How to Boost your Childrens self Confidence

Children instinctively trust parents for the protection and orientation that are vital to survival in a new world. Out of ignorance, many parents begin failing at the job and undermining that trust with seemingly benign practices; setting the course for later, more destructive ones. Learning by example also begins earlier than most of us think. We lie to them with substitutes, thereby teaching them to lie as we continue the practices.

Holding them close, talking or singing softly, breast-feeding and sleeping with them or within close reach, are vital elements for strengthening child-parent bonds of security, love and trust. These germinal emotional supports result in higher intelligence and help infants form the psychological foundation for confidence in parents and in themselves, as they become more self-aware.

Deprivation of these supports during stages of development when they are most necessary imperils development of perceptual abilities that help them to distinguish between what is real and true from what is not. It is also an early introduction to placebo as an acceptable alternative to satisfying needs with what is genuine. Being able to discern the real from the fancied is a vital survival skill that must begin early and become more sophisticated as we mature. Many parents, with the assistance and advice of experts,’ begin failing their children in this regard almost immediately. By what practices do we begin undermining early trust that is so necessary to developing discernment?

Among the earliest are abandonment to environmental insults and unnatural constraints. For example, dropping silver nitrate into little eyes almost as soon as they are newly opened hurts. Bundling newborns tightly in blankets that restrict movement after months of free movement in the womb is not a kind welcome. Separation, away from close, warm parental contact is supremely unnatural. Genital mutilation in the cases of most infant boys is a painful, early trauma.

After arriving home, bottles with plastic nipples and a rigid feeding schedule are often substituted for the mother’s breast. When hunger occurs and cries are off-schedule, the pacifier is a cold substitute. Are you following my line of progression?

We have an inborn expectation of parental closeness, protection and affection. When natural expectations are thwarted, anger emerges. An older child’s anger toward a parent who has an untimely death, for any reason, is a well documented psychological phenomenon. The same dynamics are at work in infancy; just less focused. Parents continue these kinds of practices, having been taught to place greater confidence in ‘experts’ than what our own hearts and common sense cry out for. Our infants cry out and we deny natural sympathies with the support of, and instruction by, ‘experts.’ You might say that we, LACK CONFIDENCE, in our own inner perceptions and feelings. Now how does that happen? Could it be due to our own early disconnect?

We do perpetuate and even expand this dismissal of nature as our children grow. Sometimes fooling them and playing with their trust, even when it isn’t necessary, is felt to be great fun. After all, it was done to us and we’re alright aren’t we? Well, aren’t we?

Bit by bit, toddlers are willfully introduced to a whole world of artifice. Tragically, the children of today get even more artifice and substitutes than we oldsters got. Today, for example, a whole industry has taken over much of what mothers did when I was a youngster. Parents now entrust the care of their infants and toddlers to strangers in strange environments where there is little, if any, affection and individual attention. Food prepared by strangers must suffice in the place of the intimate emotional connection and familiarity with mom’s food. ‘Happy Meals’ too hold the promise of getting good stuff and God knows, we never can get enough good stuff. If you think about it, we can never get enough of any substitute. This is fertile ground for the roots of addiction. But, that is another, albeit related, topic.

The woman I love once remarked something that I’d never taken special notice of; being ‘white.’ She wondered: “Why do so many little white babies suck on their thumbs and fingers?” Though it wasn’t a clinically based observation, it was honest and with merit. Could it have anything to do with the fact that most minority groups breast feed their babies more and longer? How about that their children get more personal care and contact with their mothers, siblings and extended family? Fingers are substitutes. While we’re near the subject, so are rocking side to side and back and forth for infants and toddlers who don’t get held and rocked. Isolated infants commonly die from lack of such contact. If they can’t fill emptiness with something real, counterfeits will do while also undermining development of abilities to tell the difference. Just a few thoughts; far be it from me to be the cause of arguments.

So the runway is clear and our children are now ready for the real fun stuff. They love to be talked to, sung to and have stories told and read. Since their little brains will accept whatever young senses perceive, especially as guided by trusted, loving parents, we must help them to clearly distinguish between what is pretend and what is really true. In this way, we help them refine their ability to discern the real from artificial for themselves and foster development of self confidence. We’re doing our job!

Conversely, by betraying their trust we interfere with developing perceptual apparatus and undermine natural confidence in our veracity and later, in the reliability of their own perceptions and expectations.

You know that truth is too much to ask of parents in our time. It is way too cute and such great fun to play fast and loose with children in this area. They are sooo cute, when we make fools of them. After all, it was done to us and we’re alright, aren’t we? Well, aren’t we?

Now it’s time for The Bogey Man, Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny. Soon those little teeth will fetch a few bucks from The Tooth Fairy! We ultimately make them complicit in this crap by feeding their greed and self interest. They continue ‘playing the game’ as long as we or Santa hold out a promise of good stuff. This gets to be our greatest fun since The Stork arrived! No Stork? Yes, of course, little girls are found in the roses and little boys are found under cabbages.

What a wonderful job we do of preparing them to face a world filled with swindlers, politicians and evangelists who all have their own special tales to feed greed and willingness to play the game.’ When they become young adults who are still called children, they’re then ripe for hobgoblins like global warming, politicians’ promises of good stuff for votes and the game of gaining salvation for a few bucks in the basket.

It’s like Alice in Wonderland: “Jam yesterday and jam tomorrow, but never jam today!” They’ve been conditioned to respond to promises of good stuff someday in return for misplacing their trust. All children have to do is follow our lead. It’s what we do and, well, we’re alright aren’t we? Well aren’t we?