Raising a confident tween: The secret trick I love

Brought to in partnership with Suncorp Team Girls.

I stood among a sea of small children, doing star jumps to encourage my youngest to do the same. I was, with the last iota of my patience and sanity, encouraging her to get involved, “Come on! Let’s do star jumps together!” All the other parents watched on, and I’m sure they were having a laugh inside at my expense.

My daughter would not, as much as I begged, do a star jump. Or throw the ball. Or run.

Afterwards I text my Hubby, ‘Why are we even bothering?’ and by we, I meant me.

I knew why we were bothering. I just didn’t want it to be such hard work. We’d always said that our kids would do a team sport as soon as they were old enough. My husband and I played team sports as kids, and felt it was important that our own offspring did the same. For me, it was always about encouraging kids to get moving and being healthy, but there was so much more to it that I only realised at the end of the netball season this year.

Before I get to that, let me say this; I adore my girls and am stupid amounts proud of who they are. I’m their personal cheerleader, spurring them on, worrying about them endlessly, and giving them space to grow and learn themselves at the same time. I had always thought the baby years were my hardest years. I did a fist pump as we got through the toddler years, because I thought I had passed the parenting test.


I’m now knee-deep in tweenville, and it’s new territory for me. I nannied other people’s kids through it, but parenting through it is something else. Totally something else. I felt for the past eleven years I’ve been boosting Lacey up to have as much confidence as she needs to get through life, and to have as much self-believe {as well as self-love and self-esteem} that she needed to thrive. I’ve realised that there’s only so much I can do as a parent, and that she needed to build herself up, and grow in different ways {i.e. without me!}.

In the netball seasons before this year, Lacey has needed a lot of pushing and nudging to get her there. She was slightly distracted, not really into it, but keen to be with her friends. It was like a routine play date and not particularly about the game at all. That changed this year, Lacey found her feet.

She got interested. She got inspired. She was led by a passionate coach {who has known her since she was little, and just ‘gets’ her}. Most of all, she got confident and started to believe in herself.

Week after week, she showed up. And I mean ‘showed up’. She gave her best {while accepting that she wasn’t ‘the’ best}. And when she did something, like have a try at playing Shooter, she scored a goal and I could see a light in her face. She was proud of herself. One of the other parents nudged, “Take a look at her face! She’s so proud!”

And then she got more confident. She’d have confidence to try new moves, to take the shot when it almost seemed impossible, and she had the courage to celebrate her wins afterwards, still in a humble way, but something that she’d never really done before. And to also celebrate the wins of the girls in her team.

Lacey’s netball team came third overall, and Lacey was given the Development Award {for being most improved}. Netball, that team sport that she was disinterested in to begin with, is now her passion. It’s also my favourite secret weapon for building her confidence, strengthening her relationships with her peers, and for making her feel good about herself.

I share this story of team sport, not because I want to mum-brag {ok, I do a little bit} but because the stats back this story. Suncorp is a major sponsor of Netball, and also an encourage-r of team sport involvement. They’re all for Team Girls and want to help change the score. They’ve done the work and punched the numbers. Take a look…

Do your kids play team sports? Do you think it helps with their confidence and self-esteem?