As parents, we all want what's best for our children. We want them to be happy, healthy, successful, and free from danger. But we may not always know what it takes to make these things happen. Here's a list of conventional and not-so-conventional tactics that are proven to make your child stronger on the inside - where it counts most.
At first, some of these ideas may seem a bit more than unconventional. In fact, you might even think me to be in need of serious help in even suggesting them. But, let me ask you a question:
"If a parent is doing all the "right" things - the things that should affect their child in a positive way - and that child is still lacking in strong qualities like confidence and positive self-esteem...
...what do you do?"
By this point in your life, you've probably learned one of the most important lessons there is; and that is that: Things are not always what they seem. And often, you have to be able to see the "big picture" to be able to get the results you want. For example...
If I were to ask you if you would allow someone to thrust a piece of sharpened, cold steel into your child's body, you'd probably say "no." And, as well you should.
And yet, parents routinely take their children to medical clinics every day to have that precise thing done. Because, if they didn't, they run the risk of their child contracting some of the worst illnesses known to mankind.
Teaching The Lessons That Last a Lifetime
If you really want to help your child to develop an inner strength that will take them far in life - if you want to do everything you can to help them build the kind of rock-solid, inner strength that will allow them to live the life they choose, and to not be targeted as easy prey by the bullies, predators, and manipulators of the world, here's a few things you might want to be doing:
- 1) Help them find their passion. If your child shows an interest in something, no matter how strange you think it is, try to support it. This will teach your child that his interests are important, even if only to him.
- 2) Let them fail. That's what I said. There is a lot to learnn from failure. Ask any successful person because they've done it a whole lot more than anybody else! As long as the failure will not cause loss of life or be unsafe, let your child experience failure. This will teach her that some things are a challenge and the importance of commitment to worthwhile things. It also allows them to feel the overwhelming sense of pride in accomplishing something that required work.
- 3) Make them earn things. Ownership of something is never taken as seriously as when we had to work hard to get it. This holds true just as much for children as for adults. This will teach your child the value of self-reliance and the importance of goal-setting to get what they want.
- 4) Walk tall and don't complain. Nothing conveys a sense of pride, confidence, and leadership like good posture and an upright stance - both inside and out. It will be difficult for your child to feel confident and strong on the inside when he walks around with slumped shoulders, bowed head, and shuffling feet. And nothing screams "victim," like constant complaining. If yoou do these things, fix them. You can't tell your child to not do something they see you doing all the time. Walking tall and seeking solutions are hallmarks of leaders and strong "individuals." Oh, and by-the-way, these things also signal to a would-be bully or other attacker that your child just might be able to protect themselves.
- 5) Tell them that they're strong, confident, and other obvious things. This way, your child will learn to talk to themselves this way. Often, the only things children here are corrections and comments when they've done something wrong. Don't praise your child when they've excelled - do it when they are just being them! This teaches them that they don't have to build a Taj Mahal or paint a Mona Lisa to be recognized - that they're good and "okay" just "being themselves."
- 6) Get them involved in martial arts, dance, or some other study. The martial arts, as-well-as other forms of artistic expression and skill development, offer more than physical activity. They offer a means of learning self-discipline, focus, respect, and many other of the important life skills needed for success. And, while I'm talking about activities...
- 7) Make your child finish what he or she starts. Far too many parents allow their child to start and quit activities again and again. And then, they complain about all the running around they're doing, or can't understand why she wants to drop out of school. They ask, "where did she learn it was okay to quit?" Umm... mirror anyone?
Many parents counter with things like...
"I don't want to force him to do anything he doesn't want to do." To which I say...
I bet these same parents "make" their child do at least a half-dozen things every day that, if left to his own preferences, he wouldn't do. Things like wiping after using the toilet, brushing his teeth, and a whole bunch more. In fact, using my analogy at the beginning about getting your child their shots...
Does it matter that your child doesn't like it? Does it matter that they cry?
Did you do it anyway?
Why? To be mean?
Because, as their parent who loves them, you were looking after their well-being - you were making decisions for them that they were not capable of making for themselves.
Our children are just that, children. Until a certain age (in their late teens), they will choose to do everything based solely on pain or pleasure. That is, unless they are guided. As adults, we know why some things are important that our children are clue less about.
Instead of giving in to laziness (theirs or ours), temper tantrums, or any of the other tactics they will try to get "their way," you'll feel a much deeper sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that you had a hand in creating that strong, dependable, and confident leader that will be your child in the years to come. Sure beats the alternative of "hoping" that they turn out "okay." Doesn't it?