Confidence and Social Justice: the connection

As Activist Parents, I really believe that one of our focuses needs to be on raising kids with strong self-esteem and confidence. Why?

Because high self-esteem and confidence is needed to…

Intervene when they hear oppressive remarks or jokes.
Speak up when they see bias.
Befriend those who are bullied due to prejudice.

Going with the crowd is easy, even if we don’t agree with them. It takes people with a strong sense of self who can go against the crowd to do what is right.

Because our kids will say, do, or think something that is offensive. It is inevitable.

One of the truths about having privilege is that we don’t always recognize it. We won’t ever fully know the life experience for those who face oppression as the expense of our privilege. There is always something we are not aware of, something we don’t understand. And so it is inevitable that me, you, our kids will say, do, or think something that is hurtful and offensive to somebody who faces oppression that coincides with our privilege.

(Remember: privilege and oppression doesn’t exist exclusive of each other. One gains privilege because of the oppression that another faces.)

And at these times what no one needs is fragility. We don’t want more people with a fragile sense of self, who get defensive, who try to explain or justify.

We need more people who know how to listen when someone points out their offensive statement, belief, or action. We need people who can self-reflect, learn, and grow beyond it.

Because people with a strong sense of self don’t need constant validation from others….

White person says to person of color, “Did you see my response to that racist post on facebook?”

…And don’t get hurt when validation isn’t given.

White person says, “After all I’ve done for you people!”

And by the way, never say “you people.”

People doing social justice work, especially when coming from a place of privilege (i.e. white person fighting against racism, cisgendered person fighting against transphobia), need to be doing it because it is the right thing to do. This has to be unshakeable, whether we get acknowledgment, validation, or are liked or not by members of the group we are working to be allies with.

Some Resources I Really Like

So the obvious next question is…So how do you build confidence in young children?

Well, that’s a great question. When I first asked that question when Avery was a toddler, I looked to Google and Pinterest for answers. I spent a good amount of time researching and reading articles. To save you the time, I’m sharing some of my favorites here.

Give Your Kids A Boost: Raise Confident Kids With Positive Self-Esteem by The Pragmatic Parent

Build Confidence in your 2-4 year old by Your Modern Family

How to Build Confidence on Your Kids by Sammy Approves

What I like about all these blogs is that they have simple, straight forward points that can be used in probably any home.

What are some of the ways you’ve built your kid’s confidence?

Confident Kids and Social Justice: the connection
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