When less is more: 7 parenting techniques to raise a truly confident child

While shopping for my weekly groceries at the suburban supermarket last weekend, I couldn't stop myself from overhearing the conversation between a five-year-old boy and his young mother. The hapless mother was trying to barter with her son to let her visit the fruits and vegetables department at the store, after which she would gift him the flashy red remote-control car he just saw and wanted to have. Well, many of you might brand it bad parenting, but for some, it really is an act of survival. From the day your child is born, parenting becomes a 168 hour-a-week-job. Albeit it's the toughest ongoing job in the world, but most of us at some point in our lives willfully enroll for it. And when we do jump on the roller coaster bandwagon called parenting, we just go with the flow and bask in the glory of raising our offspring/s. We say no two children are the same, and each one is unique in her/his own way; then why should parenting style be stereotyped? After all, what matters is creating happy, confident and smart kids. Every parent takes parenting very seriously and wants their child to imbibe good values and behavior in addition to building a secure career and future for themselves. So they end up doing, giving, asking and expecting MORE, and it does get overbearing at times.

In our culture, we assume that if our children are grappling, they need 'more'. If we see things not going smoothly for them, the first involuntary reaction we have is to ask them what they need. More attention, more love, more time and more focus are effective in drawing your child's attention, but in the long run, it might demotivate them to find solutions for themselves. Sometimes, doing less can do a lot more, like making them independent and confident. From day one, parents get auto-tuned to over-function for their kids and they don't realise that by over-giving, overdoing and over-loving, they are subconsciously contributing to their children's dependence on these things.

What can you do?

Encourage self-reliance:

Going by your immediate parental instinct, you rush to soothe your daughter who is struggling to cope up in school or smother your son with a lot of attention because he is daydreaming a lot lately. Well, these instincts will definitely work for the time being. But this over giving attitude can cripple the child’s self-esteem and independence. Instead of learning to become resilient, they become helpless and dependent on taking even the smallest decisions.

It's okay to feel the pain:

It's natural to feel protective towards your children, but being over-protective can impair their sense of identity. Rather than holding their hands while overcoming every obstacle, let them figure out the solutions to their fear and anxiety themselves. For your child to become resilient, you must first increase your tolerance level for their pain. Although it's a tough call, this is one of the most effective ways to motivate your child.

Let go: 

As a parent, you must realise that you are already doing a lot more than required. So it's okay to let your kids struggle and find their own way out. Sure, it may leave you jittery at first, but it's all worth it to see your bright and confident child who is ready to face any challenge on his/her own.

When doing MORE is the solution

Some golden parenting rules for raising resilient, confident kids that are hard to practice, but you will thank yourself for later on:

  • Ponder less about meeting the needs of your child and more about making them more responsible.
  • Do less for your child and more for yourself – we’re talking about less empathising and less meeting their needs here.
  • Give in less to their tantrums and complaints but more to help them being organised. Let them understand the importance of self-management early in life.
  • Do less to ease their pain and more to help them function at their best.

Parenting is not just a simple nine-letter word. It’s an ongoing responsibility that can add a dimension to your child’s future. Parenting is much more than the biological relationship between the child and his/her genesis. It encompasses the emotional, physical, social and intellectual development of the child.  Be there when your child needs you, but learn to move out of their way otherwise.

Parenting is definitely a delicate work-of-art and we parents are still learning the tricks to master it. Whatever your parenting style is, always remember that children don’t really listen to their parents. They observe them.

“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”  - Denis Waitley