Building Confidence & Resilience in Children

DR JOHN DEMARTINI   -   Updated 2 weeks ago

If you are inspired to help your children build confidence and resilience in a rapidly-changing world, Dr Demartini has some tools that can help you begin today.


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DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 2 weeks ago

If you are inspired to help your children build confidence and resilience in a rapidly-changing world, Dr Demartini has some tools that can help you begin today.

Almost every parent aspires for their children to be confident and self-reliant, equipped with resilience and adaptability to navigate life's challenges. In this article, I'll discuss ways you can help to foster confidence and resilience in young children, particularly those in the 4 – 10 age group.

Every individual, including you and your child, lives according to a unique hierarchy of values, a set of priorities that range from most to least important.

Think of a ladder, as an example. Your highest values would form the top few rungs, descending to your lower and less important values towards the bottom. This hierarchy of values is unique to you, with no one else having the exact same hierarchy of values as you. This is part of what makes you unique (and one of the keys to understanding yourself and others).

Contrary to the 1950s belief that children were blank slates shaped solely by socialization and parental influence, it's now understood that even young children have their own unique hierarchy of values already emerging.

While parents can influence and add to these values, it's wise to recognize that children's values are already inherently unique to them.

Trying to impose your unique set of values onto your children and expecting them to adopt it, can be a frustrating endeavor. In essence, it is not possible for two individuals to have exactly the same set of values.

If you are married, you may have experienced trying to mold your spouse's values and actions to match your own. Perhaps your highest value is work and your spouse’s highest value is family, which may result in conflict. Both spouses may then try to convince the other that their particular values and priorities are “right”, and more important, at times even trying to reward compliance and punish deviation.

Your perceptions, decisions, actions, and behaviors are all expressions of your hierarchy of values.

Any actions you take that are congruent with your highest values tend to be intrinsically driven, in that you are spontaneously inspired from within to perform them. There's likely no need for external motivation because these actions resonate deeply within you and are spontaneously acted upon.

In my case, my highest values include teaching, research/writing and travel. No one has to remind or extrinsically motivate me to do any of these tasks because I take advantage of each opportunity I can to act upon them.

My lower values include cooking and driving – and that’s a different story altogether. It would take a lot for me to either cook or drive, which is why I choose to delegate those tasks to someone else who finds them inspiring and of high priority.

Children are driven by their own set of values. Whatever is highest on their set of values, they will be spontaneously or intrinsically inspired to take action on.


It is in their highest values that they tend not to require any extrinsic motivation – they simply spontaneously act without hesitation. They are here disciplined, reliable and focused.  As they move further down their list of values, they tend to become more extrinsically driven and often require an extrinsic reward in order to do it and extrinsic punishment if they don't.

Think of a young boy who loves video games - nobody has to motivate him to play his video games, but his parents may have to extrinsically motivate him to do his homework, finish his chores or clean his room.

So, if something is low on his list of values, like cleaning his room, it might require the promise of a reward or fear of punishment to get him to do it. But not when it comes to him playing his video games – there he will be spontaneously inspired from within to do.

For children to develop maximum confidence and resilience, it's essential that they engage in activities that fulfill their highest values.

When children prioritize their lives around what is most meaningful to them, they not only exhibit greater self-assurance but also demonstrate a stronger sense of self-worth.

Conversely, engaging in activities that hold little individual value can lead to feelings of overwhelm and a diminished sense of self-worth. This is because they procrastinate, hesitate and frustrate on these less important actions – at least in their hierarchy of values.

ACTION STEP 1: As a parent, identifying your child's highest values is a wise first step in helping to build confidence and resilience.

I recommend using the free Value Determination Process available on my website, that poses 13 insightful questions about your child's preferences and behaviors.

In essence, the Value Determination Process takes you through 13 very specific questions, I’ve shared 5 of the 13 questions here:

  • What do they fill their most intimate and personal space with most; what are these items primarily used for?
  • How do they spend their time primarily when they are awake?
  • What energizes them most? What do they do that they have increased energy for and it raises their energy doing it.
  • What do they spend their money on most?
  • Where are they most organized and ordered?

The rest of the questions are outlined on the online Demartini Value Determination Process

Going through the process either on behalf of or with your child, can provide insights into their highest values where their resilience and confidence naturally thrive.

Expecting children to excel in areas that don't align with their highest values can lead to mislabeling them as unmotivated or lacking confidence.


Labeling people, for example as being lazy or lacking in discipline, often occurs when you project your own highest values onto them. So, if one of your highest values is health and fitness, you may label your child as being lazy if they don’t exercise as much as you do.

In the same way, if one of your highest values is work, you might label your child as lacking in discipline for not spending hours doing their homework.

Your child will live according to their own hierarchy of values, which will shape their destiny and dictate how they perceive, decide, and act.

If you expect them to prioritize activities outside their highest values, you can almost expect them to ‘betray’ you because they are unlikely to get around to doing something that’s important to you unless it’s also important to them or presented or requested in a way that helps it become important to them.

So, identifying their highest value is the first step to helping your child build confidence and resilience.

ACTION STEP 2: Master the art of communicating your set of highest values in terms of your child’s highest values.

Instead of having a “my way or the highway” approach where children are told what to do without question, it is wiser to communicate what YOU value most in terms of what THEY value most. As such, you refrain from making your values or their values right or wrong, and instead appreciate how THEIR values serve YOU and how YOUR values serve THEM.

For example, when talking to them about classes they are taking, household chores they are responsible for, or curfews they are required to abide by, you would communicate the importance of these tasks in relation to their highest values. A child who thrives on spending time with you may be more willing to tidy the kitchen after dinner if it involved time chatting to you about what was important to them during their day.

If you can't communicate in the way where they're seeing that they're going to get their highest values met, they're not likely to take on the accountability of what you want them to do. They will also tend to be less confident when doing it. Children are not engaged nor inspired when they are forced to do it.

What is the wisest way to go about communicating in this manner?

In brief, you identify their top three values, and then ask yourself, how specifically is doing this chore going to help them fulfill their highest three values?

If you struggle to see how a task will help them achieve their goals, it's unlikely you'll be able to explain it in a way they can grasp and want to listen to. Moreover, they might not know how to connect the task to their values independently. Therefore, it's beneficial to either guide them in drawing connections between the requested task and their highest values through questioning or to make the connection yourself and then communicate it effectively.

This approach is essential in any form of communication or sales, where conveying the value of a product, service, or idea in terms of the customer's highest values is key.


In this context, your children are your clients, and your goal is to encourage them to engage in activities that are important to you but are also equally meaningful and fulfilling to them, thereby fostering their confidence and resilience.

Having them engaged in activities that are congruent with their highest values not only stimulates their interest but also has a profound neurological impact on their developing brains.

When children engage in activities aligned with their highest values, their neurological response supports more rational and logical thinking, moving away from emotional volatility. This enhanced executive function, though typically maturing in the mid-twenties, can begin developing earlier in children actively involved in highly valued activities, leading to a more adaptable, logical, and resilient individual.

In other words, children exhibit greater stability, resilience, and confidence when they operate congruently within their highest values. Their brains develop more efficiently, propelling them towards excellence and enabling them to embrace leadership roles more readily.

This is a process that you can work through with your children – training them to discover how whatever they are asked to do is helping them fulfil their highest values.

Recognizing how a task contributes to fulfilling their highest values will not only boost their perseverance and confidence but also generate momentum toward achievement. Thus, asking how specific activities support or fulfil their highest values is a pivotal step.

If you find yourself dismissing their set of values in favor of your own, you will end up frustrated, but remembering to honor their values paves the way for effective communication and bolsters their self-assurance and resilience.

This concept of value-aligned communication fosters a sustainable, non-zero-sum game, enhancing productivity and satisfaction for both parties. It empowers children to act on their highest values, which will most likely lead to intrinsic drive and, subsequently, to greater confidence and mastery in their endeavors. This self-driven pursuit will help to enhance their skills, hone their focus, and cultivate resilience by fostering a balanced and less polarized outlook on life.

Conversely, imposing tasks that they perceive to lack relevance to their values can trigger a retreat to defensive, black-and-white thinking, undermining resilience and fostering emotional volatility.

Thus, articulating your expectations in a way that respects and honors their highest values not only bolsters their resilience and confidence but also strengthens your parent-child relationship.

This principle underpins my signature two-day Breakthrough Experience program, which, although primarily attended by adults, offers invaluable insights into value determination and communication.

I invite you and your family to join the Breakthrough Experience, where I can guide you through the process of applying these principles. This experience promises to enhance your parenting, and your relationship dynamics, and foster an environment where confidence and resilience flourish, not just within your family but in all areas of your life.

To Sum Up

As parents, your goals for your children's independence, adaptability, and resilience can be met with these key steps:

1. Recognize Their Highest Values: Understand that children have their own unique hierarchy of values, many of which will differ from yours. Trying to change or “fix” these can be unproductive.

2. Value Determination Process: Regularly check on your child's hierarchy of values, using the free process on my website. This is wise for empowering their growth.

3. Effective Communication: Talk openly and respectfully, in line with your child's highest values. This encourages them to intrinsically engage in behaviors and tasks.

4. Align Tasks with Highest Values: Explain the importance of chores, homework, or activities in a way that makes sense to them, and helps them fulfill what they value most. This will help them become more willing and confident to take on these tasks.

5. Foster Intrinsic Drive: Promote activities that are congruent with their highest values to boost their focus and drive. This tends to lead to greater mastery and self-worth.

6. Non-Zero-Sum Game Approach: Treat the parent-child relationship as a partnership where both sides win. Helping your children achieve what they want helps you achieve your goals, creating a win-win environment.

7. Neutral, Balanced Perspective: Encourage your children to engage in activities that align with their highest values to help them maintain a balanced outlook. This helps to reduce emotional ups and downs and promote wiser, objective decision-making. They will not fear the loss or gain of things that are objectively neutral.

8. Continuous Learning: As a parent, consider joining programs like the Breakthrough Experience to expand your skills in value determination and communication. This can enhance your parenting and all your family relationships overall.

Following these steps can help you effectively empower your children's development into confident and resilient individuals, strengthening your relationship with them and setting a strong foundation for an inspired family life.


Are you ready for the NEXT STEP?

If you’re seriously committed to your own growth, if you’re ready to make a change now and you’d love some help doing so, then book a FREE Discovery call with a member of the Demartini Team so we can take you through your mini power assessment session.

You’ll come away with a 3-step action plan and the foundation to empower your life.


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In 2 days you’ll learn how to solve any issue you are facing, transform any emotion and reset the course of your life for greater achievement and fulfillment.

You’ll unlock your true potential and lay the groundwork to empower all 7 areas of your life.

Get ready to take your life to a whole new level of meaning and purpose.

Today is the day you step into your power and value yourself by investing in your inspired life when you sign up for Dr Demartini’s signature seminar the Breakthrough Experience:

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