Self Belief - Nature Or Nurture?

By Allison Marlowe

Thumbs Up!

There is no doubt that having strong self-belief instilled from an early age has huge benefits. Our opinion of ourselves is very powerful in determining how we lead our lives. We decide what we can, and what we think we can't do based on our self belief.

As parents we all want to develop a positive relationship with our children and raise them to be happy, responsible and confident adults. "Naughty", "stupid" or "idiot" are often words said in times of anger and frustration. You recall the time when your child nearly stepped off the pavement. "You idiot!" you shout, but of course this wasn't what you meant, this was a case of panic. On the other hand such words can be used as a weapon, words such as "naughty", "stupid" or "idiot" are such negative words that destroy confidence and initiative.

If they are directed at our children often enough then they will learn not to value themselves and feel a sense of inadequacy. Labelling a child in a negative way can also become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Child psychologists warn about the dangers of tagging your children pointing out that if you don't want your child to behave badly, it makes sense not to go around informing them how naughty or stupid they are. This labelling is often carried out in a state of unawares.

How many times have you heard another parent describe one of their children as "the clever one" or " the clumsy one" suggesting the other siblings are in fact not so clever or are more graceful - it works both ways! The child comes to accept this as a belief and learns to not even try to change. Remember, you get what you focus on.

Your self-awareness is key, in fact it is 50% of the battle. I challenge you to really listen to the language you use with your child. What are your 'red' card words? How will you replace them? Prepare a couple of phrases so you are ready to deal with a situation when it a rises. "I feel sad when you do that". Try responding to the action or behaviour and not the child. "That was a stupid thing to do" rather than "you are so stupid."

Children need positive role models more than they need critics. Understanding and encouragement makes them thrive.

© Allison Marlowe 2005

About The Author: Allison Marlowe, founder of Allison Marlowe Ltd coaches, inspires and challenges women in business to achieve new levels of success. She can be contacted at

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