Confidence and Change: The Ultimate Frenemies?

stressed woman

Confidence and Change: The Ultimate Frenemies?

By Dr. Robyn Silverman

Confidence and change are often like oil and water. We are creatures of habit and we hate to upset the apple cart if we can help it. But given that change happens all the time and the powerful word of the month this month is confidence, I figured it was time to lay it on the table even if we all would rather ignore it all together.

As a new Mommy of our daughter, Tallie, I have had as much change as anyone can have at any one time. My previous “normality” at is related to sleeping, eating, and getting out the door has all gone out the window. And yet, I must maintain a sense of confidence in myself and my ability to get through it. For my sake. For my husband’s sake. For my daughter’s sake. It just has to happen.

It’s funny. A recent study came out that actually said young mothers (58%) are twice as confident in their own innate abilities to parent as older moms (27%) and fathers said they were even more confident than mothers.  Perhaps it’s a generational thing.  Perhaps it’s a gender thing.  Perhaps younger moms and fathers are just slightly delusional.  Regardless, at least half of moms and dads admit to feeling under-confident at times. No doubt change contributes to the doubt that enters are minds.

We all have changes throughout our lives. Our children go through it anytime we move, they change schools, or move up a grade. They deal with it when they move up a level in their activities. And don’t forget, they must cope with one of their biggest changes as they go through puberty. That last one often leaves us googling for the proverbial instruction book on kids…or wishing, at least, that it existed somewhere in cyberspace.

Change leads to questions. Questions rock our confidence boat. So what are we supposed to do to get over the hump?

(1) This too shall pass: My Mom would always say this to me when I was going through the “storm and stress” of childhood and adolescence. Perhaps she was saying it to reassure me. Perhaps she was saying it to reassure herself. Nonetheless it was and still is true. People do dumb things. People say dumb things. We might even make a mistake or two along the way. Change might make us feel like we’re walking on rocks but eventually the change becomes the norm and the norm becomes…comfortable.

(2) Enjoy it while it’s here: Yup. I’m not sleeping much. My daughter likes to lay all over me and wants to be picked up while I’m making dinner or just when I’m about to take a shower. I sometimes feel like I need a day off and I just started. But I know I’ll look back on these days and wish I didn’t shrug them off so quickly. So, I choose to enjoy this time. It might be hard but there is always a silver lining. Find it. Be grateful for it. Laugh. Believe me, it takes the sting out of getting up at 2am or feeling like you’re getting pulled in 20 different parental directions.

(3) Take a brain vacation: For you, that might mean getting a babysitter every once in a while to get a hold of your stress level. For your children it might mean going to a movie with her Dad to get her mind off her best friend being “mad at her” for the 20th time this week. Change happens but that doesn’t always mean we have to be in the thick of it. As they used to say, “take a chill pill” and everything will look better in the morning…or at least after watching “Dancing with the Stars.”

(4) Talk about it: Sharing experiences with like minded people can certainly help. Talk to other parents who are dealing with similar issues. Have your children talk to their older cousins or big brother or sister about their frustrations– or even their cool Auntie who always seems to have something brilliant to say. When we clam up, we feel alone. We feel as though nobody understands us. It’s simply not true. As tough as your situation might seem, someone else has gotten through it and knows the grass really is greener on the other side.

(5) What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger: Remember it. You might be tired. You might be frustrated. You might even be mad or depressed. But on the other side of all this change is a more knowledgeable, more experienced person who is stronger and better than before. Remember that last change you went through? You came out OK. Better, even. And don’t forget– without these changes and these experiences we would be born out of our skull. Nobody wants that.

So, are change and confidence really frenemies? Perhaps at times. Otherwise, they work symbiotically so that we become the evolved, exciting, energized and yes, sometimes exhausted people we are today and will be in the future. So here’s to change!

Please share your stories of confidence and change here in the comment section.

Dr. Robyn Silverman signs

Dora the Explorer Becomes Dora the Diva?

dora the explorersil_dora_newdora the explorer as a tween

Dora the Explorer Becomes Dora the Diva?

Dr. Robyn Silverman

Well, not exactly.  Seems that while many parents and my fellow bloggers got up in arms chanting “Say it isn’t so!” and “No Makeover for Dora! when Mattel released their controversial silhouette on the 6th, calling the new Dora a “tramp,” “streetwalker,” and a Lindsey Lohan Look-a-like.  Was she being stripped down like Miley Cyrus? There was worry that she could compromise body image, threaten her ability to empower our powerful girls, and stomp on their confidence. There was even a petition…that I was ready and willing to sign as soon as I got to see the full Dora (as of March 8th over 2000 signed).

But parents are changing their tune for this toon.

Dora hasn’t been made into the next “Bratz” and she isn’t wearing a micro-mini, but rather, a long shirt over leggings.  How nice ot Mattel to get so much extra play in the media before the reveal– I’m sure, knowing that parents would be shouting denegrating comments about the Dora silhouette and then finding themselves sitting down to a nice lunch of crow at the final reveal.  Not nice. Smart marketing. But not nice at all.

We are programmed to criticize, aren’t we?  But as parents, we are sensitive to media influence on our children as well as change that can affect how our children think and feel about themselves.  And we should. And, well,  nobody likes change.  They changed Strawberry Shortcake from a pudgy, cat-carrying kid to a slimmed-down tween and that was tough.  Perhaps something to do with nostalgia? Leaving well enough alone?  Or, as a body image specialist, we can say that it’s also about taking down that belly fat and strapping on some shape-skimming outfit can have a negative effect on our girls.  Somehow “freshening up” means going on a diet these days and of course, getting a little nip-tuck.

But anyway, back to our explorer in question.  Well, she’s not a Sesame Street Walker as we might have assumed.  But there are some issues.  She’s traded in her exploring boots for ballet slippers and her practical exploring shorts for a fashionable frock and leggings– what does that mean? Well, no more jungle explorations.  Which hurts.  I kind of liked how Dora wasn’t afraid to get dirty while traipsing along with her jungle friends. She lost her stocky toddler-like physique and traded it in for a stream-line look.  Yeah, I know, she definitely doesn’t have the Latin curves. Did you really expect them?

And yup, she’s pink-afied. And appears to be wearing some kind of lip gloss or lipstick.  Not so great. And let’s not forget that on her interactive computer games, girls can change her eye color and hair– which threatens her latina roots once again. Lyn Mikel Brown, author of Packaging Girlhood and  co-founder of Hardy Girls, Healthy Women in Waterville, Maine, and a person who I admire and appreciate, questions, “why change her appearance at all? Why is appearance so important?” Exactly.  And yet in our world, it is.

The good thing is that Mattel states that Dora  “will expand into the world of solving mysteries that have overt and relatable pro-social themes — like volunteerism, water conservation, or planting trees to help the environment.” Yeah, we like that.  That’s what we stress for Powerful Words— and any role model doing that is a good thing.

Well, what do you think? Sell out or upgrade? Sign of despair or sign of the times?

As always, we look forward to your comments.

Dr. Robyn Silverman signs

Teens feel Rihanna is at fault for getting beaten by boyfriend, Chris Brown

rihanna allegedly assaulted by boyfriend Chris Brown

Our values and our character have clearly been screwed up.  We’ve got work to do folks, and it may be an uphill battle.  As Powerful Words Member Schools are talking about confidence this month, we have to look at all contributors for their lack of self worth, low self esteem, and lack of regard for women’s bodies on all sides.

Singer Rihanna has been in the news lately because her boyfriend, Chris Brown, (allegedly) assaulted her in February.  Rihanna reported him and admitted to past assaults only to grant him continuance and refrain from issuing a restraint order.  What does this say to our children and teens about relationships? About values? About the importance of body safety?

Well, here it is folks.  In the Boston paper today, the results of a survey tells us that almost half of the Boston teenagers interviewed in a poll by Boston Public Health Commission said pop star Rihanna was responsible for her own beating. Yuck.   Celebrities have to watch what they say and do when it comes to kids. They have influence!

Who? Teens ages 12-19

What?

  • Almost 50% of the 200 teens interviewed felt Rihanna was responsible for the assault
  • 71% claimed that arguing was a normal part of a relationship;
  • 44% claimed that fighting was a routine occurrence in relationships.

The issue? Teens have somehow gotten used to or desensitized to domestic violence.  Perhaps they’ve seen too much “reality” on TV.  Perhaps they’ve been exposed to too much arguing and physical arguing. Perhaps our teen’s values need an overhaul.  Oh boy, more work.

Please give your feedback– it’s time to start some important conversations here.  Don’t wait.  Do it today.

Dr. Robyn Silverman signs

Ask Dr. Robyn: How to instill confidence in children, Part 2

Dr. Robyn Silverman answers a parent’s question about confidence and children

How can parents help children to become more confident?  All parents want their children to feel confident, even when they’re not around.  This video blog is part 2 of Ask Dr. Robyn; featuring a letter from Karen in Grand Rapids Michigan. Part 1 of Ask Dr. Robyn about instilling confidence is here.

As the Powerful Word of the Month is confidence this month at all Powerful Words Member Schools, many of the articles and video blogs will feature the character concept, confidence.  Please contact us with any of your questions and let us know your ideas of how to instill confidence in children!

Dr. Robyn Silverman signs

Ask Dr. Robyn: How do I build confidence in my child? Part 1

The Powerful Word of the month is confidence!

Dr. Robyn Silverman. child development expert, answers one powerful parent’s question about instilling confidence in children in the following video blog:

Part 2 of this addition of Ask Dr. Robyn will be provided in the next blog entry.  Check back!

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How to Build a Powerful Confident Child: Confidence Quotes

boy_graduateDr. Robyn J.A Silverman

The powerful word of the month this month is confidence! Confidence is one of my favorite words because I feel that it’s the foundation for positive learning and living. With confidence, our children have the courage to try new things, meet new people, and be the person they were meant to be.

We never want children to pretend to be something they’re not because they believe that people will like them better if they are some imitation of someone else more popular. As Judy Garland once said, “Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else”. With confidence, children can be innovative, creative, bold and assertive.

Nothing dampens a child’s ability to grow like a lack of confidence in oneself. We must encourage without over-praising, challenge without criticizing or hurrying, and love without comparing. As powerful parents, we are the first and last stop in our children’s day. As such, we must help to inspire one’s morning confidence so that they can be bold while learning and socializing at school and in their after-school activities.

On the flip side, we also must help them to wind down at night. That means asking about their day and telling them about ours. It means allowing them to review their choices and interactions, helping them problem solve and think of better ways of doing things, and, of course helping to ease them into a comfortable sleep knowing that they are loved just the way they are, no matter what decisions they made or fumbles that occurred. This is the amazing, challenging, and awesome job of a powerful parent.

CONFIDENCE QUOTES

“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance.” ~Bruce Barton

“Laugh at yourself, but don’t ever aim your doubt at yourself. Be bold. When you embark for strange places, don’t leave any of yourself safely on shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory.” – Alan Alda

Two people, equally matched, equally prepared, equally determined to win. Who will be the winner? It’s certain to be the one with the confidence to say, “It’s me.” –Dr. Robyn Silverman

“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.” –Sven Goran Eriksson

“The man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.” – Andrew Carnegie

“I quit being afraid when my first venture failed and the sky didn’t fall down.” – Allen H. Neuharth

“Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.” ~Mary Kay Ash

God wisely designed the human body so that we can neither pat our own backs nor kick ourselves too easily. ~Author Unknown

Dr. Robyn Silverman signs

Dr. Robyn Silverman introduces the Powerful Word: Confidence

The Powerful Word of the month for March is confidence.  That means that all the Powerful Words member schools will be featuring the character concept, confidence, this month and helping children learn, understand, and show what it means to be confident. Confidence is one of my favorite powerful words as I want all of our students and families to feel good about who they are and what they aspire to be. We all want our kids to be confident kids!

How do you instill confidence in your children?  How have you built confidence in yourself?  We’d love to hear from you!

Dr. Robyn Silverman signs