Happy as a Mother is now Momwell. Same mission and services, different look.
LEARN MORE
Happy as a Mother is now Momwell. Same mission and services, different look.
LEARN MORE

September 18, 2023

September 6, 2023

How to Raise Confident Kids: Breaking Cycles of Negative Self-Esteem

E:
189
with
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe
Founder of The North Star Developmental Clinic

What You'll Learn

  • How to Foster Self-Esteem and Confidence in Our Kids
  • Why Our Own Confidence Matters for Our Children
  • Body Image and Raising Confident Kids
  • The Role of Boundaries in Raising Confident Kids
  • How to Raise Confident Kids in the Technology Age
  • How to Start Raising Confident Kids

Many moms struggle with body image and a lack of self-esteem—and we don’t want to pass those things on to our children. But understanding how to raise confident kids isn’t easy. How do we break patterns fueled by diet culture, people-pleasing, and generational cycles?

Today, I’m joined by parenting educator and author Dr. Vanessa Lapointe to discuss how to raise confident kids.

The Journey to Confidence

As a recovering lifelong perfectionist and people-pleaser, I know the importance of confidence. It took me a long time to build my own, and it has become a priority for me to foster a sense of self-esteem and confidence for my boys. 

That’s something that is a passion for Dr. Vanessa. She was a high school dropout who struggled with depression, but knew she wanted to help support parents and their children. So she picked herself up, moved forward, and eventually became a psychologist, later transitioning into a full-time global parent educator. 

Her work centered on how to understand what makes humans tick, what role we play as parents in the nature vs. nurture debate, and how we can best support our kids so they can grow into the best version of themselves. 

Dr. Vanessa believes that the most challenging moments are often where growth and clarity eventually emerge. She has dedicated herself to helping parents overcome their challenges and parent with confidence so they can raise their families in an empowered way. 

As part of her mission, her platform has partnered with Dove to create messages of confidence and self-esteem for parents and their kids. 

I couldn’t wait to pick Dr. Vanessa’s brain and hear more about the work she’s doing and how we can collectively break cycles and raise confident, self-assured kids. 

How to Foster Self-Esteem and Confidence in Our Kids

One of the biggest questions I receive from moms in my DMs is how we can instill self-esteem and security in our children. Many of us weren’t raised in a way that fostered our own confidence. In fact, for so many of us, the exact opposite was true. 

But now, we want to break out of those cycles and ensure that we give our children the best foot forward. It isn’t easy to do that when it wasn’t modeled for us. 

Dr. Vanessa pointed out that we are raising children in unprecedented times. There are many forces at play around us that didn’t exist in previous generations. So it makes sense that moms are confused about how to take everything—from the internet and social media to our higher level of awareness about mental health—and use it in our parenting approach. 

What most of us ultimately want is to put the pieces together in a way that our children's childhood is protected, and that their sense of self is nurtured along the way. 

Dr. Vanessa defines self-esteem as the ability to have our narrative about ourselves come from within—so that we aren’t concerned with judgment or outside opinions. Instead, we can stand strongly in our own decisions and our own judgment. 

Having self-confidence gives us autonomy in our worth, allowing us to use our internal values to define ourselves instead of external criteria. 

Having self-confidence gives us autonomy in our worth.

So many of us want that for our kids, but we might not even have it for ourselves—let alone know how to foster it. 

Why Our Own Confidence Matters for Our Children

Dr. Vanessa said that the process begins with shifting the question we’re asking. Instead of wondering, “What do I do to raise confident kids,” we should be asking, “How should I be to raise confident kids?” 

When we focus on what we need to do, we can become overwhelmed with an online stream of information—different philosophies, parenting methods, and all the scripts, tips, tricks, and strategies. It can feel like we’re drowning in information. 

Dr. Vanessa also said that having so much information at our fingertips can sometimes breed fear that we are going to make the wrong decisions or that we will never be able to know or do enough. 

When we have guiding internal principles, we don’t need scripts or strategies. 

But when we ask “How should I be?” it changes our approach. Dr. Vanessa said that when we have guiding internal principles, we don’t need scripts or strategies—those details take care of themselves because we are confident that we are the answer our children need. 

And, in turn, we model those behaviors for our children. That’s why it’s important to begin with ourselves. If we want our children to show self-compassion, we need to embody that. If we want our children to be confident, we need to model confidence in ourselves. 

How often do we exercise compassion for our children, but place blame and shame on ourselves for our mistakes? If we want to move the needle, it’s important to do the self-work to grow ourselves and give ourselves compassion, confidence, acceptance, and assuredness. 

Body Image and Raising Confident Kids

Our body image also plays a big role in our self-esteem. Many of us were raised in diet culture, and continue to have a negative body image, especially postpartum. 

Dr. Vanessa pointed out that humans are wired to want to be part of the pack, to want to belong. So when we receive repeated messaging about what we should look like or encounter images of a specific body type over and over, there’s a natural gravitational pull toward believing that is the norm. 

And when that body type isn’t realistic or attainable for us, it’s no wonder that we feel bad about ourselves. We feel unworthy, like we’re not measuring up, which impacts our entire view of ourselves. 

Humans are wired to want to be part of the pack, to want to belong.

This same thing happens to our children. If they feel during their formative years that they are not measuring up to our expectations or that they are not doing the right thing, they internalize that. 

Dr. Vanessa said that often focus on communicating to our children when they haven’t reached the bar—but that we can change that approach. 

For example, if our toddler bites when they are excited or frustrated, we can either view this as a negative behavior, or we can understand that this is how our child is trying to communicate. 

We can still redirect the behavior, perhaps offering chewing toys or another outlet, without making our children feel like they are doing something wrong. 

The Role of Boundaries in Raising Confident Kids

It’s important to consider the messages we’re passing to our children and how they impact them. For example, boys are often praised for their athleticism or their intelligence, while girls might be praised for their looks or their cuteness. This unintentionally tells them what they need to focus on to be worthy or fit in. 

If we want them to look internally instead of externally for their worth, we have to give them a roadmap that helps them look within. 

Creating that roadmap might involve setting boundaries with in-laws or family members about messaging—especially when it comes to looks, body image, eating, and behavior. We can control the secure environment our children have in the home. 

For example, we can draw a line and say that in our house we don’t comment on our children’s food choices or shame their behavior. Or we might tell family members that we don’t want our children receiving messaging about gender norms. 

We can use our family values—the guiding principles that shape our decisions—to determine these boundaries. 

Boundaries not only create a safe and secure environment for our children, but they also model advocacy and confidence for them. 

How to Raise Confident Kids in the Technology Age

As our children get older, we might have to do more to create this roadmap. This often might include media literacy or putting protective layers on technology. 

Dr. Vanessa said that when it comes to technology, we can think of exposure as a ladder. When our children are first exposed to social media or other technology, they are on the first rung—and we often have more protective layers in place. 

For example, we might be right there with them when they’re using technology. We can create boundaries that we aren’t on phones or social media in bedrooms or private spaces. 

As they get older and move up the ladder, they are going to be increasingly on their own with their choices. So it’s valuable to have conversations along the way. 

Dr. Vanessa pointed out that social media and technology aren’t inherently bad—and we can shape our children’s relationship with them through modeling and communication. We might talk about body image and advertisement messaging, or avoiding comparison or unfollowing certain accounts. 

It can be tempting to keep our children away from social media or technology—but it’s also important that we foster their ability to make their own decisions, be wise consumers of technology, and trust themselves to recognize messaging and lean on their values. 

Ultimately, we can’t avoid technology exposure. But we can teach our children how to engage with it.

Ultimately, we can’t avoid technology exposure. But we can teach our children how to engage with it in a way that doesn’t hinder or harm their confidence. 

How to Start Raising Confident Kids

When we develop our own confidence, model self-compassion and self-assuredness, and help our children feel empowered in their own decision-making abilities, we can start to foster self-esteem and growth. 

Dr. Vanessa also recommended visiting the Dove website and downloading The Confidence Kit, which provides conversation starters and tangible tips for how to raise confident kids. 

The more that we embody confidence, the more that our children will learn how to stand in their own values and abilities. 

Struggling to make confident decisions as a parent? Our therapists can help! We offer virtual parenting support for every stage of the journey. Book a FREE 15 minute virtual consult today.

NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Tags:

Decision making, Confidence, Body image

Stage:

Postpartum, Motherhood

Share Now:

OUR GUEST

Dr. Vanessa Lapointe
Founder of The North Star Developmental Clinic

Dr. Vanessa Lapointe holds a Ph.D. in Psychology. She practiced as a psychologist for 20 years before becoming a full-time global parent educator, speaker, and consultant. Founder of The North Star Developmental Clinic, she has been supporting families for almost 20 years, and has previous experience in community mental health and the school system. Dr. Vanessa is known for bringing a sense of nurturing understanding and humanity to all of her work. Her passion is in walking alongside parents, teachers, care providers and other big people to really see the world through a child's eyes. She believes that if we can do this, we are beautifully positioned to grow up our children in the best possible way.

Erica Djossa
Erica Djossa
PMH-C | Founder of Momwell
Erica is the founder of Momwell, providing educational resources and virtual therapy for moms. She is a mom of three boys and a registered psychotherapist. Erica’s work has been featured in the Toronto Star, Breakfast Television, Scary Mommy, Medium, Pop Sugar, and Romper. how they want it.
RELATED ARTICLES
September 20, 2023
September 20, 2023
Managing Mom Anxiety: Why Millennial Moms Are So Anxious and How to Overcome Our Fears
E:
191
with
Dr. Lauren Cook
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
September 18, 2023
September 13, 2023
Embracing Power as Moms: Reshaping Dynamics In and Out of the Home
E:
190
with
Claire Shipman
NYT Bestselling Author
September 18, 2023
September 6, 2023
How to Raise Confident Kids: Breaking Cycles of Negative Self-Esteem
E:
189
with
Dr. Vanessa Lapointe
Founder of The North Star Developmental Clinic
September 18, 2023
August 23, 2023
Understanding Sensory Self-Care: How Overstimulated Moms Can Regulate and Regain Calm
E:
187
with
Holly Peretz
Pediatric Occupational Therapist
September 12, 2023
August 16, 2023
Navigating Matrescence: The Roller Coaster of Becoming a Mom
E:
186
with
Dr. Catherine Birndorf
Co-Founder and Medical Director of The Motherhood Center of New York
August 28, 2023
August 2, 2023
Establishing Family Values: How to Identify What Matters and Avoid Comparison
E:
184
with
Mell & Joe Hashey
Founders of Strong Family Co.
August 21, 2023
July 26, 2023
The Journey of a Bereaved Parent: Stefania Thomson’s Story of Navigating Grief and Loss
E:
183
with
Stefania Thomson
Bereavement and Grief Advocate
July 17, 2023
June 21, 2023
Myths About Toddler Behavior: How to Reclaim the "Terrible Twos"
E:
178
with
Dr. Cathryn Tobin
Pediatrician
May 15, 2023
April 19, 2023
Overcoming Grief as Our Children Age: The Value of Acceptance and How to Be More Present
E:
169
with
Bryana Kappadakunnel
Marriage & Family Therapist
April 24, 2023
March 29, 2023
Birth Trauma Part 2: Facing Pregnancy After a Traumatic Birth
E:
166
with
Kayleigh Summers
Clinical Social Worker
April 17, 2023
March 22, 2023
Birth Trauma Part 1: How Birth Trauma Impacts Our Family Decision Making
E:
165
with
Kayleigh Summers
Clinical Social Worker
April 10, 2023
March 15, 2023
Real Self-Care for Moms: Why Mindset Matters More Than Massages
E:
164
with
Dr. Pooja Lakshmin
Psychiatrist
March 28, 2023
February 8, 2023
Overcoming Mom Guilt: Rewriting the Motherhood Contract and Charting Your Own Path
E:
159
with
Libby Ward
Founder of Diary of an Honest Mom
May 15, 2023
January 11, 2023
Understanding Baby Temperament: How to Tune Into Your Child’s Natural Personality
E:
155
with
Dr. Cara Goodwin
Clinical Psychologist
May 15, 2023
December 28, 2022
Coping During Postpartum with No Family Support: When Reality Clashes with Expectations
E:
153
with
Emmalee Bierly and Jennifer Chaiken
Founders of ShrinkChicks
May 22, 2023
October 5, 2022
Protecting Maternal Sleep: The Relationship Between Sleep Deprivation and Postpartum Depression
E:
141
with
Dr. Nicole Leistikow
Reproductive Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist
May 22, 2023
September 28, 2022
Establishing Age-Appropriate Boundaries With Kids: How to Set Limits That Kids Want to Follow
E:
140
with
Tia Slightham
@parentingcoach on TikTok and Founder of Parenting Solutions
May 22, 2023
September 21, 2022
Encouraging Independent Play: Why Unstructured Play Matters and How to Foster It
E:
139
with
Susie Allison
Founder of Busy Toddler
July 3, 2023
September 7, 2022
How To Help a Child Regulate Their Emotions: Why Remembering the Good Matters
E:
137
with
Dr. Becky Kennedy
Founder of Good Inside
July 3, 2023
August 31, 2022
Why Does a Messy House Give Me Anxiety? How to Stress Less About Cleaning and Keep Your House Functioning
E:
136
with
KC Davis
@domesticblisters on TikTok and Founder of Struggle Care
July 3, 2023
August 17, 2022
How to Help a Child With School Anxiety: Easing Worries and Promoting Resilience
E:
134
with
Dr. Becky Kennedy
Founder of Good Inside
July 3, 2023
August 10, 2022
Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten? Kindergarten Readiness Is Different Than You Think
E:
133
with
Susie Allison
Founder of Busy Toddler
July 10, 2023
May 25, 2022
Navigating Tantrums and Meltdowns: Understanding Sensory Reactions and Supporting Neurodivergent Children
E:
122
with
Laura Petix
Pediatric Occupational Therapist
July 17, 2023
April 6, 2022
How to Get Kids to Stop Whining: Strategies for Communicating With Young Children
E:
115
with
Joanna Faber and Julie King
Authors
July 17, 2023
March 23, 2022
How to Get Your Kids to Listen: Tips for Managing Defiance in Young Children
E:
113
with
Joanna Faber and Julie King
Authors
July 18, 2023
February 23, 2022
Navigating After School Restraint Collapse: What Causes the Meltdowns and How You Can Help
E:
109
with
Dr. Kristyn Sommer, Ph.D.
Child Development Researcher
July 18, 2023
February 16, 2022
What is Matrescence? The Transition into Motherhood (And Why Being a New Mom is Hard)
E:
108
with
Dr. Katayune Kaeni
Perinatal Psychologist
July 18, 2023
February 2, 2022
Discover Your Personal Core Values
E:
106
with
Dr. Cassidy Freitas
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
August 21, 2023
January 26, 2022
When Mommy Rage Strikes: How to Prevent and Control the Anger
E:
105
with
Dr. Ashurina Ream
Founder of Psyched Mommy
August 21, 2023
January 5, 2022
Sleep Training Doesn't Have To Be Scary
E:
102
with
Dr. Aubrie DeBear
Founder of Baby Sleep Dr.
August 21, 2023
January 19, 2022
Carrying the Mental Load: How to Redistribute the Burden and Give Moms More Freedom
E:
104
with
Eve Rodsky
New York Times Bestselling Author
August 21, 2023
January 12, 2022
Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression: How to Spot the Signs So You Can Seek Support
E:
103
with
Dr. Kristina Deligiannidis
Reproductive Psychiatrist
August 21, 2023
December 29, 2021
Decluttering: The Secret of an Easy to Tidy Home
E:
101
with
Katy Wells
Declutter Expert
August 21, 2023
December 22, 2021
100th Episode: Erica’s Husband Tells All
E:
100
with
Frenel Djossa
August 21, 2023
December 15, 2021
The Pressure to Get It Right
E:
99
with
Dr. Jen Douglas
Psychologist
August 21, 2023
November 24, 2021
Overcoming Gender Disappointment
E:
96
with
Dr. Renée Miller
Clinical Psychologist
August 21, 2023
November 17, 2021
Adding a Sibling to Your Family
E:
95
with
Bryana Kappadakunnel
Family Therapist
August 21, 2023
November 10, 2021
Regulating Your Nervous System
E:
94
with
Dr. Quincee Gideon
Psychologist
August 21, 2023
October 13, 2021
Momming With ADHD
E:
90
with
Dr. Melissa Shepard
Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist
August 21, 2023
October 6, 2021
Supporting NICU Moms
E:
89
with
Kristin Reinhart
Registered Social Worker
August 21, 2023
September 22, 2021
Working As A Mother
E:
87
with
Dr. Courtney Tracy
Founder of The Truth Doctor
August 21, 2023
September 8, 2021
Caring for the Postpartum Brain
E:
85
with
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor
Neuroanatomist
August 21, 2023
August 25, 2021
Helping Our Kids Cope With Change
E:
83
with
Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart
Pediatric Psychologist
August 21, 2023
August 18, 2021
Is Breastfeeding Worth Our Mental Health?
E:
82
with
Johanna Phillips
Maternal Mental Health Specialist
August 21, 2023
August 11, 2021
Exploring Mommy Wine Culture
E:
81
with
Michelle Smith
Addictions Counselor
August 21, 2023
August 4, 2021
Kindergarten Readiness
E:
80
with
Cori Stern
Learning Specialist and Behaviour Analyst
August 21, 2023
July 28, 2021
When Treatment Becomes Trauma
E:
79
with
Dr. Quincee Gideon
Clinical Psychologist
August 21, 2023
July 21, 2021
PMS or Something More?
E:
78
with
Dr. Nichelle Haynes
Perinatal Psychiatrist
August 21, 2023
July 14, 2021
Modeling Consent in Parenthood
E:
77
with
Jess VanderWier
Psychotherapist
August 21, 2023
June 23, 2021
The Self-Compassionate Mother
E:
74
with
Dr. Kristin Neff
Associate Professor and Author
August 21, 2023
June 16, 2021
The Overstimulated Mommy
E:
73
with
Larissa Geleris
Occupational Therapist
August 21, 2023
June 9, 2021
Mom Brain
E:
72
with
Dr. Jodi Pawluski
Neuroscientist and Psychotherapist
August 21, 2023
June 2, 2021
OCD in Postpartum And Motherhood
E:
71
with
Jenna Overbaugh
Licensed Professional Counselor
August 21, 2023
May 26, 2021
Whole Brain Mommying
E:
70
with
Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor
Neuroanatomist
August 21, 2023
May 19, 2021
The Perfect Mother Myth
E:
69
with
Dr. Sophie Brock
Sociologist
August 21, 2023
May 12, 2021
Understanding Secure Attachment
E:
68
with
Dr. Tanya Cotler
Clinical Psychologist
August 21, 2023
April 28, 2021
A Deeper Look into the Mother Wound
E:
66
with
Bethany Webster
Author