Practically Speaking Mom: Intentional Mom, Strong Family

203 Simple Ways to Grow Communication Skills & Self-Assuredness in Kids & Teens: Confidence Series

October 09, 2023 Val Harrison, The Practically Speaking MOM Season 4 Episode 203
Practically Speaking Mom: Intentional Mom, Strong Family
203 Simple Ways to Grow Communication Skills & Self-Assuredness in Kids & Teens: Confidence Series
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What age should you begin equipping your kids with self-confidence habits?  Start now! Toddlers are not too young to begin developing habits that will help them be more confident. Have you ever wondered how to instill the habits of confidence in your kids from an early age? Did you know that when your kids display confidence that other people have more confidence in them - which means they get their messages across and achieve their goals more often? But how do we actually equip our kids with the right communication skills and confidence habits they need to enhance their life? Today in episode 203 of the Practically Speaking MOM Podcast, I share my personal strategies for raising self-assured kids! It's an episode full of SIMPLE techniques for every mom in the many stages of raising your kids and helping prepare them for life. I've got examples for you from what manners to practice with toddlers to conversations with teens on how to bring up difficult issues with someone. These are simple techniques to impact your kids' habits in how they treat one another, the messages they send through eye contact and posture.  We've got strategies for helping your kids to rise above timidity, there's so much here today so be sure to listen through to the end.  

This is episode 4 in our Confident Kids/Confident Teens series. The first three episodes were discussions between me, Val Harrison, The Practically Speaking MOM and three of my kids Abby, Andrew, and Emma. Those were #175, 201, and 202, you can find links in the shownotes.  

Today is jam packed with practical help in what I did with my own seven kids BEFORE teaching them to step out of their comfort zone and become open to opportunities, along with sharing some of the skills I have taught to many students from my speech and communication classes from the past 20 plus years.

Today is like a communication 101 guide that also introduces you to the many types of confidence from mental confidence to spiritual confidence to body confidence and more. 

We will also look at the significance of eye contact in how it plays a pivotal role in conveying value and attention during an interaction. Hop in and join us, as we explore the art of raising self-assured kids.

Be sure to check out my book Gaining Momentum: Preparing Your Student for a Career With or Without Colle

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"May the Words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, oh Lord, my Roc...

val harrison:

THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS GENERATED AUTOMATICALLY AND HAS NOT BEEN CORRECTED. When my kids were very young, I would begin confidence habits with them. Today, I'm sharing some of those habits with you. Today is episode four in a theme of building confidence in kids and teens. Episode 175 was Abby and I. She's in college. The next one was episode 201, which was Andrew and I. He's a senior in college. Episode 202 was Emma and I. She's our youngest child. She's a freshman in high school and this week it's going to be just me.

val harrison:

We're going to be looking at some building blocks that are so necessary to help our kids feel secure enough to spread their wings out of their comfort zone and into the middle of whatever awesomeness God has for their lives. Now, when my kids were very young, I would begin confidence habits with them. Why? Because I don't want their life to be limited by timidity. I want them to be open to opportunities. I want them to, especially, be willing to walk in the unique path that God has for them as they pray and seek God's will for their individual life to truly become all he ordained for them to become. To do that, they needed to be willing to step out of their comfort zone. To step out of our comfort zone. We've got to feel some security. That may be the main definition of the type of confidence I wanted for my kids A willingness to take calculated risks for wise reasons. That's what I'm going to call confidence.

val harrison:

One principle required to have that kind of confidence is to be open to opportunities. So when unique, beneficial opportunities came our way, I really preferred that we say yes when possible. I'm not talking about saying yes to every sports and every club, but yes to a wide variety of opportunities. I liked for us to have connections at multiple churches. For example, we had our own church that we would participate in those opportunities. But then we'd also go to events at my parents church or our friends churches, not every week. I'm not talking about a busy schedule. I'm talking about variety and expanding their vision and expanding their scope of people and interactions. So if the state fair is going on, let's go to the state fair. If there's a mission trip opportunity, let's look into if you know the mission trip is right for us and our situation.

val harrison:

Another way that we would grow confidence was to have a weekly time to practice interacting or communicating with others. When they were really little, I called this manners time. We scheduled manners time at home a few times a week. Manners at home turned into speech prep, it turned into drama, it turned into debate. So manners was something we could do, no matter how many kids we had. You know, I mean, we had seven kids, but I started manners practice when I had two kids and the easiest way for me to do that was to just get some manners books like Berenstein Bears had a book on manners, busy town had a book on manners. I would look at used book sales, garage sales and you know, in this day and age we have the internet with Amazon and Mardell and Christian bookcom. There's so many places that we can look for this. But I would just get a collection of manners books and we would turn to just a page in there and we would see that manner and I'd read that page and then we would act it out. It was really that simple and I was just creating opportunities for us to practice real life situations.

val harrison:

So I might be practicing how to get someone's attention. For example, when we talk we don't just start talking to someone. If we want their full attention we need to say their name first. So maybe we would sit at the table and I would say Tori, and so I would say yes, mom, and I'd say, can you please pass the spaghetti? Sure, so we would practice that. Or I'd say, okay, let's just practice getting each other's attention. And that just means saying someone's name and waiting for them to acknowledge us. And usually we acknowledge someone by saying yes, or can I help you? Okay, becca, it's your turn. So Becca could pick another family member and say Nathan, and Nathan can say yes, becca.

val harrison:

So just practicing that very basic step of getting someone's attention is teaching them the habit of giving eye contact and verbal communication with other people. Just that one step alone builds confidence in our kids. It helps them to be prepared ahead of time for different situations. It also is setting themselves up for being successful in the things they attempt. I don't know about you, but I come across people all the time who do not know common interaction, appropriate behavior. So they may want something, but because they haven't learned appropriate ways to communicate it, they're often not getting what they want.

val harrison:

Now we could take a big thing like Shark Tank. Have you watched that show? I kind of love that show, but people will present their business ideas on there and the sharks will either offer them a deal or not Well if they've learned how to communicate. Sometimes there'll be people on there entrepreneurs on there who've come up with a great idea, but they gave a horrible presentation. It was so unimpressive. They did not build the confidence of the investors, so nobody invested with them.

val harrison:

And that's really what we're doing. When we're teaching kids how to communicate effectively, we're helping other people to have confidence in our kids, and that's what we want for our kids. We want people to have confidence in them so that they achieve what they're attempting. If one of our kids needs to talk to their teacher, if they've learned effective ways to communicate, they're more likely to get what they want from that teacher. That's just kind of the basics of life. But also learning good communication blesses others more. I want to be a blessing. I want my kids to be a blessing. I want them to think about how they are interacting with their friends and in so doing, their friends are learning how to interact back with them. The way we treat others is generally the way others treat us. I tell my kids all the time you are determining how others treat you. You're in charge of that. You need to have confidence and boundaries.

val harrison:

Okay, so I had all kinds of things that I practiced with the kids at home how to argue kindly, how to ask for a toy, how to share a toy. You know, asking for a toy, we'll play this. One of the kids is playing with a toy and the other child is to say, andrew, when you're done with that toy, could I play with it? And Andrew is to respond back yes, sure, I will let you know when I'm finished with it. Or yes, in five minutes I will give this toy to you.

val harrison:

So, teaching them just the very basics of little ways to interact, maybe, with older kids, teaching them how do we bring up confrontational things in kind ways. And if I was teaching that, I might say, josh, yes, mom, can I talk to you about a hard thing for a minute? Of course, mom, that's fine. Or well, actually I'm about to head out the door. Is this something we could talk about when I get back? Or well, I am expecting a phone call right now. Is it something we can talk about until the phone rings? Or I really have a deadline with this assignment. Is there any way we could talk about this, like at seven to night, after my deadline is passed? You know, teaching those different kind of interactions and then.

val harrison:

So I just said that I wanted to have a conversation about something hard. Maybe my next thing after that is I really hate bringing this up because it could be easily misinterpreted that I disapprove or that I'm upset with you or that I don't like how you did this, or that. I don't want you to feel uncomfortable by this conversation, but I do feel like it's something I'm supposed to talk about. So starting a difficult conversation in that way helps the other person know we aren't trying to be proud and bossy and difficult and we have weighed the pros and cons of bringing it up and felt like we needed to anyway. But we have respect for them, we honor them, we honor them with our tone and we honor them in our approach and difficult things.

val harrison:

So anyway, I'm kind of throwing a lot of different scenarios at you here for a variety of age kids, because you can have people skills practice time or communication practice time and not call it manners. If they're older they don't want to have manners. Practice etiquette it would be an older word for manners, but even that maybe they're wanting done with that. So move it into it being speech practice or interpersonal communication skills. Okay, let's keep going.

val harrison:

The other way that I want my kids to practice is not just at home although I do feel like role playing and discussion at home has made a huge difference in how my kids handle different situations in life but also I want them to have some practice in group settings. Some organizations that are good with that American Heritage Girls, and then there's a boys group. Like it too. I'll put in the show notes what the boys group is, but both of those are great organizations for giving you some practical life skills experience Teen packed. For a little bit older than that, this may seem like, wow, this is really excessive To spend this time practicing these very specific skills with them, but what if they start feeling confident enough that the messages that God's put inside of them? What if they get confident enough, brave enough, yet humble enough, to present their messages effectively to the world? That's what I want for my kids. I want whatever God has for them. I do not want timidity to stand in the way of that, and I want others to have confidence in my kids. So I build confidence into them by helping them practice habits of confidence. So that's really what, what we're doing with that.

val harrison:

There are many angles to confidence, and I think I could have an entire podcast in which every episode was dedicated solely to the topic of developing confidence. Mental confidence, for example, like what you believe about yourself, your perception of yourself, what you believe you're capable of being capable of creating, capable of overcoming, you know. These are mental confidence aspects. What about body confidence and how you carry yourself and present yourself to others? This was another thing that we would practice. Only during this practice time Would we do this. I would not have my kids do this all the time, so don't freak out when you hear this, but during these confidence practice times it would be shoulders back, chin up, looking people in the eye.

val harrison:

That is how we present what we believe in, because if we say things with confidence, then other people see the value in what we have to say. But if we say something quiet, head down, really sheepish, very unconfident in our approach, then the people who are hearing us do not believe our message. I want their message to be heard. I want people to know when they say no, that is crossing a line with me, you have crossed a boundary. I want others to believe them and take it seriously, and so that means that they have to have some fire in their belly and some belief in their mouth and shoulders. Back, chin up, looking somebody in the eye and speaking loud enough. That helps accomplish the power of that message to get through to the other people. That's body confidence.

val harrison:

What about social confidence? Social confidence in your communication with others, how you handle yourself in social situations, and how we communicate with someone younger than us, older than us, how we introduce someone to a group Maybe they're new. How do we make a friend? How do we have small talk? How do we handle relationships? There's so many aspects to relationships. And then there's spiritual confidence. Some examples of spiritual confidence would be I am confident because I know who God made me to be. I'm confident because I know God is with me. I'm confident because God has ordained my steps. I'm confident because God works all things together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose. I'm confident because God says he has made plans for my life. There is also academic confidence. There is adventuring confidence. There's confidence about the ability to brainstorm new ideas or confidence in implementing ideas, confidence in entrepreneurial skills or in business skills. Confidence can just flow into all different areas of life, throughout our life. So, yes, I took this very seriously with my kids and it may sound excessive to you, but what it has done is it has opened doors for them, it has brought opportunity and it has taken away limits. There are so many aspects to confidence, so obviously we can't talk about all the different aspects of it in one episode or even in a series. What I want to do is give you one basic, practical step to begin implementing with your kids today. So that's how we're wrapping up.

val harrison:

Today I want to talk to you about eye contact. Eye contact shows value. When I look you in the eye, I'm saying I value you. It also is saying I expect you to value me. I also am going to wait to share my information with you until I have your full attention, because I believe that what I have to say is valuable. But likewise, I'm going to give you my full attention because I believe what you have to say is valuable. Also. Eye contact full attention gives value, speaks to the value of something. When I do not look at you while you're talking, it makes you feel not valued and it makes you feel like your message isn't valuable. And I want you to feel valued and I want you to feel valued about your message. I'm going to give you my eye contact. If I try to talk to you without looking at you, if I'm looking down, it says I don't value me. If I look past you while I'm talking to you, it says I don't value you. So I'm going to learn to have eye contact and I'm going to learn to expect eye contact from those I speak with, not in a prideful way, but just in a valuing one another kind of way.

val harrison:

So how did I get my kids to do this? Well, it's from learning to say their name and wait for eye contact. So I do this with my grandkids too. Just hey, jamie you know he keeps playing Jamie, let grandma see your eyes. And then he stops and looks at my face Because he wants grandma to see his eyes, as I asked him to, and then I'll say okay. Next you'll say yes, grandma, yes, grandma. So next time I need him again, that is gonna be my expectation and he might not remember. And it's okay, I'm full of grace, not fussing, not nagging or finger wagging tone in my voice at all, but just hey, jamie, and and he's not listening again. So I'd be like Jamie, let grandma see your eyes Now say yes, grandma. You know so. I'm just teaching them the habits of interaction, and it starts by when you hear your name called by grandma. Then look at me and say yes, grandma. And this begins learning how to honor one another. I want to want honor them with my full attention and I want them to honor me with their full attention, and I want us to learn how to be all in in the moments, together in our lives. And this is just the very beginning step of learning to value one another.

val harrison:

When you avoid making eye contact with someone, you are communicating some things. You might be communicating that you're not trustworthy, you're honest. You might be communicating that you're disrespecting them. It might be communicating to them that you dislike them or that you want to avoid the conversation. Now, there are a lot of messages that are sent when we don't have good eye contact, and most researchers would say that eye contact is the most important form of nonverbal interaction, because it has the biggest impact on how people feel about us and what we're saying.

val harrison:

So we really do want, we want to teach our kids to have eye contact, but we also want to teach them not to stare. So when they get a little bit older, we do want to teach you. So at first we're just teaching them eye contact when we're interacting, but then, when they get a little bit older, we can teach them that they want to be looking at the other person about. You know, between 1570 percent of the time you do want to. You look away some and look back. Look away, look right back, and that helps that other person feel more comfortable and not stared at.

val harrison:

You've heard the phrase that your eyes are the window to the soul. Well, our eyes really do reveal or send messages about what we think about the other person and their message, and we want to give approval. We want to give Sorrow with our eyes sometimes, or determination with our eyes. We want to give empathy with our eyes. We can communicate so many things as we learn to have good eye contact. So hope that's a little start for you now. Next week we are shifting gears to look at these. There's some basic Basic building blocks that kids need in order to feel secure enough to step out of their comfort zone and do hard things and Do brave things. We want Humble and brave, that combination. But what are the building blocks of helping our kids feel secure, and that's where we're going next week on the practically speaking mom podcast the place for intentional moms to build strong families. See you next week.

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Eye Contact's Importance in Communication
Power of Eye Contact and Strong Families