“There Are Monsters Everywhere” by Mercer Mayer

What does a story about monsters have to do with raising a successful child? Nothing and everything, it depends on how you read it. My interpretation goes beyond a spooky story. For me, today’s book  is about boosting confidence, which I find a crucial factor in reaching any success in life. By confidence I don’t mean arrogance or conceitedness. A confident child is not an insecure smart-aleck. He or she is brave and believes in his or her abilities. Unfortunately, confidence is not an inherent trait but needs to be gradually developed, and the parents’ role in this intricate and quite intangible process can’t be denied.

There are many ways to enhance confidence in your child, depending on their personality, skills and fears. However, it will always boil down to creating opportunities that will showcase their strengths.

A boy in Mercer Mayer’s story was afraid of monsters, that seemed to be lurking everywhere in the house. They would hide when his parents were in, but when the boy was home alone, the monsters would come out to bother and scare him. The only safe place was the top of his bunk bed. Finally, the boy grew tired of being “pushed around by a bunch of monsters”. He signed up to karate classes, to learn how to protect himself from the monstrous beasts. The cool karate moves and tricks, like breaking a board with his bare hand, were sure to scare any monster away. And they did. With a black karate belt, who cares about monsters, even if they are everywhere!

Martial arts are generally known as an effective confidence booster. It worked for the boy in the book, and it certainly works for my little Taekwondo master-to-be.  I can fully recommend it for any parent looking for a proven tool to shape a strong, self-assured character. But confidence development goes beyond sports. Children need to be praised for their daily successes and achievements. A trivial star for doing a good job has a big meaning for a little guy. Consistent and genuine positive reinforcement and encouragement, as opposed to randomized and luke hearted praising, which only confuses a child and sends a mixed-message, does wonders and I’m confident that you won’t have to wait long  to see your child’s confidence shine.


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