By Renee MacLachlan

Confidence is something too many people lack. Are you confident in yourself? Do you think others see you as confident? What about your children?

Children are so perceptive and sensitive to many of these types of feelings. Do you think your child(ren) feels confident? 

How do you instill confidence in your child(ren)? Does it begin with you?

I know I’ve asked a lot of questions here, but I hope it’s also making you think.

I think it begins with us.

When we present ourselves and show our children that we feel good about ourselves and that we are proud of our accomplishments, they notice these things. Even though you don’t think they do, we all know children see and hear more than we think they do! 🙂

I know you are probably saying to yourself right now, “Does she think we have to go around with a smile on our faces every minute of every day?” No I don’t. We are only human after all. We all have our days, too.

When our children see it in us, it teaches them it’s good to feel good and to be proud of what they’ve accomplished as well. It’s good to feel good and to feel proud. Are we teaching them “ego”? No, it’s confidence. There is a difference.

For children with disabilities, that confidence sometimes comes with more difficulty. 

Unfortunately society still plays a factor in that. Things have come a long way, but there is a stigmatism still attached that some people still can’t let go of when it comes to people/children with disabilities. 

We need to empower our children!

  • Accept children for who they are
  • Give them confidence and encouragement that they can do whatever they’d like to do
  • Encourage interaction with other children
  • Teach them how to make friends
  • Get them involved in team/group programs, sports or some type of extra-curricular activity
  • Give praise for a job well done
  • Be supportive of what they want to do/try (if they sense or see you have doubts, they will have doubts, too.)
  • Reinforce positive behavior
  • Be a positive role model
  • Let your child make their own mistakes. Learning from those mistakes teaches them they can find ways to make things better and that it’s ok to make mistakes.
  • Let them try things on their own.  It might take longer to do, it might be messy, but they will be proud they did it on their own!
  • Let your child make choices/decisions. It makes them feel good.
  • Give them time to problem solve on their own. Don’t be so quick to rush in.

Yes, you’re right, for some, those things may need some modification of some sort for your child to do/try, but as the saying goes, “Dreams do, and can, become reality!”

It’s taken a long time for my son to get where he is today. He had “stayed the same” for so long. It was like a plateau/field of flat land with the odd small rolling hill, and you couldn’t see a fence or gate; it went on forever. I knew it wouldn’t be like that forever. I still worked on trying new and different things to see if he was ready to “climb one of those little hills in that huge field.” Some days, it wasn’t time and periodically on one of those beautiful summer days, one of those little hills got surmounted! The sun shone even brighter those days!

What a feeling of accomplishment and pride Patrick felt! Not just Patrick, of course Mom was over the moon as well! 🙂

The past year to two years, big changes have been happening with my son. Not just the physical growth part, but mentally and emotionally as well. He’s a teenager now. Wow, it still blows my mind when I say that! He has been so much more open to try something new. He’s “talking” more, expressing more about how he’s feeling and about the things around him in whatever environment he’s in. Mind you, some of those conversations don’t happen until we are home, then he tends to say a lot more.

Patrick is so proud of the things he does! He wants anything he makes at school or home proudly displayed on his bedroom walls! (He’s running out of room on them now!) The past while, he has started eating 15 bites of his lunch and supper, with a little assistance, but mostly on his own. Despite the fact that he doesn’t like how messy it is, he’s very proud of doing it on his own! 🙂 He “reminds” me every day that he wants to do it. 

If there is a mirror nearby, he will do what he can to be able to see himself in it. He LOVES to look at himself in the mirror, in pictures, in videos…he loves it!

We all have our moments/days where our confidence tends to dip a little lower than usual.  It happens with our children, too. There is always something positive to be thankful for. If we keep our minds open, the possibilities are endless!

I’m so thankful my son is happy about who he is and proud of his accomplishments. In a world that’s sometimes overwhelming for families with disabilities, I must be doing something right. 🙂

About Renee MacLachlan

June 14, 1997, was the beginning of a new journey in my life. My son Patrick was born. With 20 minutes notice, the doctors decided it was best to take him that night. He entered the world, and the journey began. Raising my son has taken me down many roads, all the while discovering and learning more about him and myself. I know and understand the daily routines, appointments, how to deal with doctors, nurses, therapists, schools and more that become a regular part of your life. For me to understand and deal with certain things, I need to have and know information. So with that came another part/aspect of my life. Finding out as much as I could/can about things my son and others do and will go through. 

I am an advocate to and for many. I’m a member of the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC), Accessibility Advisory Committee for the city of London and the subcommittees of Transportation, Facilities and Education & Awareness. I receved my community advocacy certificate from Lambton College. 

I am a writer, editor, singer, love music and like to be creative in the kitchen.  

Advocate information and resources (under construction)
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