that doesn't work, and we're one step closer to finding the right answer."   

Finally, remember that success breeds success, so take some time to review daily successes either at dinner each night or as part of the bedtime routine.   We had a family vision and values statement, so the rules in our house were pretty simple.   1.  Respect and love yourself.   2.  Respect and love other people.   3.  Respect and take care of our own and other people's belongings.   4.  Be responsible.   Each night at dinner, everyone told what they did well that day on each of those 4 points, and how they might be able to improve the next day.   



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