Building healthy self-confidence in your kids
Self-confidence comes from a feeling of competence. Every parent wants a child who can stand up for himself, be bold to say and do what is right. While every parent wants a child who believes in their abilities and is positive about them, it is important to groom this self- confidence so it doesn’t become arrogance or over-confidence, which will rather harm our kids.
The following tips will help build healthy self-confidence in kids:
. Love your child. This is probably the most important thing you can give your child. Even if you do it imperfectly, your child needs to feel accepted and loved, beginning with the family and extending to other groups including friends, schoolmates, sports teams, and community. If you yell or ignore or make some other parenting mistake, give your child a hug and tell her you are sorry and you love her. Unconditional love builds a strong foundation for confidence.
. Give praise when necessary. It’s important to give your child praise and positive feedback because children, especially young ones, measure their worth and achievements by what you think. But be realistic in your praise. If a child fails at something or shows no talent at a particular skill, praise the effort, but don’t unrealistically praise the results. Reassure your child that it is okay not to be able to do everything perfectly. Tell him that some things take repeated effort and practice and sometimes it’s okay to move on after you have given your best effort.
. Help your child set realistic goals. Guide your child to set reasonable goals to help avoid feelings of failure. If the goal is a stretch, discuss some reachable short-term steps along the path.
. Model self-love and positive self-talk. You must love yourself before you can teach your child to love him or herself. You can model this behaviour by rewarding and praising yourself when you do well.
. Teach resilience. No one succeeds at everything all the time. There will be setbacks and failures, criticism and pain. Use these hurdles as learning experiences rather than dwelling on the events as failures or disappointments. The old adage, “Try, try, try again,” has merit, especially in teaching kids not to give up. But, it is also important to validate your child’s feelings rather than saying, “Oh, just cheer up,” or, “You shouldn’t feel so bad.” This helps children learn to trust their feelings and feel comfortable sharing them. Children will learn that setbacks are a normal part of life and can be managed.
. Self-confident children are willing to try new things without fear of failure. With younger children, you will need to supervise from the sidelines. Encourage exploration, whether it is a trip to a new park or new foods at mealtime. Day trips and outings, new hobbies, vacations and trips with teammates or schoolmates can all expand your child’s horizons and build confidence in her ability to handle new situations.
. Strengthen their weaknesses, handle defeat, expand their circle of friends and learn teamwork. Another confidence-boosting bonus: they stay fit and learn to respect their bodies. Try to find a physical activity that he or she enjoys, whether it is dance, martial arts, biking or hiking.
. Support their pursuit of a passion. Everyone excels at something, and it’s great when your child discovers that something. As a parent, respect and encourage your child’s interests even if they don’t interest you. Praise your child when they accomplish something in their budding pursuits.
. Set rules and be consistent. Children are more confident when they know who is in charge and what to expect. Even if your child thinks your rules are too strict, she will have confidence in what she can and can’t do when you set rules and enforce them consistently. Learning and following rules gives children a sense of security and confidence.
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