Not every child is graced with reams of confidence. For some, certain situations will bring out the best in them, whilst less familiar or fearful situations may cause their confidence to evaporate completely. As a parent, this is very hard to see when you know that your child has the capability to achieve so much and yet appears to hold themselves back, or lack the self-belief required to make the best of their situation. However, confidence is a skill and not just an emotion. Everyone possesses it to some level or another. There are certain things that you have to have the confidence to be able to do. To some children, learning to brush their teeth independently is an example of demonstrating how confident they can be. Whereas for others, they wouldn’t think twice about standing up in front of an audience full of people and singing and dancing. There’s no correct level of confidence. What’s important is that your child feels like they have enough to be able to do the things that they want to do, and to achieve the things that they really want to achieve in their life.
It is important too, that as a parent, you discuss your own expectations of what confidence is, what it looks like to you and how you feel your child should demonstrate it. In my therapy practice, In Crays Hill, I offer NLP sessions which have been designed and developed for children by NLP4Kids. These modalities have been used successfully to help children with all different levels of confidence, to improve and take themselves to the next level. However, over the years I have noticed that sometimes there is a disparity between a parent’s expectations and a child’s desires. Let me give you an example. Some time ago, I met with a family who had high hopes for their son. They wanted him to be able to play the clarinet in a presentation that was taking place at his school. Initially, they had booked him in to come and see me, believing that he too shared their goal of performing a musical piece in front of his entire school. Whilst his confidence was low, it was of a level that enabled him to stand up in class form time to time, perform in plays, and to perform alongside his bandmates in the school orchestra. Once we had got through our initial consultation session, which took place in a counselling style session in Essex, we identified that whilst he would benefit from higher levels of confidence in some levels of his life he didn’t have the inclination to perform music in the way his parents would have hoped. He enjoyed participating in music and was glad that he had learned to play an instrument, but he had another agenda for his future, and as such performing in front of an audience to show off his musical skills was just not something that appealed to him. This is why I mention that it is a worthwhile conversation to have with your child, about what confidence means to each of you because it is not uncommon for a parent’s expectations to differ from those of their child. Especially when it comes to the reasons for increasing confidence levels.
Because confidence is a skill, there are very specific strategies that can be learned to help increase feelings of bravery and confidence very quickly, and these are effective in teenagers all the way down to children as young as 3 years old. This means that very often these kinds of problems can be solved within just a couple of sessions. The other good news about these processes is that they are not contextualised to one specific area. If your child suffers from low confidence in an area of schooling for example, then working on improving this will also help to increase their confidence in other key areas of their life. In my sessions, I provide the young people I work with, with notes and guidance to take away from the session so that they can return to these at a point in the future should they need them when life becomes challenging once again. I often work with parents too to teach them the same strategies, not just to give you confidence in your parenting, but to help you to support your child through this transition they are making, and to help keep them on track with any tasks that I may have given them to complete in between their sessions. Sometimes the work I do can take place with parents exclusively. This is particularly helpful if you have several children, who would benefit from increasing their confidence levels even in different areas of their lives. I conduct 90-minute sessions with parents, and similarly to working with children, you will receive some written notes and guidance to help you remember to communicate in particular ways with your children. This will help them to reach the desired level of improvement as swiftly as possible.
If you would be interested in booking a free consultation session for either yourself, for your teenager, or your child then you can do so by using the booking form on my website. After the free consultation, our work will begin, and typically I see clients for an average of 5 sessions. This means that the work is completed much more quickly than traditional therapeutic interventions.
By Gemma Bailey