I don’t know about you but I want my kids to grow up with self-belief, knowing they are capable of tackling life’s challenges. But how do we make sure this hugely important quality becomes ingrained in them? Especially if our own self-belief is lacking? If you’re asking these same questions, keep reading to discover some daily parenting tips I’m using to empower my kids with self-belief.
But first, the back story to where this is coming from
During a recent therapy session, I found myself sobbing after having a HUGE AHA moment. I realised how different my life could’ve been if I had possessed self-belief, self-love and self-awareness when I was younger. The truth is, many of the painful experiences I went through could have been avoided if I had believed in myself back then. That’s a pretty big realisation and it lead me to go deep on the work necessary to become the best possible mother to my two boys.
Since that emotional session, I’ve noticed a string of podcasts and workshops entering my life, all centered around the topic of self-belief. It feels as if The Universe is sending me messages, getting me to pay attention and recognise the significance of self-belief in my own life and in raising my boys.
During one particular workshop, titled “Limitless” which focused on decoding belief systems, a statement from the coach hit me hard:
Our beliefs are coded into us before we’re even nine years old.Keeli Nicole
Did my depression & lack of self-belief ruin my boys?
In that moment I had a mini panic attack as I couldn’t help but think about the early years of my boys’ lives. I was struggling with depression during that time, and so I felt a huge sense of guilt and failure. However, I’ve done enough self-work to know that it’s never too late to make changes and turn things around.
But in that moment it didn’t stop me from feeling guilty. So much so I went to Google to confirm the validity of the coach’s statement. According to Psychology Today, ‘Psychologists believe that by the age of seven, most of our patterns of behaviour, our beliefs and our habits are formed. These beliefs are moulded by the significant people in our life, especially our mother and father.’ Dang!
Now, if you’re feeling at all like I did in that moment, please don’t be too hard on yourself. We did the best with the knowledge, tools and capacity we had at the time. No blame, shame, guilt or judgment here okay?! As Socrates wisely said, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” So let’s be gentle on ourselves.
Belief change is possible
In episode 688 of the Modern Wisdom podcast (you know I love me a good podcast), Steven Bartlett said the following that struck a chord with me: “Our lives are essentially beliefs that we’ve accepted as being subjectively true.” Whether those beliefs are objectively true or not, they guide our lives.
Just like our kids, we too adopted beliefs that weren’t our own . . . old, unexamined ideas that we accepted from others without questioning. Marie Forleo refers to these as “hand-me-down beliefs” and I love this term. “Is this belief mine or a hand-me-down?” Sadly and often, these beliefs don’t serve our highest goals let alone serve our kids.
As a parent, I believe it is my responsibility to help my boys establish a strong foundation of self-belief, or self-concept as it’s also called. I want them to experience a fulfilling and extraordinary life, regardless of the challenges they may face. Unlike what I learnt, I want them to know that their worth and value are not dependent on external factors. That self-love, self-trust, self-belief, self-worth, and resilience are the keys to them designing the life they desire and achieving success from within.
I know, I know . . . this is deep stuff so are you ready to go even deeper and explore self-belief a bit further? And not just for your kids but yourself too?
So, what is a belief?
A belief is a thought or idea that we accept to be true. BOOM! That really smacks you in the face doesn’t it?! The fact we can choose our beliefs.
What I find incredible is these beliefs (hand-me-down or not) quietly shape our identity and influence the way we see ourselves and the world. They act like an unconscious compass, guiding our decisions and actions without us even realising it.
Our beliefs determine what we aim for, what we avoid and even the emotions we experience. I think more importantly, they form the stories we tell ourselves about who we are. By becoming more aware and understanding this, we recognise the significant impact and power our self-belief has in shaping our lives, and our kids lives.
Why is it important for our kids to have their own, healthy self-belief?
And why should we place a significant emphasis on instilling healthy self-beliefs in our kids? As Psychology Today suggests:
- Limiting and core beliefs influence your perspective and behaviour:
Just as beliefs serve as an unconscious compass guiding our decisions, they deeply impact the way our kids perceive the world and the choices they make. And let’s be honest . . . they are exposed to a tonne of outside influences and some we have no control over. By teaching them the value of empowering self-beliefs, we’re guiding them to make choices that align with their true potential and well-being. Whether we’re around or not!
- Limiting beliefs will continue to create more significant challenges:
Our beliefs, especially those formed during childhood, play a profound role in shaping our identity. When we neglect the importance of nurturing healthy self-beliefs in our kids, we inadvertently allow limiting beliefs to magnify the obstacles they face. Life can feel hard without the extra pressure of our own negative belief system. It’s super important to address this early, if possible, to pave the way for a smoother path to success for our kids.
- Transformation requires evidence:
Replacing limiting beliefs with empowering ones is no small feat, especially for young minds. To guide our kids in developing healthy self beliefs, we must provide them with tangible evidence that these new beliefs are not just believable but also attainable.
When we actively teach healthy self-belief to our kids, we not only empower them with lifelong skills but also the potential of a more fulfilling and empowered future. Sounds good right?!
How can we cultivate healthy self-belief in our kids?
Now we know that instilling, nurturing, or cultivating healthy and positive self-belief in our kids is vital. But we also need to know that it goes beyond the act of simply reciting positive affirmations in front of a mirror daily. Especially if they have faced challenges like poor self-belief or untreated trauma in the past. And it’s not as simple as just swapping negative thoughts for positive ones either because we can’t deceive ourselves with fake beliefs now knowing those core self-beliefs are mostly unconscious.
With that being said here are three practical strategies or ideas I’ve come across, that resonate and seem achievable in fostering healthy self-belief in our kids:
1. Fun questions to understand your kid’s beliefs
A good friend recently shared an inspiring Instagram post from @happy.fambam with some thought-provoking questions. I thought these questions offered a curious way to connect with our kids and gain insights into their self-beliefs while also keeping the conversation fun and light:
- What are five words that you feel best describe you?
To get a glimpse of their inner voice.
- What is the hardest thing about being a kid?
To understand their struggles.
- If you could be invisible, what would you do?
To understand their ‘forbidden’ wants and their curiosities.
- If you could change anything about school what would it be?
To discover what troubles them when you’re not around.
- Can you teach me something interesting or cool?
To get to know what intrigues them, while communicating that you see them as intelligent and knowledgable.
- What is your biggest worry?
If this is too broad for them, specific a time or scenario. Eg. Biggest worry at bedtime, biggest worry about growing up etc.
To uncover their fears.
You can take turns and enjoy these questions together, while emphasising that there are no wrong answers. It’s important to praise their imagination and honesty, no matter what they share. These light-hearted questions will not only help us bond with our kids but also provide a window into their beliefs and inner world in a fun and positive way!
2. Reframe negative self-belief with one simple word
In Jenna Kutcher’s book, “How are you really?: Living your truth one answer at a time,” she offers a simple yet potent tool to reframe negative beliefs: the word “YET.” When you add “YET” to the end of a negative belief, it holds the power to transform and change the narrative behind it. An example she uses is: “I can’t believe I am worthy, enough, glorious, and powerful” becomes “I can’t believe I am worthy, enough, glorious, and powerful … YET.”
This is a fantastic approach for our kids as well! Whenever they say, “I don’t know how to” or “I can’t,” we can gently guide them to rephrase and add ‘YET’ to the end. So when they say, “I don’t know how to make friends,“ or “I can’t draw well“ you can flip it for them or reflect their statement back to them and add ‘YET’ to the end. “You don’t know how to make friends yet!” “You can’t draw well yet!”
It might seem simple, but the power of this small word, “YET,” has the potential to reprogram some of our most limiting self-beliefs. Give it a try, with your kids and your own internal chatter, and watch how it shapes a more positive perspective on both your capabilities and potential.
3. Creating new evidence for belief change
This idea has come up repeatedly in my learning journey recently, and I think that instilling this skill at a young age can have a profound impact on our kids as they grow into young adults. Just the other day I used it for myself and it truly changed how I was thinking about a particular goal.
You don’t become confident by shouting affirmations in the mirror, but by having a stack of undeniable proof that you are who you say you are. Give yourself so much goddamn proof that you are the version of yourself you want to be, and you’ll become them.Alex Hormozi
This strategy takes a bit more thought but it really is simple yet transformative. So what you do is, you take a negative belief and actively seek or create evidence that challenges it. It’s important to note too, that this new evidence doesn’t have to come from the external world; it can also come from crafting a new narrative about the beliefs you already hold.
Here’s a practical example when it comes to our kids:
Negative Self-Belief: “I’m not good at making friends.”
How to Create New Evidence:
You can help your child to gather positive evidence by getting them thinking of times in the past where they made friends easily. If they need new evidence you could try encouraging them to participate in social activities and clubs, by celebrating successful interactions they have, and sharing your own stories about friendship. You could also consider leaving them with a positive affirmation when you drop them off at school, like, “I am friendly and kind, and people love hanging out with me.” Another idea is providing them with a “Friendship Journal” where they can record positive interactions, compliments and moments of connection with others. I absolutely adore this idea because in years to come they can keep coming back to it, to seek evidence of how amazing they are!
The end goal? A Positively Reframed Belief: “I can learn to make friends and create meaningful connections.”
This strategy empowers our kids to rewrite their internal story, by gathering personal proof they’ve built themselves. How powerful will this skill be for our kids when they enter adulthood?
What do you think? Something there you can try out?
We’ve covered quite a bit here and I hope it’s been more intriguing than overwhelming! My aim was to introduce you to some new ideas and strategies, ones that make you think, “Hey, I could try this with my kids.” After all, raising kids is not just about providing a safe and loving environment; it’s also about leading by example and actively weaving these strategies into our own lives.
If your looking for more parenting tips, check out 5 Parenting Tips That Are Working For Me Right Now!
I’m in the midst of reparenting myself, and navigating through a fragile set of self-beliefs, I’m parenting tween boys in a world that seems light-years away from my own childhood. So, I get it. I’m constantly on the hunt for practical tools that don’t add more stress to our lives. I want strategies that fit right into our daily routine, without the weight of unrealistic to-do lists or unattainable goals. And I think these strategies will easily fit into what we’re already doing!
But here’s the harsh truth and reality of what I’m discovering: the most impactful way to guide our kids is to show them how it’s done.
Be the living, breathing example, the role model who embodies self-belief and resilience. That in itself feels like a lot . . . but we’re in this together and we can share ways to make parenting easier and in a way that feels good.
As you know, I love Astrology and Human Design and have some fascinating ways the two can support us in nurturing healthy self-belief, self-empowerment and resilience in our kids. Keep an eye out for that upcoming post if you’re into looking at things a bit differently!
Until then, take good care and keep spreading the magic of self-belief, both in your kids and in yourself.