Parents want nothing more than to ensure their children are physically and mentally fit, and fully capable of handling social as well as personal situations. Having good self-esteem from childhood is key for growing into a successful and self-satisfied adult.
From a very young age, children are faced with situations that demand confidence, whether it is going to a new school or performing at a spelling competition. So how can you establish confidence in your child to allow them to believe in themselves and face the challenges of everyday life?
1-Give them plenty of chances at success
Children can acquire a great deal of self-confidence if they have achievements littered along their life, regardless of how big or small. Make them feel competent by enabling experiences that let them realize their own capabilities.
This can include encouraging them to sign up for an art competition if they have a natural talent for painting, or to perform at the school play if they particularly enjoy drama class. However, avoid pushing them to do something against their own will.
2-Vocalise your appreciation
As long as the compliments you give are genuine and not misleading, they can go a long way to making your children believe in themselves. Don’t make them believe something that isn’t true as this will only disappoint them upon realization.
3-Avoid using unwarranted labels
This especially applies to calling your child shy or nervous, regardless of how introverted he/she really is. Whether speaking to your child, or about your child to others, using a label such as ‘oh he’s really shy he doesn’t speak very much’, prevents him from doing any different and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The best approach is to rephrase his reluctant nature by a general statement such as ‘Thomas enjoys listening to other views before expressing his own opinion’.
4-Don’t step in on your child’s behalf
Often when children behave in a shy or hesitant manner, parents have a tendency to step in and perform on their behalf by, for example, answering a question directed at the child by another adult.
Try not to interfere as your child is always in a position to learn from new experiences and situations and could become too dependent on others when faced with something they cannot handle on their own.
5-Avoid coming across as dismissive
Always have a supportive response in situations where your child becomes upset or nervous. Your tone should be full of warmth and understanding. Stating a sentence of comfort such as ‘it looks as though you’re a bit scared around the neighbor’s dog, that’s understandable” as opposed to ‘stop being scared of the
neighbor’s dog, that’s ridiculous at your age’ can make a world of difference.
6-Make your child home-wise
Assigning household responsibilities to your child, which he/she can complete with good ability can also help improve confidence. Whether it is doing the laundry or the dishes, it gives them the chance to trust themselves after being trusted with new tasks, and this filters through to their confidence outside of the
By labeling these tasks as ‘special jobs’ you can entice children into feeling good about what they are doing, even if they are just household chores.
It can sometimes be frustrating watching your child struggle with everyday encounters or shy away from new experiences and responsibility. However, remember that confidence only comes after years of being faced by situations where our strengths and weaknesses are tested and we become familiar with navigating around our fears and reservations.
Try to let your children find their own strengths and then find success in these areas of strength, and support them in this process of trial and error.
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