Let them cry. You can tell children not to be ashamed of tears, that you are not ashamed if they cry, and that expressing your feelings does not mean they are weak. Be open about feelings. Parents can also validate their children's sadness or anger by encouraging them to talk about their emotions. Bedtime can be an excellent opportunity to chat with younger children, and with teens, you can often get them to open up when you ride together in the car. "It doesn't even have to be a deep conversation, just review," Dr. Busman says. "It's about opening the dialogue." Parents should also support their children's emotions by telling them that it is okay to feel them and that everyone feels them. He adds that books can be helpful in that regard. For example, she has one for her son called Tough Guys Have Feelings, Too, with characters like a losing fighter and an astronaut who misses her home and feels sad. Books like this show children that sad or negative feelings are normal and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Serve as an example. "I'm hopeful that we can also model a healthier view of being a child who can express emotions," says Dr. Busman. "I believe that the father and the other men in the children's lives can serve as role models by expressing their emotions and teaching the children how they handle disappointments."
Teasing or harassment
Harassment (or bullying) is not healthy for either the harasser or the victim of harassment. “When you have a gender code that says there is only room for one at the top, then children define themselves and make themselves better by pushing others down,” says Dr. Steiner-Adair. “So we see a lot of subtle lateral aggression, and sometimes not so subtle, and we see a lot of teasing.” Any sign of weakness is free ground, including not being good at sports or even being too bright.
How to help
Emphasize empathy. From an early age, parents can encourage children to be aware of how others think and feel and to take those feelings into account. Busman says that many elementary schools have some social, emotional curriculum, which teaches conflict resolution, and notes that it is suitable for parents to know about them to follow up on them.
Encourage friendships and activities with girls. Playing with and interacting with girls in school and coeducational activities can reduce competitiveness with other boys and allow them to develop interests that are not traditionally masculine with less fear of ridicule. Do not allow others to speak ill of others in your home. Let children know that insulting other children by calling them weak or losers (or worse) is not acceptable, coming from them or their friends, and make sure that the adults in your family do not do it either. Teach children to stand up for themselves. Although adults may need to intervene when bullying occurs, Dr. Busman says children should be taught to handle these situations independently. Parents can discuss bullying with their children in advance and practice strategies for dealing with it. For example, it can help to have a short script prepared that a child can say if someone is addressing him, to deflect what is happening. Similarly, together you can strategize to make a list of some adults or friends you could turn to for support.
Try a new image
How you dress affects how others perceive you, but it can also alter how you see yourself. Wearing different clothes can influence you to behave or think differently. This effect is not limited to feeling good about yourself. Adam D. Galinsky, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, found that study participants wearing a white lab coat demonstrated greater concentration. In other words, when people dressed as a doctor, they behaved more like one, or at least the way they thought a doctor should behave. If you want to be more confident, dress as your other self would, the more self-confident one.
Challenge your imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome is a cruel misconception of the mind that convinces you that your achievements don’t count and that people will realize that you are a fraud. This doubt takes root because mistakes are easier to remember than successes. Get in the habit of always writing or reflecting on the times you’ve done something right. It’s easier to feel confident in your abilities if you remember them.
Change your posture
As with the way you dress, your posture can affect how you feel about yourself.
Ism. While it may seem a bit silly at first (remember that advice to get out of your comfort zone), trying empowering postures helps adjust your state of mind. Research from Ohio State University indicates that something as simple as sitting upright sometimes gives you greater confidence in what you are doing.
Avoid the arrogance trap.
As you begin to express yourself more confidently, it is natural to worry that you may become arrogant in the process. However, according to Houpert, arrogance is not runaway confidence.
Arrogance is more the result of insecurity and not excessive self-confidence. Confidence is self-satisfied, while arrogance requires external validation for the person to feel good. That is why there are people who show off to get recognition from others. Someone with true self-confidence can be assertive and stand up for himself but is unlikely to adopt a tone that others will find arrogant. Interestingly, the best defense against arrogance is to develop authentic self-confidence,” she commented.
If you start to doubt yourself, it will take time to feel like you are in the right place. Meanwhile, your ingrained doubt may be trying to tell you that feeling good about yourself or being assertive is arrogance. Recognizing that this is a symptom of insecurity (and that being aware of the symptom is a way to vaccinate against it) may help you get through the moment.