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Raising Confident Kids

Updated: Oct 21, 2020


Words have power.

There are words and phrases in our everyday language that actually chip away at our abilities; that have us doubt our worth, and this is also true with children.

Kids (like all of us) have their own critical voice - the voice inside their heads that tells them that somehow, someway, they are not good enough.

Sometimes, it is easy to see and hear this happening --"I suck." " I'm bad at this" "I can't do Math." -- but other times it's more subtle. And, once embedded, these thoughts permeate into all aspects of life - school, sports, even social situations.

Here are 4 red flag phrases that are an indication of a lack of confidence:

1. "I DON'T GET IT."

Usually said with a whine, "I don't get it" is a statement of defeat.

It an 'I quit"...once said, no alternative explanation of the problem is being listened to. It's final.

If your child says this, try not to get caught up in the drama. Ask, instead, what they don't get. Have them revisit the problem and see what it is that's keeping them stuck. This flips the switch. Look for where the misunderstanding is and open up the possibility of "getting it"; it helps keep the mind open to alternative ways of thinking about the problem, issue, or situation.

2. "I'LL TRY"

"I'll try" is a statement of appeasement. Trying means you child is already in the process of believing it's not going to happen. It's a hedge bet; and it has a hint of dishonesty. It's like a parent saying "we'll see" - everyone knows that's a weak "no".

This allows the person (child or adult) not to take a stand; not to be in integrity.

Like Yoda says. "Do. Or do not. There is no try."


Similar to "I don't get it", this is a statement of resignation. "I'm not good enough, smart enough. I lack ability".

Instead of saying "It's too hard", look at it as a challenge. It's something that is going to take some time and effort (and possibly some help) to figure out...but, to quote Marie Forleo, "everything is figure-out-able."


This is a tricky one.

The question to always ask is "Is it your best effort?"

If your child can honestly answer that it is, then it is good enough.

We don't want our kids to be hung up on "perfection". Nothing is perfect. And that can keep them stuck in the cycle of never being good enough.

If it's "good enough" because of frustration or a lack of caring, then it is not acceptable.

"Anything worth doing is worth doing well."

Our minds believe that words that come out of our mouths. And

the beliefs that start and are set in childhood will stay with your children for the rest of their lives. This is why it is so important to help our kids learn how to recognize and quiet, shift, reign in that critical voice.

Which, if any, of these phrases does your child use? And what is your response?

Mary Kerwin is an Educator, certified Coach and an expert in helping kids to develop the confidence and self-esteem skills that they need to thrive.

"Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny."

~Mahatma Gandhi



is an expert in helping kids to develop the confidence and self-esteem skills that they need to thrive now, and grow into happy, confident, successful adults. Her more than 40 years in education, along with her training as a coach and practical experience gained from raising her own 4 children, give her an understanding of the needs of each child, as well as the needs of a parent. This makes her uniquely qualified to help children, support parents, and nurture tomorrow’s leaders. Her programs provide hands-on experiences for children allowing them to explore and grow while building skills and having fun.


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We'll look at their goals, challenges they are facing, opportunities they might be missing. We'll also uncover hidden problems that may be sabotaging their desired results. You'll leave the session feeling renewed, re-energized, and inspired to get results faster and easier than you thought possible. And you'll have a plan of action to do just that. "Action is the foundational key to all success." Picasso

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