Building Confidence Up, Tearing Insecurities Down
One mom shares her journey to achieving confidence in herself and her kids as part of the Care.com Interview Series.
Building confidence in kids has always been a part of Stephanie Anderson's life. From working at a non-profit that supports teenagers to becoming a mom of two amazing girls, Anderson feels empowered by the message of confidence. We talked to Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom blogger about the importance of praising even the smallest victories, how social media can actually empower women and why she thinks we can all learn a thing or two about confidence from her young daughters.
Tell us about your family.
I have a fantastic husband (we've been married 5 ½ years!) and 2 beautiful (and ENERGETIC) daughters who are , 4 years old and 18 months.
Do you consider yourself a confident woman? If so, what and who helped you get there?
I am becoming a confident woman. But for a long time I was very insecure. I look back on my high school self - and the things I let get to me, the people I let bring me down, and I realize my own self-esteem and the cruelty of others really affected my self-confidence as I became an adult woman. Once I recognized that, I started to work to overcome it. I challenged myself to do things that were out of my comfort zone (like going to a party alone or trying a new fitness class at the YMCA) - and started letting myself see the things I WAS good at. I've had to rewire my perspective on what gave me self-worth. Spoiler Alert: it is definitely not the opinions of other people!
Do you or any of your kids struggle with a lack of self-confidence? How have you handled that?
I think all women struggle, at times, with their self-confidence (or lack thereof). Our culture and society lends itself toward tearing down other women's self-esteems instead of building one another up. My daughters are still young - and I envy their innocence. They don't yet know how to be anything BUT confident! I need to take a lesson from them. And it is my hope that they may hold onto that confidence and not let the world take it away from them.
What was the one moment you knew you were worthy, important and that you truly count?
I worked for a non-profit (both as a volunteer and on staff) that focused on reaching out to the teenage population. I realized I had so much I wanted to say, so many ways I wanted to build them up - I had a message. And once I realized that they needed to hear that message, that I could have an impact on people, it made all the difference.
How do you express the value of confidence to your kids? What tips do you have for other parents on boosting kids' self-esteem?
When I tell my daughters they are beautiful, I make sure to explain that I mean their hearts and minds are as beautiful as what I see on the outside. I tell them daily that I am proud of them. I applaud and commend them for any and every achievement they make - however small. I do my best to stay alert and have my eyes open to even their smallest victories. I let them know that there is nothing they can do to make me stop loving them. I affirm my love for them, even when I am frustrated with their behavior. I encourage them to show kindness and respect to all people.
Is there anything you wish your parents had done or said to you to boost your self-esteem?
When I was younger, I had to work hard to receive praise, to be told, "Hey, I'm proud of you." I learned that praise (and maybe I translated that to love?) was conditional. I want my daughters to know that I am always and unconditionally proud of everything they do. That I believe in them.
How might you (some day) use social media to increase your child's self-esteem?
I would love to work with brand and companies that want to work to increase positive media messages to girls about their worth, their beauty, and their abilities. I would love to be a part of the technological message that Girls CAN. Girls ARE. I want to be a positive social media role model - to not be one to tear down other women, but to be a part of building up other women. To have courageous discussions about diversity and differences - so we can all come to a better understanding and appreciation of one another.
What's the ONE thing you want your kids to feel/remind themselves/know when they walk out the door in the morning?
I Believe in You!
Stephanie Anderson, who calls herself the modern day Donna Reed, is a wife and mother to two beautiful young daughters. She's building a community through her blog Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom while sharing stories about life, marriage, cooking, parenting, and bringing sexy back (not necessarily in that order). You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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