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Oregon Family Magazine

Raising a Confident Child

01/01/2019 ● By Sandy Kauten
Raising a positive, confident, resilient child is not an easy task in today’s frazzled world. The news is full of sad, scary stories. Parent and family stress levels are at an all-time high, and children often absorb the tension and negativity around them. What’s a parent to do?  

After more than 25 years as a pediatrician, and as a mom, I suggest these tips for parents:

  • Limit screen time. Research shows a direct connection between screen time and behavioral problems, anxiety and depression in children. 
  • Practice and model gratitude. Comment on things you are thankful for as they happen throughout the day. Make it a habit to ask each family member to share about the positive parts of their day, during family dinners or when you’re driving in the car with your children.
  • Praise effort not outcome. When your child’s team wins the game or he or she does well in a class, focus on the effort rather than the score or the grade.
  • Build grit. Encourage your child to try hard things that require extended practice and effort.
  • Expect and accept failure. Today’s kids (and parents) often expect perfection and seek instant gratification, so help your child accept defeat graciously; and teach them to keep trying rather than giving up.
  • Spend focused time with your child. It’s estimated that the average child spends less than 15 minutes a day having one-on-one time with a parent and spends more than six hours a day in front of screens. It’s important to devote time to your child every day. Put away your phone. Engage and talk with your child. Share your thoughts and show them your love and dedication during your time together.  

Children ultimately reflect a combination of their own inborn personality and their upbringing. As parents, we cannot control every element that impacts our children, but we can work to create a positive environment that helps increase the chance that our kids will be happy, productive and flexible members of society. If you need help or support with maneuvering the tricky task of parenting, talk with your pediatrician.  

by Pilar Bradshaw, M.D., F.A.A.P.

Eugene Pediatric Associates