By Nature's Plus
As parents, there’s no greater joy than seeing our kids happy and succeeding in life, but a lack of self-confidence can get in their way. There’s no doubt that in today’s world building a child’s self-confidence and guiding them down the right path can be a challenge. Knowing what not to say can be just as important as knowing what to say.
This month, we’ve outlined some straight forward tips to help you nurture your child’s self-confidence and help them rise to life’s challenges.
Self-esteems vs. Self-confidence
According to Frank Sileo PhD, psychologist and author of five children’s books, “Self-esteem is when your child believes in himself. Self-confidence is knowing what you can accomplish, based on personal performance.” Knowing the difference between the two is the first step toward building a healthy balance.
Signs of low self-confidence
It doesn’t take much to destroy a child’s self-confidence. Name calling, receiving a poor grade, losing a game, or a more serious reason like bullying can cause a child to become withdrawn and retreat into a world of seclusion. Parents and care-givers need to be aware of these signs and of other concerns such as their child not wanting to make a decision or not wanting to try new things.
On the flip side, excessive self-confidence can be just as damaging and can set a child up for failure.
If any of these signs sound familiar, then read on to uncover some strategies to help build self-confidence in your child.
Take baby steps
Setting the stage for success begins with encouraging your child to take small steps when trying something new. Taking it slow will not only reduce any anxiety they may have, but it presents a methodical and organized path to reach their goal.
Be Book Smart
Bibliotherapy, or choosing an appropriate book relating to a life challenge, is a smart way to show your child they are not alone. The key is to find an age-appropriate book, for example one that addresses a fear of the dark. You can then use the book to strike up a discussion to determine the moral and the solution to the problem. This will help your child to find their own solutions to different challenges they may face and will help them build their confidence.
Write it down
Journaling is a great way to get thoughts and feelings down on paper. Whether its writing it down or drawing pictures, journaling helps to reveal one’s innermost thoughts. Seeing it on paper gets the issue out of their heads so they can cope with it head on, instead of allowing it to fester and occupy their thoughts. The key here is to not correct their grammar, spelling or point out any mistakes. And it’s ok if they don’t want to share their journal with you at first. It’s important to respect their privacy if they ask for it.
Find the positive in failures
They need to learn that it’s ok to fail, and from failure comes success down the road if you learn from your mistakes.
No one is perfect and everyone will fail at some point in their lives, but to a child a failure can be a setback. The lesson here is to praise the effort, not the outcome. They need to learn that it’s ok to fail, and from failure comes success down the road if you learn from your mistakes. The takeaway is to encourage your child not to give up and to continue to try and take risks– even if they lack the confidence. Here is an example to help your child turn a failure into a positive experience.
- If your child loses a baseball game, try to compliment them on something positive they did. For example, “That was a great hit in the third inning!” or “I like the way you shook hands with the opposing team after the game.”
Compliment them to others
Complimenting your child to others, when they are present or overhearing your conversation, is one of the greatest ways to boost their self-confidence. Hearing things like how hard they worked on a project or how much time they practiced before a game validates their hard work and makes them feel like they are doing a good job and making you proud.
Developing a balance of life skills and nurturing your child’s self-confidence is a positive recipe for your child’s well-being.