What about girls?

How we can accidentally make our kids helpless

self-belief Oct 31, 2023

We can't give our kids self-confidence.

We can't buy it. 

We can't create it with praise. 

Real self-confidence comes from mastery and the road to mastery is paved with struggle.

When we try to protect our kids from struggle -- as we did as first-time parents! -- we risk raising kids who feel helpless and don't believe in themselves. 

The only way our kids will develop self-confidence is from within.



As first-time parents, we absolutely got this wrong because we protected our first daughter and didn't allow her to struggle. And I'll give you an example of that. When she was at the playground, when she was frustrated, we'd lift her up on the climbing frame, we hover around, you know, we'd make sure that, you know, her day at the playground, wasn't anything but, you know, exceptional and happy. And then our second daughter came along and a couple of things had changed. By that point, we were well into our research with this book, and we understood that real self-esteem and confidence comes from doing. It comes from mastery. And also we were second-time parents, so we didn't have the time to hover around the way we did the first time. And so our second daughter, she didn't expect us to help her on the playground. Our first daughter would just stand there and put her arms up and look at us, and we realized that we had taught her to be helpless. But then with Ivy, I watched her one day struggle to get on this climbing frame and it was really hard and frustrating, and she tried different ways. And then she got on the top. And she turned around and that look of confidence and self-esteem in her face, I could not have given it to her in any way. You cannot buy it. You cannot gift it. That comes from within, it comes from mastery, and the road to mastery is paved with struggle. And I realized that all those times, I thought I was being a good parent by helping my first daughter, I wasn't helping her at all because I was denying her the self-confidence of mastery.

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