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Webchat with journalist and author Matthew Syed about boosting kids' confidence: Wednesday 18 April at 9pm

(48 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 17-Apr-18 10:02:58

Journalist, olympian and best selling author Matthew Syed is joining us for a webchat on Wednesday 18 April between 9 and 10pm to talk about this new book for children, which aims to teach them how to find confidence and believe they can be brilliant at (almost) anything.

You Are Awesome takes the themes and principles from his award winning adult novels Black Box Thinking and Bounce and recasts them for children aged 9+. Practical and insightful, this is the book to help children build resilience, embrace their mistakes and grow into successful, happy adults.

Join Matthew and put your questions to him on Wednesday between 9 and 10pm. If you're unable to join us then, post a question in advance on this thread.

Everyone who joins will be entered into a draw to win one of three copies of You Are Awesome.

LadyFlangeWidget Tue 17-Apr-18 13:09:44

HI Matthew
... my question is, whats most important for a 9 year old to get most experience at, in your opinion. team sport ( football?), music, or art? We live in Europe in a country where no music or art are taught at school ( poor low funded state school) Football or other sports are an out of school extra activity. Your thoughts? thanks. .

xevizu Tue 17-Apr-18 13:51:10

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

limecordial Tue 17-Apr-18 13:53:03

Would love to help 9yo girl find the confidence to express herself better (on paper particularly, but also when speaking). She's bright enough; at parents' evenings we are told she's exactly where she should be, she has a good vocabulary etc. But she still seems to struggle with context - invariably when she starts telling us about something we have no idea what she is talking about until we have stopped her and asked her to go back and explain more fully. With written work it is much the same.

We suspect it is part confidence, part not being that bothered which we realise is pretty common in children of that age but would still like to do anything we can to help her. Partly because she seems so unconfident compared to all her friends when it comes to things like this including making conversation. She is shy with people she doesn't know and doesn't like being the centre of attention but otherwise a secure and happy child. We are absolutely not trying to make her something she is not by the way - just want her to be able to interact socially with adults without seeming standoffish and rude (she is actually pretty sociable) and to head off any issues with written work now before she gets older and the expectations of her teachers grow. Will order your book but in the meantime would be grateful for any suggestions

ChipsRedWhite Tue 17-Apr-18 19:22:42

Hi Mathew,

My son will always find the negative in things and not recognise when he’s done well.

How can we encourage him to change his mindset?

Thanks

AndyNatt Tue 17-Apr-18 20:26:37

Hi Matthew. Love the book, podcasts and newspaper articles, not to mention the ping pong!
I have 2 questions if possible....do you believe children’s character good/bad is nature or nurture?
And...what motivates you to do what you do?
Many thanks
Andy

Tubelight2016 Tue 17-Apr-18 21:49:51

Hi Matthew,

My nephew is a perfectionist and criticises him self for every tiny little mistake he makes in art, music , sports , academics etc

How do we help him to accept and correct his mistakes confidently and without being upset with himself .

Thanks

Guerre Wed 18-Apr-18 00:15:31

You know, I still haven't received the copy of Matthew's last book, that I won on his last we chat, in April 2016 sad

OlennasWimple Wed 18-Apr-18 00:21:47

Hi Matthew, thanks for doing this.

One of my DC's is a perfectionist and would rather not do something than risk getting it wrong, whether that's trying a new sport or even answering a question in class. How can we encourage her to give something a go and not worry about the consequences?

If I might try to sneak another question in... My other DC used to be confident and bubbly, but has recently suffered a sustained bout of bullying which has seen him become much more introverted and almost apologetic for himself. How do we get him back to the confident, outgoing boy he used to be? (Or is this a teenage thing, and he'll grow out of it eventually?)

InspiredByIntegrity Wed 18-Apr-18 10:48:32

My son is a keen sportsman and tries hard, coaches say he is 'coachable' and seems resilient about failure in sport (plays a team sport & an individual one). However, it is not the same picture with his studies. He is capable of great results but seems to have that thing of not wanting to try so he can't have done his best and then not do so great. He's not disruptive etc it just plays out in his head. As parents we are fairly laid back (eg check he has done his homework but not the quantity/quality).

What top tips can you offer for trying to get him into the same mindset over school ? Thanks.

CalmConfident Wed 18-Apr-18 20:46:58

How do you suggest building confidence when siblings seem to have a constant need to “get one up” on the others to build themselves up? I am tired of the conflict

YellowDiamond77 Wed 18-Apr-18 20:49:07

Hi Matthew,
Any tips for encouraging a 5 year old to have a "can do" attitude re sports? He is the youngest in his year and not naturally sporty. He enjoys running and kicking a ball around, but is already becoming discouraged by the fact that the others are much faster and more skilled than him. How can I keep his interest up and stop him comparing himself to others? He is naturally competitive
Thanks

Slaymill Wed 18-Apr-18 20:51:33

Hi Matthew,

How do I get my home schooled son to join in with local activities. He does seem reticent. I wanted him to join in with team building forest school events etc. I would like him to become more confident how can I help him ?

Many thanks

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 18-Apr-18 20:52:48

Guerre

You know, I still haven't received the copy of Matthew's last book, that I won on his last we chat, in April 2016 sad

shock sorry to hear this Guerre. Can you drop me a PM with your address and we'll see if we can get a copy sent to you. Was it a copy of Bounce?

scrappydappydoo Wed 18-Apr-18 20:55:36

Hi Matt, Any advice for my 10yr old DD whose confidence keeps getting knocked by friendship issues - the usual queen bee/tweenager politics. How does she continually pick herself up again and again?

3littlebadgers Wed 18-Apr-18 20:58:09

Hi Matthew, my daughter (9) suffered three traumatic life events within a short space of time including the stillbirth of her much wanted baby sister three years ago.
Since then she has lost the sparkle in her eyes. School is involved giving her 1-1 sessions but the littlest of things can break her.

Any advice about what we can do to help build up her resilience?

RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 18-Apr-18 21:00:07

Welcome everyone on this sunny evening and a big warm welcome to Matthew Syed. There's already quite a few in, so over to you Matthew...

MatthewSyed Wed 18-Apr-18 21:00:19

hello everyone! Looking forward to answering your questions, thanks for engaging!

MatthewSyed Wed 18-Apr-18 21:01:48

LadyFlangeWidget

HI Matthew
... my question is, whats most important for a 9 year old to get most experience at, in your opinion. team sport ( football?), music, or art? We live in Europe in a country where no music or art are taught at school ( poor low funded state school) Football or other sports are an out of school extra activity. Your thoughts? thanks. .

Hello there! LadyFlange - I don't think there is a single right answer. Whatever your child is most interested in. I loved team sports because they weren't just fun, but taught loads about working together in a group.

MatthewSyed Wed 18-Apr-18 21:04:57

limecordial

Would love to help 9yo girl find the confidence to express herself better (on paper particularly, but also when speaking). She's bright enough; at parents' evenings we are told she's exactly where she should be, she has a good vocabulary etc. But she still seems to struggle with context - invariably when she starts telling us about something we have no idea what she is talking about until we have stopped her and asked her to go back and explain more fully. With written work it is much the same.

We suspect it is part confidence, part not being that bothered which we realise is pretty common in children of that age but would still like to do anything we can to help her. Partly because she seems so unconfident compared to all her friends when it comes to things like this including making conversation. She is shy with people she doesn't know and doesn't like being the centre of attention but otherwise a secure and happy child. We are absolutely not trying to make her something she is not by the way - just want her to be able to interact socially with adults without seeming standoffish and rude (she is actually pretty sociable) and to head off any issues with written work now before she gets older and the expectations of her teachers grow. Will order your book but in the meantime would be grateful for any suggestions

Hello Limecordial - sounds to me that you have precisely the right approach. You don't want to make her something she is not, but you also want to ensure that she doesn't put up artificial barriers that prevent her from pursuing her ambitions and passions.

Re confidence in speaking or making conversation, this is very typical! But it is worth emphasising to her that these are entirely learnable skills! So long as she realises that every experience is an opportunity to learn, she will grow in confidence. Even the setbacks are character building.

MatthewSyed Wed 18-Apr-18 21:08:57

Tubelight2016

Hi Matthew,

My nephew is a perfectionist and criticises him self for every tiny little mistake he makes in art, music , sports , academics etc

How do we help him to accept and correct his mistakes confidently and without being upset with himself .

Thanks

Hi Tubelight - v interesting question! Perfectionism can sometimes manifest itself in youngsters not taking risks. They are so worried about being less than perfect that they don't even try!

Sounds like your nephew has a different issue. He might be too self-critical, as you imply. The key question i would ask is whether this self-criticism is seen by him as a pathway to self-improvement, or as an opportunity to beat himself up.

If the former, and he addresses his weaknesses passionately as part of his growth, it isn't necessarily a bad thing. If the latter, it can be destructive. Might be worth reminding him that mistakes are not always curses; they can be blessings if you handle them correctly.

todormirchev Wed 18-Apr-18 21:10:10

Hi, Matthew
My daughter is 7 years old and she is very shy and dependant from other opinions. I want to boost her self-confidence and her ability to stand up for her own choices, without fear of failure. I will be very thankful if you could give me some tips in this direction.

MatthewSyed Wed 18-Apr-18 21:11:08

AndyNatt

Hi Matthew. Love the book, podcasts and newspaper articles, not to mention the ping pong!
I have 2 questions if possible....do you believe children’s character good/bad is nature or nurture?
And...what motivates you to do what you do?
Many thanks
Andy

Thanks Andy for those kind comments!!

I think that character is mainly nurture, not nature.

Re my motivation, I love what I do! I so enjoy writing and learning, and getting feedback from readers. In fact, i love it even more than the ping pong in my previous life. Also have lots of fun with Rob and Fred on the podcast. I really miss them when the series is over!

MatthewSyed Wed 18-Apr-18 21:11:52

Guerre

You know, I still haven't received the copy of Matthew's last book, that I won on his last we chat, in April 2016 sad

Hi there Guerre - sorry to hear that. If you email speaking@matthewsyed.co.uk they will send you a copy...

AndyNatt Wed 18-Apr-18 21:12:45

Thanks!

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