10 tips for raising happy and self-confident children

You know, being a parent is a very difficult job. I once heard a pediatrician who equated the work of a parent with that of a person who, having only a car license, drives a plane … one wrong move is enough to cause incalculable damage!

Here are 10 useful tips for dads and mothers who want to know the most effective ways to raise their children happy and confident.

Shoot like a spring every time your child trips and falls or every cough at night, go out of your way to always (and only) prepare his favorite dishes; spending whole afternoons keeping him busy with dozens of activities around the house to keep him from getting bored, all of which as a parent you think are proof of your deep love for your child. And instead…

And instead they can turn into a minefield in which it will be increasingly difficult to be able to move without risking doing damage. It is natural, as a parent, to worry about the health of your children, to try to avoid them unnecessary suffering, to protect them from every possible pitfall that life can offer, to want the best always and in any case.

But, at the same time, you know that living an overly protected childhood – living in the so-called glass jar – has no positive effect on children’s growth. On the contrary: it makes them more fragile and insecure, unable to face difficulties alone, precisely because they are used to living comfortably under “mommy’s skirt”.

But, as in all things, becoming aware is already a good step towards the solution. Guiding children towards independence and being responsible, respecting their natural inclinations is not an impossible mission: just follow the guidelines indicated by psychologists and pedagogists and apply them with common sense.

Don’t be overprotective

From research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, being positive does not reduce the dangers or problems your children will face. Also because it is not true that today problems and dangers have increased tenfold compared to the past: they have not increased or decreased, they have only changed. The number of children has drastically decreased and this involves greater attention focused on fewer children, with the real risk of not giving them the right spaces for the harmonious and harmonious development of body and mind.

Your children must understand that dangers are found everywhere in the world around them and that they can fall and get hurt, because this is how they learn to defend themselves and grow up healthy, strong, happy, aware and responsible.

Set limits

Borders limit us but also serve to keep us safe and, above all, to make their role in the game of life clear and simple for everyone.

Faced with tears, screams and tantrums, the first thought common to all parents is to concede to silence. Instead, what may seem like a small and harmless failure, teaches children that they can get what they want just by behaving aggressively.

Knowing that parents are willing to support their frustration and difficult times for the sake of their children, gives children security: they will know that, if and when they need, mom and dad will always be there and ready to protect and help them. But they will also know that, first, they have to try to do it on their own.

Let me experience it

No one is saying to abandon children to themselves, amidst the difficulties: but to give them the tools to learn how to overcome defeats and disappointments. In fact, when a child can solve a problem on his own, he is fueling his self-esteem and learning to juggle difficulties. And he will continue to do so even as an adult. This translates into intervening as a parent only when strictly necessary to guide the child avoiding dangerous situations.

In fact, Maria Montessori writes in her text at the basis of modern pedagogy: “The little one reveals himself only when he is left free to express himself, not when he is coerced by some educational scheme or by a purely external discipline”.

Send him to kindergarten

Nothing compulsory of course: the psychologist Antonio Pellai and the pedagogist Roberta Balsemin agree. But bear in mind that children need to experiment with different figures than those of mom and dad. If you are lucky enough to be able to benefit from the help of grandparents or uncles, do it.

It has been repeatedly shown that sending children to kindergarten at three years old (or in general organizing to go back to work and entrust the children to grandparents or babysitters) does not create monsters. The kindergarten experience is positively stimulating for all children, because they discover new rules and new educational styles, improve social skills and learn to live and defend themselves as a group. 

Empower him

The advice comes from scholar Jacqueline Bickel, co-author of the book “How to educate children quickly and well”. A self-contained child will be a happy adult. And there are many activities that can help your child gain autonomy: eating alone, raking the garden, taking out the garbage, making the bed before going to school, preparing the satchel on their own are some occasions in which children put themselves together. to the test, with themselves and in the presence of their parents.

And if responsibility translates into taking the puppy home for a walk, your child will also learn to be empathetic and altruistic: skills that can be learned in the field and in direct contact with those who really “need you”.

The only caveat: responsibilities must be proportionate to age. Let yourself be guided by common sense and you will be sure to make the right choice for everyone.

Let him get bored

Filling your child’s days and not leaving him lonely spaces, limits the development of his creative abilities, does not learn to play alone and recreate his world with new rules and new characters. This has been supported for years by Raffaele Morelli, voice and face known to most for his radio programs, presence on the big screen and also for the digital direction of riza.it.

Life cannot always be just action. As you feel, physically and mentally, the need to switch off and relax listening to good music or watching a movie or even sipping a glass of wine while admiring the nature that surrounds you, so your child needs his “moments of boredom” to spend lying on his bed or on the sofa looking at his toes.

Being able to survive an entire afternoon at home without technological proposals or from parents, pushes children to be self-sufficient, to find a way to fill their time and be proud and satisfied with the choices made without anyone’s interference: ” alone”.

Spend your best time with him

Spending quality time with your child is critical to their growth and personality development. It is frustrating to spend a lot of time with a person who does not listen to you or who does not answer your questions or who is limited to a forced smile accompanied by a “good” to your requests for opinions.

If you are tired, if you are unwell, if you have little desire to be with your child for any reason, do not feel obliged or guilty: your child will understand. And you can be sure of it because he doesn’t care about having a puppet sitting on the sofa pretending to play: he wants a real and interactive relationship, with a person who listens to him, who answers his questions and is ready to turn into whatever the rules of the game.

Help him find prospects

The day will come when your child will tell you that he wants to leave the soccer team or that he no longer wants to go to catechism school or that he has discovered that he no longer likes singing but loves volleyball. And what will you do? You can “force” him to keep faith with the commitment made (relying on his feelings of guilt in the event that you have already faced a considerable expense) or you can help him not to give up at the first difficulty, to reflect on the reasons behind his decision, to talk about it with the comrades to understand their reactions as well.

Looking at things from new perspectives, in addition to leading to personal emotional enrichment, also helps to adapt and find the best way to act in the face of various types of difficulties.

Apologize and thank you

Nothing is due to us. And it is good that your child learns this quickly too, to prevent his personality from taking a bad turn. Remember that we learn by imitation and not by concepts. If you want to teach your child to forgive, to be kind and selfless, to show their gratitude, you first need to act accordingly. The magic words that can open all the doors of the world are always the same: “sorry”, “please” and “thank you”. Use them with your child. 

Apologize to him every time you go wrong. You are a parent, not a god who came down to earth: you can make mistakes too and recognizing it can only do good for both you and your child. Things are not expected, but they are asked with kindness: it is a question of respect, tolerance and humanity.

And how much more beautiful the world would be if we all became aware of it. Giving thanks is healthy, for those who give and for those who receive. It makes us feel appreciated and, consequently, also makes us appreciate more who and what surrounds us. Giving thanks is not an act of weakness. And it is also one of the pillars of good education.

Don’t take yourself seriously and think positive

If you want your child not to spend whole days at home, alone, for fear of confronting his peers, get him used to dealing with relationships creatively: joke, play the court jester, laugh at yourself and don’t get too angry. serious.

In this way he will learn to manage friendships and even stress, therefore also to improve his social success. And last but not least, I’m sure you know perfectly well that negativity is a dead end: if you get angry, he gets angry and you get angry more, making him more angry too (and so on to infinity and back) .

Try to deal with the little daily hitches with purpose, show off your best smile and you will see their eyes full of joy and your relationship going well. In twenty years he will be able to face the opportunities that life will offer him in a more fruitful way: he will certainly be a better person.

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