In today’s world where expectations are at an all time high, and information overload is dangerously sky rocketing, there is a phenomenon which has been gradually creeping up on parents all around us….a crisis in confidence.
Once upon a time, people just got on with parenting. They didn’t care if what they were doing was right, or whether they were being judged for it. Without these insecurities coming home to roost, confidence as a parent could flourish.
Now, we are troubled, benchmarking, confidence-suffering individuals who are always angsting over whether we are doing the right thing as a parent, and this comes with its own set of problems. We need to get back to being confident parents. But how? Thankfully, leading child behaviour expert and author Richard Daniel Curtis, otherwise known as The Kid Calmer can help us get back on track with his advice in this instalment of Expert Editions….
What does being a confident parent actually mean?
To me a confident parent is a parent who makes choices about how they want their lives to be as parents. They recognise the baggage in their minds that causes them doubt and have learnt ways to cope with them. By being self-aware they allow their children to develop high levels of self-esteem because they are showing their children how to give themselves boosts all of the time.
Why is it important to be a confident parent?
Being a confident parent is a choice and many chose not to overcome the self-doubt associated with parenting. We live in a world where parents are made to feel bad all of the time for little things, even talking to experts like me is seen as a failure. When we need help with our car we see an expert, we see a mechanic, children do not come with rules books, so why shouldn’t parents have the confidence to seek support for the bits they find difficult? Part of the help that I offer is about spending time reflecting on where the parent wants their child to be in the future, so that they can have the confidence that they are moving them closer to that every day.
Why, in your view, do so many parents doubt themselves?
The parents I work with are often anxious about getting it right for their child, they’re often worried about the next stage for their child and feeling the pain of the current parenting dilemmas they are facing. They don’t want to feel judged or worthless, but many avoided seeking support as they feel that’s how they’ll be treated. It’s only once they’ve made contact and joined the other parents on the course that they realise what they’re feeling is natural and learn to overcome it.
What role do you think guilt has to play in a parent’s confidence levels?
As parents, there is often a lot of internal guilt about things we should or shouldn’t be doing. Very often we try to put right things that happened to us in our childhood, rather than the things that are happening to our children. We’re focusing on guilt from the past, not enjoying the journey today and overcoming that is part of the journey to increasing your confidence as a parent.
Could you share some techniques to help improve parenting confidence?
Use family rituals (habits that are so formed you don’t even think about them) as much as you can, have meals together, have a set bedtime routine, have family rules. This means that you can focus on supporting your child to stick to them, rather than having to be the ones dishing out the rules and expectations; you are now a supportive parent rather than a parent who needs to bark orders.
If there was only one piece of advice you would give a parent whose confidence was faltering it would be…
Focus on developing your child’s “Sense of I”, make sure they know who they are, that they are important and build their self-esteem. This will give them so many strategies in the future to overcome the barriers that you have faced.
Author and leading behaviour expert Richard Daniel Curtis is on a mission to change the way children grow up around the world. His lectures, interviews, writing and videos on the things parents need to know about tomorrow’s world has led to him becoming the first Parenting Futurist.
Richard has worked with children exhibiting extreme behaviours and families struggling to cope with them. Known for his no nonsense, quick impact behaviour solutions, Richard works with mothers, fathers, grandparents, carers and professionals to help understand what their behaviour means and how to deal with it, giving families solutions that have life-long effects.
Read previous issues of Expert Editions here.
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