Thursday, 26 February 2015

Raising Confident Children - 3 common myths about confidence

We all know from our own childhood (and adult) experiences that being confident greatly improves our chances of happiness and success in life. So how can you tell if your child is confident and are you doing the right things to help boost their confidence and self-esteem? We look at three common myths about confidence in children.

1. Praise is always good right? 
While it is true that praising your child is beneficial, overpraising is not.

Tip: Think about how often and why you praise your child. Only praise them for real achievements and be specific about your reasons for praising them.

2. If my child can speak in class and make themselves heard, they are confident, aren't they?
No, this is not necessarily the case at all. Children have different personalities and some children will be naturally quiet while others will be more outgoing.

Tip: Look for other signs that your child is confident, such as them being able to express their needs and wishes in an assertive way.

3. My child is very busy doing activities - I've been told that boosts confidence, is that right?
While taking part in after school and weekend activities is great for children it can mean there is little time left for one-to-one time with your child.

Tip: Try to set aside time with each of your children every day if possible, even if you only have five minutes with each child. Spending time with them away from distractions: playing a game, reading or asking them about their day will make them feel that you want to be with them and this will help them feel more confident about themselves.

Find out more about raising confident children:


Monday, 23 February 2015

Growing up with confidence - childhood to adulthood

Reading lots on social media today about the film 'Boyhood' due to its recent Oscar nominations.

Boyhood is the ultimate film about a boy growing up - it was filmed over a 12 year period using the same actors throughout. This allows viewers to marvel at each and every change in the boy's appearance and character, as he grows up and reaches manhood.

Of course, while the boy is really growing up during the film-making process, the film itself aims to represent the trials and tribulations of growing up. 

We all know this comes with many highs and lows. There are birthdays and parties, holidays and new friendships, but there are also numerous instances of sadness, humiliation and loneliness along the way. 

There is no doubt that while getting older is a beautiful and necessary process, it can be hard for children to go through the various stages of childhood and adolescence. We know this because we've all done it and no matter how happy your own childhood, looking back is likely to remind you of some unhappy, uncomfortable or downright embarrassing moments too.

With all the changes and new challenges on the journey from childhood to adulthood, parents, educators and carers often wonder how best to build confidence in their children. 

True inner confidence is not about saying how great you are, it is about believing it. Parents often worry that their quiet child lacks confidence, yet some of the most confident children are also fairly quiet, loud is not confident. Likewise many believe telling a child they are great will build their confidence - this is not true.

If you want to debunk the myths of raising confident children and find out what you can do that will really make a difference, then our workshops are for you!

Find out more about confidence and how to raise confident boys and girls at our workshops taking place in Edinburgh and Glasgow this spring.






Thursday, 19 February 2015

Chinese New Year - embrace the future!

Today we celebrate Chinese New Year - the most important event in the Chinese calendar.

In common with 1 January, this is a time when families will celebrate and embrace the coming year. Chinese families may buy each other presents, get a new haircut, or clean their homes.

Cleaning the home at Chinese New Year is a symbolic activity, which is all about clearing away bad fortune and making way for good fortune.

Chinese New Year is considered a spring event and in this respect has much in common with the UK tradition of spring cleaning.

While spring cleaning usually focuses on cleaning the home, it is highly beneficial to apply the same sentiment to our lives in more general terms.

Read our article with tips on spring cleaning your life >

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Mindfulness for enhanced wellbeing

You've probably heard much talk in the media about mindfulness and how it can be beneficial for a whole range of issues, but what is mindfulness and how does it work?

What is ‘mindfulness’?

Mindfulness has its roots in Eastern meditation practices and it was first introduced into modern health care by Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn. It can be defined as paying attention to our experience in the present moment, to what is going on in our mind, body and day-to-day life, in a non-judgemental or accepting way (Kabat-Zinn, 1990).

How can mindfulness help?

Our minds are constantly thinking and imagining. We often get caught up in these thoughts and place too much weight on them, which can have a knock-on effect on our mood and subsequent behaviour. However, despite the significant effect these thoughts can have on our feelings and behaviour, they are simply creations of our mind - not reality. 

Mindfulness can help by making us more aware of the mind's processes and, with practice, we can learn to let our thoughts come and go without much consideration.  This frees us from the constant worries, thoughts of the past, or plans for the future. 

An exercise in mindfulness

There are many exercises and techniques for practising mindfulness. Try the exercise below and note how it makes you feel afterwards. 

Exercise: Breathing to connect - Sit or lie comfortably with your eyes closed. For the next six minutes connect with your breathing. Notice the gentle rise and fall of your rib cage and follow the air in and out of your lungs. Let any thoughts and feelings come and go, and each time you notice that your attention has wandered, gently refocus (you’ll need to do this again and again… and again). For the next three minutes expand your awareness so that you’re aware of your body and feelings as well as your breath. For the final minute open your eyes and connect with the room around you, as well as with your body, your feelings, and your breathing (Harris, 2007).

Outcomes

With practice, mindfulness can enhance your wellbeing in the long term by reducing your stress levels and providing inner strength and resources. Indeed studies have shown that the brain actually changes with mindfulness practice.

Further information