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Power-Decade Parenting

Family Friday: 4 Rules For Building Confident Kids

Published 2 months ago • 3 min read


Family Friday Newsletter - 4 min read

by: Finley Robinson


A Single Sentence from a Season Ahead

Showing up as a parent, even for half-credit, secretly gets the whole effect you were hoping for.


Where Does Confidence Come From?

The following are all statements that my wife or I said to our kids when they were your kid's age. Somewhere between 3-13, our kids heard us say these and dozens of other statements like it.

  • "Hey sweetie, I want you to go to the window and order the snow cone by yourself this time."
  • "Buddy, it's time for you to hop out of the car and head to the soccer tryout for your new team now."
  • "I think you should totally audition for a big speaking part in the elementary school play."
  • "Hey come and meet my old friends from college and tell them about what you did at camp last week."

One of the greatest contributions parents can make in their kid's lives is the building of their confidence.

You don't want over-confidence. You hope to avoid timidity. Confidence isn't something only extroverted kids can have. Introverts have it as well, sometimes even more!

An effective parent knows that there comes a day when your kids will need a sense of belief in their strengths to carry them through. The right amount of confidence in their God-given strengths is critical to raising healthy teenagers. Plus it carries them on into adulthood too.

I'm not talking about their personalities. It's easy to mistake bravado for confidence or quietness for being timid.

Confident kids have a level of certainty about their abilities and believe they can succeed in the challenge that's ahead of them.

Here Are The Effective Parent's 4 Rules
For Building Confident Kids

One of my parenting mentors used a phrase that has stuck with me for two decades now. He said, "Spend your days as a mom or dad pouring courage into your kids."

To do that, here are the 4 rules you'll need to apply.

Rule 1️⃣ - Don't affirm something that's not true

Parents can have a vision or desire for their kids that isn't realistic or possible.

One value from our family was to give our kids tons of opportunities and situations to test out their individual giftings. One child planned activities for their friends and another enjoyed achieving in school.

You have to actively remind yourself what matters most. It's not what you want to be true about your child. You need to affirm what is in fact true of them.

When we look at our kids through the lens of what they naturally do well, we are more honest with ourselves and them.

Rule 2️⃣ - Catch them doing positive things

The natural draw as parents is to spend more of our time correcting or discipling. Behaviors, attitudes, habits, defiance.

We spend a lot of time and energy on correction. It's normal.

But, if you want to raise confident kids, ones who have a sense of belief in their strengths, you must catch them doing things well. When that happens, speak it with the same level of emotion (or more) you use for correction.

  • When they are a good friend, confirm their kindness.
  • When they sell lemonade on the street corner, praise their hustle.
  • When they sing a solo for the elementary play, recognize their bravery.

Rule 3️⃣ - Find their strengths, don't look for yours

One of the great revelations I've had as a parent is both the strengths and weaknesses that I passed on to my kids. It's humbling to watch your kids struggle with the same things you did.

Effective parents though, see each of their kids as their own person. Not as a similar version of their brother or sister and certainly not a copy of themselves.

Confident kids know who they are, not that they are "just like their mom or dad." It's ok to be proud of the similarities but they need to know they are really good at a skill because it's in them.

Rule 4️⃣ - Listen to what others confirm in your kids

And then praise your kids for it! Over and over again.

Consistent affirmation of your kids is one of the most powerful and special things you can do as parents. It's so fun to hear and see great things about your kids from others.

Then, speaking courage and confidence into your children can happen in so many different ways.

  • At night as you tuck them in tell them something great about themselves.
  • As they get out of the car going to school tell them something you're proud of.
  • When with your friends out to dinner, brag on them in front of the whole group of adults.

Your kids will hear it all.

Remember, what you hear others say about your kids is what truly stands out. Lean in and affirm it into the heart of your son or daughter.

I remember dropping off each of my kids at their high school with several thousand kids in attendance. As they got out of the car on their first day, they each turned around and looked at me with a slight look of hesitation in their eye. I looked back, smiled, and said "You've got this." They smirked back, slammed the door, and walked confidently into a waiting classroom.

Big Idea: Spend your days as a mom or dad pouring courage into your kids.


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Power-Decade Parenting

By Finley Robinson

Helping propel moms & dads of 3 to 13 year-olds to invest in their power-decade of parenting. Father of 3 teenagers and pastor of 20 years turned digital writer.

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