Increase your self-confidence as a parent

Being a parent is a tremendous responsibility. Parents are expected to feed and clothe tiny, helpless human beings, to teach them to get along in the world, and to encourage them to like themselves and others. These and many other responsibilities often lead parents to question
themselves and their abilities. Many times, parents feel they just don’t measure up to the job they’re required to do.

Sometimes these feelings can chip away at parent’s self-confidence and affect their ability to interact with their children. Therefore, one of the most important things parents can do is build their own self-confidence.

One way to help improve self-confidence as a parent is to evaluate realistically the job they’re doing.

Here are three steps to help improve self-confidence:
First, don’t expect yourself to be perfect. The picture of a “perfect parent”—one who is always kind,
patient, loving, intelligent, in control, and so on—is impossible to fulfill. For example, parents who are always patient may not be preparing their child for a world of impatient people.
Failure is difficult enough to deal when it is real. But trying to be perfect is simply inviting unnecessary failure. The important thing is not perfect behaviour at all times, but growth toward doing things better more often.

A second factor in realistic self-evaluation is to compare your behaviour as a parent to your own past performance rather than to some other person’s parenting. Instead of feeling like a failure
because you did not spend three hours a night working or playing with your children like the parent next door, praise yourself for spending a half hour more with them this week than you did last.

Finally, be specific about your self-evaluation. If you try a new method of discipline for a week and
it fails miserably, do not simply decide that you are a failure as a parent. Tell yourself that you did a good job of sticking to the new plan or that you are a pretty good parent for caring enough to try something new, even though it did not work. Make your failure easier to accept
by praising your success.

GROWING CHILD Inc., and is distributed free, courtesy of:
2, Springrowth House, Balliniska Rd.,
Springtown Ind. Estate, L’Derry BT48 OGG
Tel: 028 71365363. Fax: 028 71365334.
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Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.


The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books ( and also on  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.


In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  


Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  


In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from

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