Do Parents Need To Build Confidence In Their Kids? by Maureen Eich VanWalleghan

Today, I am truly inspired after having a conversation that included me expressing my desire to build confidence in my daughter. The conversation was with a person who is helping to facilitate some of my daughter’s education. The comment that came back was something like “confidence is overrated.” It was a moment that gave me pause and we were not in a position to unpack what that person meant. So here’s some insight into how my brain works: all day I have been thinking about what did I mean when I said I wanted to build confidence in my daughter. This is my third post today about this concept of confidence building, but in each post I have considered the issue from different angles.

What I love about the Motherhood Later Than Sooner blog is that everyone reading here and writing here is thinking about how best to raise kids and employing a lot of life experience doing it; though that doesn’t make the childrearing process easier, but rather in my view just more deliberate.

Confidence is one of the words right now that is being using a lot with kids. It also falls into the realm of being used pejoratively to describe generations that have or have had the notion of promoting confidence as their theme, so much so that the term snowflake comes to mind when considering what building confidence means.

A discussion of confidence building is tricky because the issue of building resilience also comes into play, which I have also discussed in this post for Motherhood Later. For me, resilience and confidence are two sides of the same coin. It is interesting to note that the word resilience is being used more and more in considering how to raise happy, healthy, contributing human beings. The post referenced was from when my daughter was in 4th grade. Now she is a teenager and the issue of confidence building is often on my mind as she is out in the world alone more and more. And what does it take for a young woman to move confidently through what can still be a hostile world for women and girls? This is very much an unresolved questions that can keep me up at night.

So the real issue is can confidence be enhanced as well as resiliency? Pondering…still pondering…yeah, still pondering this. Here’s what I figured out from today’s posts. I believe confidence is borne of resilience. When I was using the word confidence, in my mind I was thinking about how persevering through difficult tasks that have achievable and successful outcomes can create confidence. And that the resiliency needed to keep working at something that is difficult can also enhance confidence. That’s a lot of jargon, educator speak. Old school lingo is in the phrasing practice makes perfect or hard work wins the day.

But as the queen of  semantics often old school lingo doesn’t work for me because embedded in certain language are notions about how the world must work. There is a bigger spiritual piece for me in this, which it much too big to unpack in this post. And so considering what confidence, resiliency and even perseverance are and how best to instill these qualities in children, who then as adults have these qualities as they move through the world: pondering…still pondering…yeah, still pondering.


You can check out my other posts about confidence at Welcome to Mommyville and Run Mo Run.


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