We unfortunately live in an increasingly world where boys and girls are being bombarded with negative influences every where they look. In a time when you can’t pass a bookshop or social square that says ‘girls can do anything’ or the ‘little girl who dared to dream’ it’s time to readdress the balance. We’re not taking away the positive response that these strong girls club messages represent – far from it – but, boys need that confidence bolster too. In fact EVERY KID needs it. So, how do we teach boys that a confident and positive outlook is very different from arrogance. And, that being a boy that is kind, gentle, safe, trustworthy, strong, caring – is most definitely not a weakness.
5 Rules for raising Confident Boys in the 21st Century
- Big boys do cry
From an early age, boys can be made to feel that they should bottle up their emotions so as not to appear weak, which can be a lot to bear for a young child. Encourage your little boy to share his feelings and allow him to be upset about his problems before working through them together and moving on to a fun, playful topic.
- If at first you don’t succeed…
When your son sweeps the Junior Monopoly board off the table and storms off in a sulk, try to resist the urge to give him a firm telling off. Young boys are often full of bravado and tend to take failure more personally than little girls. If your child has a disappointment, point out all of the things that he did well and encourage him to learn from his mistakes, ensuring any future success will be especially sweet.
- Risky Business
Every parent wants to protect their child from life’s risky scenarios, but do this too often for your little boy and you could be damaging his sense of adventure and independence. Taking risks and branching out from the safety of the parental cocoon is an essential part of growing into a confident young man. Encourage your son to try something new every day whether it’s climbing up high in an adventure playground, riding a skateboard or trying an exotic new food. He may find a new passion or you may end up with kiwi fruit on your carpet but he will certainly have had a new experience which is always a positive thing.
- One man’s meat is another man’s poison
Every little boy has his own special set of likes and dislikes; your son may love sports and toy cars, or perhaps he prefers baking and crafts. Boost your child’s self-esteem by encouraging his unique personality and praising his efforts, never assume that he should fit in to the stereotype of his gender or age group.
- Practice as you Preach
We all know children learn from example and that your son’s most influential example is likely to be you. We all suffer from doubts, failures and disappointments but it is the way we cope with these challenges that affects our self worth. Tell your son if you achieve something you are proud of, explain to him that although your cupcakes are a little wonky they still taste heavenly and that even though you may not be David Beckham, you can still have a marvellous time kicking a football around the back garden with him.
READ MORE: 10 Great Books on Raising Sons
>> READ MORE ON RAISING CONFIDENT CHILDREN WITH JUNIOR