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9 yr old boy - what more can I do re improving self confidence??

(11 Posts)
welliesandpyjamas Tue 14-May-13 10:24:42

He has been praised and adored by us from day one. He is the first grandchild on both sides so he can do no wrong in anyone's eyes grin. We tell him all the time that he's amazing and that we love him. We are strict and have very high expectations of behaviour and manners, but not in a scary way iykwim.

And yet still his confidence in his own abilities is so low. Why?

It affects hs school work. He doesn't like committing to answer just in case he is wrong. He's always been that way sad

Latest example (which may sound small to you but it frustrated me) - this morning he told me that he'd placed himself in the middle group for the forthcoming swimming lessons in school, this being the group 'for those who struggle to complete a length of the pool', despite having spent four years learning to swim very well and completing all the levels at a different pool. And he's very good at anything sporty, in fact it's one of his strengths, but still he won't see that in himself.

What on earth more can we do for his self confidence than we already do? Is this just nature, not nurture, and is it even possible to meddle with it? His 4 year old brother has ten times his self confidence and thinks he rules the universe.

nostress Tue 14-May-13 13:31:57

I think you may be 'over praising'. I you are telling him he's amazing all the time he may doubt you are being truthfull and doubt himself. I say let him go in the middle group for swimming he will likely outperform the others then he will know in himself that he is good at it.

welliesandpyjamas Tue 14-May-13 13:41:13

Thanks for the reply smile

I agree about the swimming. I won't get involved. I try to always let him fight his own battles and make his own decisions. I'll just let that take its course. It was just the way it illustrated so much about him grin.

We do genuinely mean it when we praise him, it is only ever deserved, so it can't be considered untruthful, surely?! It's having the reverse effect n his brother. Seems I can't win, ha ha!

welliesandpyjamas Tue 14-May-13 13:43:06

The praise isn't constant and random, it is in response to whatever arises. Do you think we should praise less? (Genuine question by the way - aware the written word makes it look defensive, but it isn't! grin).

mistlethrush Tue 14-May-13 13:45:03

Mine's 8. He put himself in the middle group for swimming at the beginning of the year - which I thought was reasonable - but he says he was beating those in the top group (perhaps not with the same style grin).

DS is finding karate really good - he's doing a non-contact type so that they don't do kicks and punches at each other, but just pads. However, as they move up the grades you certainly see the confidence coming, in all ages. If he's already good at sporty things might be something that would fit in nicely.

welliesandpyjamas Tue 14-May-13 13:50:02

Interesting about your ds and the swimming, mistlethrush. Maybe it is a clever tactic to look good in the long run grin

He's just restarted taekwando recently, as it happens smile Fingers crossed it'll help.

He isn't a very shy child, he's excellent at socialising, making friends, talking with people, any age, etc. It's just the abilities thing.

nostress Tue 14-May-13 14:25:27

I think praise when itsdue is fine! I know there was some recent research on over-praise & thats why it stuck in my mind. It doesnt sound like you are doing that though!

I think younger ones tend to be a bit more confident. Dont know why! I think parents do treat siblings differently because they are learning themselves how to be parents. I know with my first I was very hands on helping him do alot of things, then he began to rely on me (and is not very patient). Second one I just let him get on with it, fail and try again and he is the most patient.

Also if hes confident socially thats the most important thing!

Secondme Tue 14-May-13 17:51:35

Ds2 started Perform about a year ago. It is dancing/singing/acting and at the beginning of his time there he had a no speaking part in the end of term production and now he has the main part. Confidence has always been a problem especially with over achieving older (and younger!) siblings. He is not a sporty child so maybe not for your ds if he is more sporty but definitely worth a try if he is up for it. They also don't force the child to do something they don't want to do which was good for ds2 who is scared of singing.
Absolutely great for ds2 but ds3 refused point blank to do more than one session hmm so really depends on the child.

welliesandpyjamas Wed 15-May-13 08:15:23

Thank you, nostress. It's true, there's certainly an increase in parental confidence as time passes! If ds2 is anything to go by, we're going to see one enormous personality in DD, now aged 7 months grin

Thank you for sharing, secondme. I'm glad that has worked out so well for your ds smile It gave me some ideas about making more of the things he enjoys at the moment outside of school.

Yesterday was a low day for me (an achey cold, pmt, and lots of other people's problems to sort out that I could really do without ...whinge whinge whinge) so I probably was being oversensitive. He'll be fine and grow in to a lovely young man, regardless of how much or how little he puts himself forward.

Must worry less. Sigh.

BlueChampagne Wed 15-May-13 13:41:56

A friend of mine did drama classes to boost his confidence. It certainly worked with him. He now thinks nothing of giving scientifiic presentations all over the world, and comes across as happy and confident in everyday life.

welliesandpyjamas Wed 15-May-13 14:37:24

That's a lovely story and a happy outcome, bluechampagne smile

Luckily, ds1 is happy and confident and isn't scared of being in front of an audience. With him, it's confidence in what he can do i.e. he feels like he isn't as good as he actually is iykwim. He'd probably be fine standing up to do that scientific presentation, but would probably think that everything he was saying was wrong grin

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