The majority of parents want to raise confident children. This is an important goal to strive for as confidence learned and developed earlier on in life can impact on that child’s performance and coping skills as they grow up. Therefore, parents and the adults around them, play a very significant role in helping to nurture and develop their children’s self-confidence.
You need to realize that your children will run into situations in life that will chip away at their self-confidence, but if you continually help them build up their confidence, you can lessen the blow of these negative experiences.
In what follows, are ideas on how to do this:
1. Allow your children to be involved in decision making –
It is never too early to teach your children to make their own decisions. Decision making gives your child confidence to trust their choices, and to live with the consequences of what they decide.
With toddlers, you can allow them to choose what book they want you to read them at bedtime. You can let them choose what color of plate or cup they want to use for dinner. You can even let them decide on what t-shirt and pants they want to wear that day. At this age, however, you may have to engage in some serious negotiations as 2 year olds can be very definate about what they wear and wanting to wear the fairy dress may not be appropriate when its 40 degrees below freezing!
As your children get older, you can let them make bigger decisions that are consistent with their ages. For example, many children go through a stage of not wanting to wear their mitts or toque, because their friends are not. If they are not going to get frostbite, then let them make that decision. You may be surprised when next time they actually choose to wear their mitts and toque after realizing that they were cold the last time they did not use them.
2. Allow your children to take healthy risks –
Don’t be a helicopter parent, hovering at all times. You need to allow your children to spread their wings, giving them space to try out new things in a supportive and safe environment. For example, if you are at the playground with your young children, you want to let them play on the playground equipment while you stand nearby supervising and offering physical assist only when necessary to prevent injury. Not only does this help your children learn to become their own confident beings, it also helps develop necessary gross motor skills for sports and other activities as they grow older.
As your children get older, they may want to take the transit bus to the mall with their friends. Set a few time limits and as long as your children know how to use the bus to get there, and are safe doing so, this can be a great way to encourage confidence-building skills in your children.
3. Teach problem solving skills –
When your children come to you with problems they are dealing with, do not try to fix or solve everything. Instead, give your children the tools to guide them in making a decision. For example, if your child gets in trouble at school for playing a joke on a teacher, do not be that parent that immediately jumps to the defense of your child. All that teaches your child is that you will be there to dig them out of difficult situations that they get themselves into. Of course, let your children know that you will always be there for them, but teach them to own up to their mistakes and how they can prevent things like that from happening in the future. Thus empowering them to make informed choices.
4. Put your children in extra-curricular activities –
For some children, school can be a place where they are seen as different by their peers. Perhaps your child goes to a school where volleyball is popular. However, your child may not like volleyball. It is therefore important to find an activity that your child enjoys and does well at, as that will help build his/her self-confidence. Sometimes, it can take a while to find out what that activity is, but when you do, it can make all the difference in the world to your child. This can also be beneficial in that it allows your child to make new friends outside of school, further enhancing confidence.
5. Allow your children to be around adults –
It is often easier for children to interact with those their own ages. However, allowing them to interact with their parents’ friends and family such as, grand parents, aunts uncles, cousins, is a good way to teach them confidence in talking with and discussing things with other people outside their age ranges. This exposure to family and friends increases their sense of identity and belonging.