When my older daughter was born I nicknamed her Belle. I figured there would be enough things in the world that made her feel insecure about her appearance that if I called her "beautiful" 100 times a day I might stand a chance at outweighing the millions of subliminal messages making her feel otherwise.
"You are so smart and powerful and strong and beautiful and I am SO PROUD OF YOU." I tell her every day at least twice.
But when she started school she didn't believe me because it was hard and she is not confident and while she could DO the work she was afraid to give her answer out loud in case it was wrong.
And then she was afraid to try so the work became harder and we were spinning wildly out of control so I chose another tack. I gave her work to do that was WAY TOO EASY.
And she FLEW through it. And then we did more and more and I told her that letters were just symbols but so were words and that the more she practiced the more "big symbols" she would know and wouldn't have to sound out. And she BELIEVED me.
Tonight I taught her how to multiply - and she totally got it. And then she drew a beautiful picture of a flower and I said, "That's Beautiful!"
And then she drew something tiny beside the flower that I couldn't make out and I asked her, "what is that?" and she said, "It's a person."
And I said, "Hm, it's a VERY SMALL person." And she corrected me, "No, he's just very far away from the flower."
And her perspective FLOORED me and I said, "You are VERY, VERY smart."
And she looked up at me and smiled and just nodded like she TOTALLY KNEW THAT ALREADY.
So my plan is working.