Teaching Self Confidence in a Selfie Culture
By Haley Hawks
As a teenager, thoughts such as “I wish I were skinnier,” “I wish I had a better tan,” or “I wish I were more fit” were so pervasive that it was hard for me to even observe what my body looked like. I didn’t want to see the way my skin rolled when it moved, nor did I enjoy the extra fat that clung to my legs, stomach, and arms.
However, those self-degrading thoughts were countered by three vital skills my parents instilled in my heart to kept me confident despite living in a culture that loves to look flawless.
- You will never win the comparison game, so don’t play.
When we look at others, there will inevitably be something about their body we wish we had. Instead,let’s take a look at our own bodies to find the special characteristics we like about ourselves.
Teach children to do this by simply asking them, “What do you like about your body?” or “What makes you feel confident?”
When we start loving ourselves, “We experience shifts-positive shifts. Life begins to move forward with more ease and things begin to magically fall into place. Relationships improve. Health improves. And life beings to feel good-really good-ridiculously good,” (Fremon, 2017).
We want our children to feel really good all by themselves.We want them to be able to love their body and life no matter the circumstance.
An easy way my parents taught me how to love myself was the Best Friend Trick. Ask your child, “Do you love your best friend?” and “Do you treat your best friend nicely and politely?” and “Would you talk negatively to your best friend?” Help them to see that they are even more important than their best friend is. Therefore, talking to themselves kindly and compassionately is completely necessary and will help them feel great.
- Stay authentic to yourself, even under pressure.
Self confidence comes in part by knowing who you are, accepting that person, and being happy with all the imperfections. There are times when we are pressured to be something other than the incredible person we are. However, “Learning how to express the diverse aspects of who you are as a person can be one of the greatest joys in life, and an essential part of your emotional well being,” (Vilhauer, 2016).
Teach your children that who they are is enough. They are incredible, worthwhile, and uniquely beautiful. Standards, especially the world’s standards, do not define who they are. As the wisest wizard in the fictional Harry Potter series, Albus Dumbledore, has said, “It is our choices . . . that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Or in this case, far more than our outward appearance. Teach the power to be true to yourself in a world that only shows the shallowness of a selfie.
- Be grateful.
When your child looks in the mirror, teach your child to see what they have to be grateful for. A child does not need to prove their worth. Gratitude can help with feelings of worthlessness or shame. Gratitude “Can decrease stress and has other important emotional health benefits. A person who is grateful tends to spend less time comparing him or herself with others and feeling envious,” (Stewart, 2017). To teach this you can ask “What was good about your day today?” or “What part of your physical body did you appreciate most today and why?”
Our children need to understand social media does not define them. Likes, tweets, and DMs do not show worth. Let us try to teach children how priceless they are by helping them to create inward love of self instead of outward obsession with perfection.
For more great ideas on how to create a courageous child with self confidence, check out 30 Days to a Stronger Child, available here. Also, for additional help teaching kids to use media responsibly, stay tuned for our two body image books coming out this fall!
Or Check out Conversations with My Kids: 30 Essential Family Discussions for the Digital Age–A simple, super-helpful guide that gives YOU the words to talk about tough, timely topics of today (like racism, integrity, agency, healthy sexuality, LGBTQI issues, social media, and more).
Haley Hawks has a Bachelors of Science in Marriage and Family Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She is passionate about learning, especially when it comes to relationships and family life. She hopes to one day be able to educate on a world-wide setting in regards to promoting goodness in the family and destroying ideals that hurt society.
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Fremon, R. (2017, February 21). The Magic of Loving Yourself First. Retrieved August 24, 2017, from https://wanderlust.com/journal/the-magic-of-loving-yourself-first/
Stewart, K. (2017). Teaching Kids the Importance of Gratitude. [online] EverydayHealth.com. Available at: https://www.everydayhealth.com/saying-thanks/teaching-kids-the-importance-of-gratitude.aspx [Accessed 25 Aug. 2017].
Vilhauer, J. (2016, June 18). How to Stay Authentic, No Matter What. Retrieved August 24, 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-forward/201606/how-stay-authentic-no-matter-what