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September 16, 2010


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Well said!


I agree with you completely on this. I just had a disagreement with my husband on this very topic. My view is that confidence has SO much to do with how they are treated by their parents when they are young. He said that confidence has to do with looks and talents. I have known extremely attractive people with no confidence at all, and I have known very unattractive people with tons of confidence. I do think talent has a play. Being good at something (and also belonging to a group) gives people confidence, which is why I am a fan of team sports.
I was only teased a few times and my reaction(or lack of one) was such that it didn't go anywhere.
My son (at 3 1/2) is SO hard on himself, which worries me. He gets so upset when he messes up. It upsets me because Jim and I are always praising him and telling him he can do things. Are there any good books you know of on building confidence in your kids?


I'm so glad you noted that sometımes the way our kıds respond ıs due to genetıcs or who they are; my Paco ıs super sensıtıve. He knows he's whıp smart and cute and funny, but he crumbles under the slıghtest sense of crıtıcısm. As someone who remembers beıng a hyper-sensıtıve kıd, all I can say ıs that I crıed and crıed my way through a bunch of years, took everythıng ın the gut, and eventually learned copıng and bravada. Now I can genuınely feel ınsıde that "mean" people should just shut up and be better!

Jen on the Edge

We've had some minor issues with Mean Girls since 1st grade. Luckily, most have it has not been directed at my girls, but we've taken the opportunity to talk with our girls about the other girls' behavior every time something happens. We've talked about how a girl is manipulating and why they might be doing so and how our girls can respond. Our older girl has four different girls in her extended group who have either been bitchy toward other girls or played mind games with our girl or something else equally unfriendly. So at this point, our daughter is friendly to them, but does not confide in them, nor is she surprised when they pull out their bad behavior.


Couldn't agree with you more, Jenn. As a formerly bullied kid, with way too low self-esteem at the time, I can say with 20/20 vision that if I'd had confidence in myself I wouldn't have been a target of a small-minded, and likely emotionally injured bunch of "means." The thing with bullying, as I've discovered painfully, is that the wounds last far too long and require far too much work to get over. Confidence from the beginning is definitely favorable. So glad your kids got it!

green girl in wisconsin

I honestly think that better training for "bully issues" involves giving victims the tools to react. There will always be mean people, but there don't have to be targets--AMEN! A little self-confidence, some effective training in how to respond to a bully (research suggests that most bullies AND pedophiles back off when faced with a kid who confronts them or tells them to go away) and perhaps (my bias here;)) martial arts training would nip bullying in the bud in every neighborhood and school.
I did a lot of role-playing with Travis this summer to prepare him for dealing with anyone making fun of him being a new kid or for repeating a grade. As it happens, it has NOT come up yet, and I believe a lot of it's due to his confidence--he believes he can handle it and that shows in his posture and his attitude!

busy bee suz

I think you are 'right on' with this.
Both of my girls are empathetic (we taught this early on) and have fairly good self confidence.
Linds did deal with some mean girls in 7th grade, and she got through it with some coaching from her sister and I.
Shortly thereafter she said to me: I know 'she' just is not happy with herself, therefore she is trying to make ME feel bad about ME; and that is not gonna happen"

I was so proud!

On the apathy side, we always talk about standing up for someone who you see is being bullied...and they have and still do!

Life As I Know It

You are absolutely right. Teaching confidence is important. It's difficult, as a parent, to want to keep them close and at the same time teach them independence and confidence.
We've been fortunate that we've not had to deal with bullying (yet?). It's heartbreaking to see your kid unhappy, no matter what the cause.


We have always sought to make our kids self reliant. We tended to make them do things like order for themselves in restaurants, learn to speak up and ask questions they had when were out in public places. I think that helped with their confidence.

When it came to dealing with people, I talked to them a lot about what might be behind their behavior. When a kid called them a name I asked if they agreed with that kid - and if they didn't then I asked why they cared? What they know about themselves was much more important than what someone else said - and if there was some truth in it, then they should look at their actions and maybe make some changes.

Because my older kids are twins and we made an issue of them watching out for each other, they had a tendency to be the same way with their friends. They were very intolerant of bullying of any kind.


My 15 and 17yr olds seem to be genuinely shocked when someone tries to bully them. They seem to be resistant to bully tactics, perhaps because both are the kind of people who tend to live more in their heads.. they aren't super social and don't seem to care about their popularity. My 12 yr old is completely opposite. She wants everyone to like her, is overly sensitive to slights, and tends to be always involved in some sort of drama. In another family she could possibly have become a mean girl but we are pretty hard on those character traits. Now that she's swimming, and has a more constructive outlet for her natural competitiveness, I'm definitely seeing a reduction in the drama.


Having faith in your child's abilities from early breeds self-confidence in them. Stressing the importance of empathy.
Encouragement for their endeavours and loving them for the persons they are - without turning a blind eye to things that need to be addressed.
Lots of prayers that your gut-feelings are the right ones...
I guess that's my recipe and it seems to have worked well on my son.
You just said it all with such eloquence!

San Diego Momma

I need to pick your brain, I see.
I've been having issues with Toots...and it's concerning me.
Glad I read this today b/c it's given me a direction in which to start.



Self efficacy breeds self-confidence.
Love this post.


We try to build confidence by boosting trust, independence and resilience.On any given day the kids know we love them, expect them to try their best but it is not the end of the world if it doesn't work out.
Meanness is simply not tolerated and if it is happening there will usually be a discusssion as to why that individual has lost control of the situation or their mind!
Calm, rational explainations(even though YOU might be flamin' mad...) go a long way with kids.It doesn't matter that as the parent YOU said it, it matters that as the child they understand WHY you said it and MEAN it. No back pedaling allowed! Respect is a big deal here and I think it has made all the difference. We are frequently amazed by them and will be the first to admit, they are better people than we are! We surely do not have it all figured out and because they are kids, the monkey wrench gets thrown in regularly. But the situation never gets so far gone we can't rein it back in if need be.

I'll tell you where you can put your bible

Want to know about teasing? Try raising an obviously gay son. It is non-stop from 6th through 7th. Mostly from the never-miss-a-Sunday Christian kids. Parents? Please teach your kids: "That's so gay!" is NOT okay.

Becky in Upstate NY

Thank you so much this post and the comments from readers. My daughter is 7 and the neighborhood kids (that just moved in at the beginning of summer) have been brutal to her. I know my child isn't innocent all the time. She's stubborn, strong-willed, and an only child. Sometimes she does have a hard time in a group situation not being able to be the center of attention. She wants to lead all of them. The problem I have is that when one kid says something mean then all six join in and gang up on my girl. I've repeatedly talked to the kids and to the parents of these kids and nothing changes. My girl has a lot of self confidence but I'm worried that she's losing it ever so slowly because of these kids that live here and ride her bus.


What did you think of the recent story of the father who got on the school bus and cussed out the bully(ies) who were bothering his daughter, the one with cerebral palsy?

I was on the side of the father.

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