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Parenting Coach Shares 3 Things That Really Matter When It Comes To Raising Happy, Confident Kids

Parenting coach Gen Muir says there are three key things we can do as parents to help raise happy, confident kids.
Parenting coach Gen Muir says there are three key things we can do as parents to help raise happy, confident kids.

Parenting coach Gen Muir says there are three key things we can do as parents to help raise happy, confident kids.

It can be hard to know where to even start when it comes to raising a happy and confident child. Especially when most of the time you’re just focusing on getting them through the day in one piece and keeping them fed, watered and stimulated.

Now one parenting coach has shared three key things that parents can focus on to raise children who end up being resilient, confident and happy – and lots of us are probably doing these things already (which is a nice reminder that, you know, you’ve got this).

In a video which has been viewed a quarter of a million times, Gen Muir talks about how we come out of the womb “wired for connection” and grow up asking three key questions: Am I loved? Am I safe? And am I seen and heard?

The parenting coach and social worker suggests we need to answer each of these three questions in our day-to-day lives with our actions towards our children. So what does that look like in practice?

Am I loved?

With the question am I loved?, Muir says we need to answer this with connection.

“We literally just hug them and fist pump them and high-five them and delight in them in the same way as a dog delights when you enter the room or come home from being out,” she explains.

This all works towards filling their emotional cup and just making them feel loved and wonderful.

Am I safe?

With the next question, am I safe?, Muir suggests children want to know that someone is at the wheel. “They ask this question by pushing boundaries and needing us to set limits where they don’t know any better,” says the social worker.

We can do this by setting boundaries, she suggests – and we should set these boundaries using our relationship rather than threats, punishment or bribes.

Some ways you can set boundaries in day-to-day life, according to Growing Early Minds, include:

  • setting rules, limits and routines;

  • being clear with your language;

  • being consistent with your boundaries;

  • being firm but with a warm tone;

  • and acknowledging and praising your child’s efforts when they do the right thing.

Am I seen and heard?

The last question to answer is, am I seen and heard?, which is ultimately what all humans want to feel.

“This makes them know that they’re real and the things that they feel are happening and it’s not some figment of their imagination,” says Muir, who has four children.

We can answer this question by saying things like: ‘it’s OK to cry and I’m here with you,’ rather than waving a toy about or pointing at a dog and saying ‘don’t cry’ to try and distract them from their feelings.

The same goes with if a toddler falls over and hurts themselves. While our default can often be to try and distract them because they’re sad (and we want nothing more than to see them smile again), sometimes we just have to let them sit with their feelings for a moment and give them a hug to let them know we’re there for them.

After all, if you hurt yourself, you’d probably want someone to show they care rather than brush off what you’re feeling.

With older children and teens, Muir says it’s important to let them know there’s nothing they can’t tell us and that we are “the safe base” – and that as parents, we love them just as much when they’re happy as when they’re sad, frustrated, angry or experiencing any other emotion.

She concludes that doing all of these things: focusing on connection, setting boundaries and welcoming big feelings, are really instrumental in raising happy and confident kids.

Of course, sometimes we forget to do these things, or the way in which we were treated as children can impact the way we parent.

When one user commented to say they worried they weren’t doing these things enough because of their own childhood wounds, Muir responded: “We only need to meet these needs 30% of the time, too.”

Hundreds of parents commented on the video to say how they found it useful advice. One mother said: “Thank you for the reminder that doing these things is all my child really needs and we’re doing a good job.”

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