A confident child is a successful adult of tomorrow, who is better able to deal with the challenges of life and better able to bounce back from failures. Confidence is something that comes from within—it is something related to how you feel about yourself; and not that you can put on. A child who is confident is comfortable in his or her own skin and knows his/her self-worth. A confident child is always open to learning and gaining new experiences and is at ease in interacting with others, and is thus able to form good personal relationships as well. It is true that children should learn to face failures as failures build resilience, but the downside of it is that too many failures can hit the confidence-level of your child negatively; success definitely helps build more confidence. So as a parent, it is very important to provide ample opportunities where a child can experience success while dealing with challenges. This, however, can only happen when parents know how to provide appropriate support to their child, without being overprotective. A healthy self-confidence can, hence, be achieved only when the child experiences adequate success and when he or she knows how to handle failures. The best thing about confidence is that, it is not static or permanent; it can develop and grow, and parents can play a pivotal role in helping kids become more confident. Here are few ways that can help you build confidence in your child.
1. Believe in your child: Confidence is all about having belief in oneself, in one’s ability to accomplish things. A child who has a strong belief in his or her abilities is more likely to succeed in challenging situations and success, as we know, in turn, raises self-confidence. But this self-belief does not arise on its own, it is the result of having faith, as a parent, in your child’s abilities. So start by showing faith in your child, as this will in turn help your child gain healthy self-belief.
2. Assign responsibilities: Another way to help your child gain confidence is by giving them responsibilities like helping you in daily chores or taking care of pets etc. This, in turn, increases a child’s sense of self-worth, which in turn affects his or her self-confidence. When a child is given a responsibility, he or she feels needed and important. This sense of positive self-worth enhances the confidence level of your child.
3. Start coaching: Instead of being a controlling parent start being a coach to your child. Your job as a parent is to provide ample opportunities for learning, growing and developing. Start working with your child as a coach rather than as an in-charge doing things for your child yourself. You need to stop being a controlling parent and give some space to your child to let him/her learn on his/her own. Your approach should be like that of a sports coach, who only trains the player and does not play himself on the player’s behalf.
4. Be open to your child’s opinions: As a good parent, you must learn to accept and respect your child’s opinions. This gives a strong message to the child that his/her thoughts, ideas, and beliefs matter and have value. This also conveys that their views are respected. Involve your child in simple decision-making activities, like deciding on the location of your next family vacation or involving them in deciding house rules. And remember to respect their opinion no matter how absurd they might sound at first. You can always reason with them. This will also give your child a sense of power.
5. Encourage: As a parent you should always encourage your child to try new things and take on new challenges. This will help your child to master new skills which will, in turn, enhance his or her confidence. So, healthy parenting means providing opportunities where your child can learn new things and skills.
6. Appreciate your child: Whether your child succeeds or fails at an attempt, keep appreciating the efforts. The child should never feel ashamed of his attempts. When you start appreciating the efforts, your child will feel motivated to try again even if he or she fails in his earlier attempts. Your criticism will only discourage your child to try after a failure. So to raise a confident child it is important for a parent to focus on encouraging and appreciating the efforts.
7. Set achievable goals: As mentioned earlier, success helps build confidence and failures affect confidence negatively. So in order to raise a confident child, it is important to set goals that are achievable for the child. This is even more critical when your child tries something new. Success will help your child try and learn new things in future.
8. Don’t rescue but work with them: Sometimes parents are faced with situations where they are faced with the dilemma of whether to come forward and rescue their child from the failures that are imminent or to let him face them on his own. Well, studies have shown that children of the parents who let them face the consequences or failures as learning experience feel unworthy of love; they consider themselves as failures and often feel that their parents don’t care about them. On the other hand, the parents who come forward to save their children from facing the failures or consequences, raise kids who always avoid or run from challenges. Thus, the best thing you can do as a parent is to work with your children, not for them. Help them organize their ideas and plans, but the execution of such plans should be left to them.
9. Keep your worries to yourself: When a child feels that his parents are worried, he/she tends to interpret this worry as his/her parents’ lack of confidence in their abilities. This parental worry is often perceived as lack of faith on parents’ part. Thus, it is important for you as a parent to keep your worries to yourself.
10. Take interest: Be interested in the activities of your kids. Your genuine interest in what they do will make them feel worthy. Asking them about what they are doing is a good way to show interest. Your positive attention to your child’s activities will have a lasting impact on his or her confidence-level.