Raising a Confident Child
One thing successful people have in common is that they are remarkably confident in themselves – which is a very important trait to cultivate in a child who will soon have to strive in a fast-paced, growing and challenging community. Successful people are also exceptionally charismatic and possess positive traits and these help them get along well with others.
Helping kids build confidence in themselves can be tricky, especially if you’re dealing with exceptionally shy kids with low self-esteem. Most children are still on the road to discovering their true self. They may have puberty to deal with (or may be already dealing with it!), peer pressure, physical challenges, intellectual issues, family problems, etc. Still, as kids will make up the future generation of our communities and nations, it is essential that they be brought up confident and comfortable with themselves so that they can take charge of their own lives, carry out their responsibilities successfully and help others along the way. Here are some things parents should know about building self-confidence in children.
When it comes to praises
Never overpraise your kid! A child’s self-confidence thrives when he or she is feeling loved and secure, but a third ingredient that is just as important in the building of self-confidence is the child’s natural ability to develop competence. This means that over praising your child on a simple job done well can be misunderstood to mean that he or she no longer needs to push themselves to work harder. In truth, the best form of developing self-confidence comes from trying something new, failing and then trying it over and over again until you succeed.
Another negative impact of over-praising your child, especially to others, is the expectation you might unintentionally place on them. This may be a bigger burden than you think, for they may feel that they’ll have to be prefect all the time to give you something to rave about.
Also, sooner or later your child will discover that he or she does have weaknesses in life that been addressed instead of ignored. So, do praise your children if and when needed, but also, help them face and overcome their issues while remaining realistic of your expectations of them.
Walk the Talk
If you want your children to be naturally confident of themselves, you need to let them be responsible human beings. Don’t tell your child that they can do anything in life, yet give them zero responsibility as this subtly lets them know that you don’t truly believe in them. Encourage your child to take on chores around the house, even if you already have outside help and above all else, let them know that their worries, opinions and thoughts on any subject matter is important. This builds trust and lets your child know that the home is always a safe haven for learning and improvement.
The PS4, overtime work, mobile phone, tablet, computer and all of Internet can wait until your child is done telling you all about his or her day. Just like how you wouldn’t want your better half or child to pay only 20% of their attention to your life’s success and problems, you shouldn’t ignore your child’s need for sharing, either. Remember, children don’t stay children for long so you need to treasure every moment you have with them. The last thing you want is to have them gain an outside mentor who can teach them better about life while you are delegated to watching from the side-lines.
Children who are truly self-confident do not brag or display yearning for attention. Instead, they display these habits:
They like to ask questions.
Ever noticed how most students in a class shy away from answering or raising questions in a classroom? Asking is usually perceived as a sign of weakness (unless you’re in a restaurant), but self-confident children are secure enough to understand that they have limitations to what they can accomplish on their own. Instead of panicking or running away, they are poised enough to ask for help all by themselves. A self-confident child does not think they have all the answers, but they are not afraid to be wrong either.
They are generally not braggards.
Bragging is actually an indication of insecurity in a child. Instead of exaggerating on facts or situations to impress their friends, self-confident children are more interested in listening to what others have to say and they tend to be respectful of others’ opinions too.
They don’t yearn for attention.
Sure, every little girl wants to be the pretty princess in the annual school play, but a really confident child would be just as proud to play any role at all, even a small one, and do it really well!
They’re not easily discouraged by failure.
All children grow up with big dreams but only a few truly become stars in their chosen career because it never occurred to these successful kids that their chosen path is impossible because they are too short/untalented/not smart enough. These are the children who will work hard to achieve their goals, whether it’s studying hard or going for extra swimming practices for an upcoming tournament. To them, it doesn’t matter if they’re not good enough now because they can only get better later on.
They’re generally nice kids.
Like many adults, some kids are also inclined to say and do things to make themselves look better than the rest. Confident kids however, don’t feel that they have to prove anything and are more laid back.
The frenemies trap
Although it’s not something we would like to ponder on, but the fact is, the moment your child starts attending classes, he or she is already actively getting to know friendly enemies (frenemies!) whose task is to bully, gossip or pull your child’s self-esteem down. Sometimes, teachers and coaches in school could also be the source of your child’s degrading self-confidence so it’s important that parents keep a constant tab on their child’s activities, progress and get to know the people they are spending time with.
If your child seems to be attached to an overly assertive friend who likes to pressure kids into behaving differently in school, the last thing you want to do is get in-between the “friendship”. Instead, what you could do is encourage play sessions with as many friends as possible of similar age. Children with a wider social circle tend to be more socially adjusted and less dependent on any one friend.
Children Need to Know Where They Come From
Your preteen child might not be too keen to take a long and boring road down the family tree, but it is still just as important that they understand where they fit in within the family, culture and community. No matter how busy you are, make it a point to at least have family gatherings once a year and encourage your children to get closer to the family. This practice can also be emulated with your child’s friends as well. Have your child invite friends over and encourage visits to other houses (with proper adult supervision). A few hours spent in another friend’s home does wonders in expanding your child’s view of the world and creates better understanding of each other.
Create Family Rituals
Children are creatures of habits, and family rituals are a fun way of rewarding or celebrating a moment with your children! Make bedtime special with a storytelling session in bed and always kiss goodbye before dropping your children off at school. For more bonding moments with your child, you might also want to take up a new hobby that your child is interested in, but you should never force your child if he or she is not interested.
Keeping things positive yourself will work wonders, so if your child seems to lack confidence in certain situations, patience is the key, instead of showing that you’re disappointed. Building up your kid’s confidence should not be seen as a chore, but rather, an investment of your time for your child’s future success.