About the Book
"A wise and realistic program for instilling genuine self-esteem in children."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Help your child cultivate real, lasting confidence! In Kid Confidence, a licensed clinical psychologist and parenting expert offers practical, evidence-based parenting strategies to help kids foster satisfying relationships, develop competence, and make choices that fit who they are and want to become.
As parents, it’s heartbreaking to hear children say negative things about themselves. But as children grow older and begin thinking about the world in more complex ways, they also become more self-critical. Alarmingly, studies show that self-esteem, for many children, takes a sharp drop starting around age eight, and this decline continues into the early teen years. So, how can you turn the tide on this upsetting trend and help your child build genuine self-esteem?
With this guide, you’ll learn that self-esteem isn’t about telling kids they're “special.” It’s about helping them embrace the freedom that comes with a quiet ego—a way of being in the world that isn't preoccupied with self-judgment, and instead embraces a compassionate view of oneself and others that allows for both present awareness and personal growth. When kids are less focused on evaluating and comparing themselves with others, they are freer to empathize with others, embrace learning, and connect with the values that are bigger than themselves.
You’ll also discover how your child’s fundamental needs for connection, competence, and choice are essential for real self-esteem. Connection involves building meaningful and satisfying relationships that create a sense of belonging. Competence means building tangible skills. And choice is about being able to make decisions, figure out what matters, and choose to act in ways that are consistent with personal values. When children are able to fulfill these three basic needs, the question of “Am I good enough?” is less likely to come up.
If your child is suffering from low self-esteem, you need a nuanced parenting approach. Let this book guide you as you help your child create unshakeable confidence and lasting well-being.
Books by Eileen Kennedy-Moore
Books by Michele Borba
“In this book, clinical psychologist Kennedy-Moore (What’s My Child Thinking?, 2019, etc.) promises readers a wide range of practical and effective parenting strategies. But first, the author takes pains to debunk some key concepts of contemporary child-rearing philosophy—the worst of which, she says, is the idea that one must compulsively and universally offer kids uninterrupted affirmation in order to build up their self-esteem.... Kennedy-Moore addresses the topics of making parental connections, assessing and building children’s competencies, and helping kids to become more decisive and deal with bullying. Throughout, she employs a clear, concise prose style and an unfailing directness, typified in lines such as ‘As parents, we can’t protect our children from having bad things happen to them.’.... A wise and realistic program for instilling genuine self-esteem in children.”
“In her warm, accessible style, Eileen Kennedy-Moore has turned conventional thinking about self-esteem on its head. Speaking directly to parents, and to anyone who works with or cares about children, Kid Confidence makes a compelling argument for turning away from frantic attempts to pump up our children’s self-esteem. Instead, Kennedy-Moore lays out a plan to address the need for connection, competence, and choice—three critical factors at the heart of a ‛quiet ego.’ It is possible to dive into any one chapter and emerge armed with practical suggestions. Better yet, read the whole book. This one is a game-changer.”
—Dawn Huebner, PhD, psychologist, parent coach, and author of Outsmarting Worry
“Kid Confidence is packed with surprising and realistic advice about how we can help kids stop worrying about if they are good enough. In her uniquely wonderful way, Kennedy-Moore also gives us the confidence to handle any parenting challenge.”
—Diane Debrovner, deputy editor at Parents magazine
“The best parenting resource I have seen in several years. Too many children and teens suffer from a negative inward focus on themselves that is self-critical and self-judgmental. Outwardly, they may seem anxious or depressed, worried or discouraged. Child and family psychologist Eileen Kennedy-Moore shows parents the road to helping children develop real self-esteem and ‛a quiet ego’ through connection, competence, and choice. The book is firmly evidence-based, developmentally based, practically based, and it is fundamentally wise and compassionate.”
—Carol D. Goodheart, EdD, former president of the American Psychological Association
“Not just another parenting book! Eileen Kennedy-Moore relies on solid research to reveal why much of what we’ve been taught about raising self-confident children is actually counterproductive. Kid Confidence offers a wealth of wisdom and practical strategies aimed at helping parents succeed at instilling their children with authentic self-esteem through reducing self-focus and harsh self-judgment.”
—Mary K. Alvord, PhD, psychologist, and coauthor of Conquer Negative Thinking for Teens and Resilience Builder Program for Children and Adolescents
“An exciting alternative to most books about self-esteem. Eileen Kennedy-Moore helps parents boost their child’s skills in the critical areas of making friends, making choices, and mastering the ups and downs of the learning process. Every parent, grandparent, and school counselor can benefit from the specific tips and guidance in this book. Wise, compassionate, and grounded in the latest research, Kid Confidence delivers on its promise to help children develop authentic confidence.”
—Meg Selig, NCC, a retired counselor, and author of Changepower!
“Traditional approaches to building self-esteem and confidence often encourage a rather egoic approach that can inadvertently make children more self-focused, insecure, and unhappy. Drawing on the latest theory and research in psychology, Eileen Kennedy-Moore offers insights and advice by which parents can foster their children’s well-being by promoting their social connections, competence, and feelings of choice and control. Not only are these the pillars of happiness and lifelong well-being, but when parents focus on these important considerations, self-esteem and self-confidence take care of themselves.”
—Mark R. Leary, PhD, Garonzik Family Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University, and author of The Curse of the Self
“In this enlightening and refreshing book, Eileen Kennedy-Moore puts forth the premise that we can’t just ‛teach’ our kids to have self-confidence, but rather that we grow it with them through our relationships. Parents and teachers alike will benefit from the book’s powerful message that our connection with our kids is the foundation of self-esteem.”
—Mona Delahooke, PhD, clinical psychologist, and author of Social and Emotional Development in Early Intervention
“What child couldn’t use some help through the rocky road of childhood? Be it making friends, making good decisions, or having a can-do attitude, Eileen Kennedy-Moore skillfully guides parents in how to help children develop authentic self-esteem, and build their resilience to meet the inevitable rough patches and pressures of growing up today. Kid Confidence provides vital understanding and strategies to cultivate confident kids that parents can confidently send out into the world...with pride.”
—Susan Newman, PhD, social psychologist, and author of Little Things Long Remembered and The Book of NO
“Kid Confidence is a must-read parenting book! Eileen offers keen insight into how to ease a child’s harsh self-focus, which is the foundation for raising an emotionally healthy child.”
—Maureen Healy, author of The Emotionally Healthy Child
“Kid Confidence is essential reading for those who seek to guide children who experience low self-esteem. Eileen Kennedy-Moore emphasizes the importance of connection, competence, and choice. She conveys a wealth of understandings, and shares practical strategies designed to help children temper tendencies toward harsh or negative self-focus. For example, she discusses how to forge meaningful relationships, maximize effort, recognize unproductive rumination, build decision-making skills, and develop the confidence and joy of a quiet ego. Kennedy-Moore reveals myriad ways kids can embrace a kinder, realistic, more empowered sense of self.”
—Joanne Foster, EdD, educational consultant, and award-winning author of five books on child development, giftedness, and productivity—including Beyond Intelligence; Not Now, Maybe Later; and Bust Your BUTS
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