confidence is about being comfortable in one’s own skin and finding one’s self
valuable and competent enough.  A healthy
self perception ensures the establishment of secure relationships and savoring
each and every aspect of life.  Clinging
to life and being enthusiastic about it, creating and maintaining identities
and goals and sustaining trust in relationships are all possible with a solid
self perception.   People’s problem
solving skills improve and they learn to cope with problems in a more efficient
way.  Lack of self confidence, however,
keeps a person from enjoying life by bringing on the thoughts and feelings of
insecurity, discomfort, fear, anxiety, suspicion and helplessness.


Development of
self confidence is traced back to childhood. 
The verbal or behavioral messages given by parents are colossal in
importance.  For instance, a child born
to a highly ambitious and success oriented family may develop such strict or
all-or-nothing kind of attitudes as ‘I’m nothing if I fail’ due to his/her
parents’ unwaveringly rigid approaches to his/her academic life. 


A parent that
turns a blind eye to the issues and remains silent in the face of problems, on
the other hand, may inadvertently make their child believe that ‘I should keep
my feelings inside so I won’t make any trouble’ and thereby developing ‘shoulds’
and ‘musts’. 


such attitudes take hold each and every day and establish firmly in the
person’s mind.  The person, then, starts
questioning himself/herself at every turn and becomes suspicious of
himself/herself.  His/her self confidence
is shattered. 


Say a 9-10
year old kid comes home and tells his dad about the fight he got into with his
mate.  He is upset and maybe a little bit
furious about that fight.  Different
approaches will give rise to different effects on the child that is feeling


For instance:


Kid:  I got into a fight with my best mate.

Dad:  Why?

Kid:  He took my notebook, I asked for it back but
he wouldn’t give it to me, and then he messed with me and tore the pages and I
got mad. 

Dad:  Don’t worry son, we’ll get you a new one

Kid:  And just then the teacher saw us and yelled
at me to be quiet.

Dad:  Don’t worry about such trivial things; life
is too short for that kind of stuff.

Kid:  …..


As seen in the
dialog above, the hidden message conveyed to the child is one of ‘don’t worry
about it, it’s not a big deal, let it slide’. 
Not only will the child getting that message feel misunderstood, but he
will also be led to believe that the thing that he worries about is, in fact,
nothing to be worried about.   That is,
he will feel weird and suppress the feelings he can no longer deal with. 


Let us take a
look at the following approach;


Kid:  I got into a fight with my best mate.

Dad:  What? 
You got into a fight?

Kid:  He took my notebook, I asked for it back but
he wouldn’t give it to me, and then he messed with me and tore the pages and I
got mad. 

Dad:  Why didn’t you have a go at him then?

Kid:  The teacher yelled at me just then so I had
to be quiet.

Dad:  That teacher of yours is going too far, from
now on if he gives you hard time you just yell at him back.

Kid:  …..


In this
example, the kid feels misunderstood and, on top of that, he may feel
incompetent as he failed to live up to the impulsive and aggressive suggestions
of his dad as he believes that is the right course of action in situations like
this.    But the fact of it is that the
child has no intention of taking someone down a peg or two but, rather, he
wishes to be understood and to get some appreciation. 


Lastly let us
take a look at the following approach:


Kid:  I got into a fight with my best mate.

Dad:  You must be upset about it, would you like to
tell me what happened?

Kid:  I was upset and even furious.  He took my notebook, I asked for it back but
he wouldn’t give it to me, and then he messed with me and tore the pages.

Dad:  You have every right to be furious.  That was your notebook.  Was there anything you could have done at
that point?

Kid:  Everything happened in a flash, the teacher
yelled at me just then and I got embarrassed and couldn’t get a word in

Dad:  Sometimes I, too, get embarrassed when things
happen quickly like that; I can’t even move a muscle.  You must have felt bad about that
business.  So what do you want to do
about it?

Kid:  I would like my friend to apologize to me and
kiss and make up as soon as possible.

Dad:  Come and let us think about what you can do
about it.

Kid:  🙂


Now that is
the kind of communication that is understanding and supportive which helps
strengthen the kid’s self confidence.  
Here the kid feels that he has been understood and that he is not alone
in feeling such negative feelings. 
Therefore he realizes that he is not a weirdo.  But more importantly, he is being supported
by his dad’s guiding and caring attitude just when he feels unsupported.


confidence is the most important fuel of the life energy.  Being understood, heard and accepted as oneself
since childhood strengthens the image of one’s self. Such attitudes as lack of
communication, conflict, anger, suppression and turning a blind eye to things
do not help to prepare a child against the challenging and bitter aspects of
life.   Instead, seeing things and making
sense of them and providing different solutions to the issues from different
perspectives ensure the development of one’s self and enabling them to stand on
their own feet. 



Derya Gazel