Six Ways to Build and Support Confidence in Your Children
One of the most important traits possessed by healthy children and adults is self-confidence. Nurturing self-confidence is often something that gets overlooked in the names of "tough love" and harsh criticism. Many parents and teachers hold the belief that being critical and even cold is a good way to build strength and confidence, when in fact the opposite is true. Being overly critical and emotionally uninvolved can be detrimental to children of a young age, particularly between the ages of 5-12. To avoid contributing to a child's low self-esteem and to help build and restore their confidence, consider the following:
1. Allow Them to Make Decisions and Mistakes!
By granting children the power to make decisions, you also give them a sense of confidence that comes with being able to make their own choices. This makes them feel like they play an important role in the unfolding of their own life. Confidence comes with life experiences, and knowing how to make a good decision based on personal experience can dramatically boost a child's confidence levels. Making mistakes also provides learning opportunities, which is vital to confidence building in all age groups.
2. Foster Positivity
Focusing on positivity is not only helpful in reducing stress and increasing the likelihood of favorable outcomes, but it is also good for confidence and self-esteem. When children adopt positive attitudes, they stop seeing dead ends and start seeing roadblocks. This means that they will learn that there is always another way to do things and that they should not give up when something doesn't go as planned.
3. Encourage Service to Others
When children feel like they are being useful to society, even if it's just a classroom or a family gathering, their confidence levels increase. They begin to feel like their role in life is important, and it gives them a sense of purpose. Having a sense of purpose is a major trait among highly confident adults. To encourage service, assign service roles such as homework collector, worksheet distributor, tally tracker, and table setter.
4. Pay Attention
When children feel ignored, it can make them feel unimportant. The attention they receive from adults at a young age, positive or negative, plays a large role in who they become as teens and, ultimately, adults. When children feel a need to be seen or heard, it should not be dismissed as acting out or attention seeking. Rather, it should be addressed with a healthy, calm, and positive response. Negatively addressing outbursts can trap your children in unhealthy behaviors for longer periods of time.
5. Don't Make Comparisons
Making comparisons and playing favorites is a good way to make a child lose confidence in themselves. The loss of confidence can, in turn, affect their ability to perform and gain skills. If they feel as if they will always be "less than" another student or sibling, they are likely to perform and learn at less than rates. They may cease to try harder and lose confidence in their ability to excel at new things.
6. Avoid Labeling
It's best not to project labels onto children (or anybody), since these labels often stay in our minds and influence many of our decisions and thoughts that we hold about ourselves. Even if the labels are positive, they can still be limiting and deter children from trying out new skills or attempting to excel at different subjects. For example, a child who is repeatedly told she is a math genius may stop trying when it comes to English and writing because she thinks she only needs to be good at math. If children are labelled as stars in one area, it is likely that they will place more focus on that area and ignore the others. This can have negative effects for children in the long run, because diversity leaves more options open when it comes to choosing a college, a major, and a career. Ignoring subjects in school can also affect their GPAs and test scores.
About the Author
Tom Casano is the founder of Life Coach Spotter where you can learn how to set goals, find your purpose in life, and create the life that you want for yourself. Learn more about life coaching and how to find your life coach with our free resources.