12 Ways to raise a confident child (part 5 of 12)

Follow the journey….

5. Address Your Child by Name

What’s in a name? The person, the self—little or big. I can still remember my grandfather impressing on me the value of using and remembering peoples’ names. This lesson has proved profitable. One year I was a pre-med student competing with a bunch of marketing majors for a summer sales job. After I landed the job, I inquired why I, though less qualified, had been hired. “Because you remembered and used the names of all of your interviewers.” Addressing your child by name, especially when accompanied by eye contact and touch, exudes a “you’re special” message.

Beginning an interaction by using the other person’s name opens doors, breaks barriers, and even softens corrective discipline. Children learn to associate how you use their name with the message you have and the behavior you expect. Parents often use a child’s nickname or first name only in casual dialogue, “Jimmy, I like what you are doing.” They beef up the message by using the full name to make a deeper impression, “James Michael Sears, stop that!” One child we’ve heard about refers to his whole name as his “mad name” because that’s what he hears when his parents are angry at him.

Direct Communication

We have noticed that children with self-confidence more frequently address their peers and adults by name or title. Their own self-worth allows them to be more direct in their communication with others. Our two-year-old Lauren, dashes by my desk, chirping: “Hi, Dad!” The addition of “Dad” impressed me more than an impersonal, “Hi!” A school-age child who is comfortable addressing adults by name will be better able to ask for help when needed.

December 21, 2020 December 21, 2020 Dr. Bill Sears

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