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The Truth about arrogance – how can we teach our kids to be kind to themselves and others?

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I had the nicest compliment from one of my Podcast guests this week.  She said:

‘I’ve been watching you with Bonnie over the past couple of years and I love how you have got the perfect balance of teaching her to be confident yet kind’.

Wow.  I was blown away by this compliment and found my eyes welling up a bit like the big sap that I am, because even though I try and focus on the positives, I still hear thoughts of guilt from ‘perfect Mum’.  This week a few were:

‘How could you send her into school without her tuckshop money, be more organised’!

‘You need to get more prepared with her meals again, the kitchen is a shambles’

‘Spend more time with her and less time working’.

You get my drift. Shut that hole in your face perfect Mum.

This compliment was big enough to make me forget all the little things I get wrong on a daily basis.  Who wouldn’t love to be super Mum, running around in a cape.  Do you know Bonnie actually drew a doll of me with a cape a couple of weeks ago?  It was for a wonderful little shop in Leith called Picture to Puppet.  They create toys from kid’s drawings and they also operate a ‘toy hospital’ for any injured, ripped toys.

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Bonnie took her new hand crafted ‘Mummy Jojo’ doll to school today, complete with cape.  It’s pure magical how much good young kids see in us, when we can be so critical.  If only we could be kinder to ourselves.  Bonnie thinks I am good enough to wear a cape – wow!

How can we teach our kids to be kind to themselves without being arrogant?  How can we teach them to fly high and wear their confidence cape and as Andy Cope the UK Happiness Doctor says ‘Spread love as thick as we would Nutella’.

Here’s my take on it –

I believe the term ‘arrogance’ needs a new definition.

‘ unpleasantly proud and behaving as if you are more important than, or know more than, other people:’

I think the above should be replaced with:

‘an insecure person that needs a huge hug’.

Symptoms of an insecure person that needs a hug are as follows:

  • People who struggle to give compliments
  • People who see everything as a competition.

Next time you hear a kid scream:


‘but mine is bigger, mine is faster, I can do that better?’

Rather than think or mutter ‘what a little brat’ I think you should give them a hug (note maybe just send some good thoughts their way as hugging a random kid at soft play may not go down very well).

True confidence is the ability to build each other up and give out compliments without feeling insecure or threatened.  If someone has a talent – a confident person will tell them.  If you are not one of those gushy geeks and you find it hard to give compliments then remember this – studies have proven that being kind decreases our stress levels.  We need to teach our kids to give out sincere compliments to people freely.  We need to teach them that it’s healthy and good for us and good for the world.

When we feel insecure or judged we can be prone to feeling incredible pressure and as a result will struggle to admit our own weaknesses.  It’s important to remember that we are not super human.  Why not focus on our strengths and see where they can take us?

I always say there are two types of Managers.  Those who focus on the people above them and those who focus on the people below.  The ones who simply focus above should not manage people.  Perhaps they feel enormous pressure behind that poker face.  Pressure to succeed which makes them forget basic life skills like kindness and respect.  This is a huge issue.  I speak to people ALL THE TIME who are anxious or depressed because of a bad manager.

I know I can’t wrap our kids up in cotton wool but I also know that self-confidence can be learned.  People change the world every day, despite everyone around them telling them it can’t be done.  Simple things like reminding our kids and friends and family that they can do anything they like with effort and a bit of passion is a great head start. As for kindness, I guess the more kindness we show, the more likely our kids (and friends and family) will be of copying us.  This starts with being kind to ourselves and speaking kindly about others.  So next time you are tempted to shout ‘what an arrogant asshole’  why not replace it with ‘wow, the person needs a hug’.  x





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