As a parent, what’s your biggest goal?
Of course, you want your children to be healthy, happy, and successful. What’s the underlying key to all those things?
Raising a confident child is easier said than done. You want to support and encourage your child, but you don’t want her to become cocky either.
How can you strike that delicate balance and build confidence in your child? In this post, we’ll outline how to build a child’s confidence in 7 easy steps.
Read on to learn how to raise confident kids.
1. Be Generous with Your Love (And Time)
It may sound obvious, but the surest way to instill confidence in your child is to assure her of your love.
Acceptance and love begin in the home with the family. Use the words “I love you” frequently within the home (get Dad to say it too, even if it’s hard for him). This warm environment can then extend to your child’s friends, classmates, and neighbors.
Remember too that one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids is your time. All the gadgets and gifts in the world can’t take the place of your physical and emotional presence.
If you often feel stressed, carve out a little relaxation time for yourself. Then, when you feel refreshed, you can refocus that positive energy on your family.
2. Praise and Reward Effort
We all have inborn strengths and talents–your kids included. And while there’s nothing wrong with praising them for something they’re gifted at, it’s better to focus on the effort behind it.
That way, when your children fall short or fail (and they will), they’ll still feel good about themselves.
Let’s say your daughter practiced long hours for an upcoming soccer game, but her team lost. Rather than focusing on the defeat, commend her for being a great team player and for working so hard during practice.
Another example? Despite your son’s intense studying, he barely passed his math exam. Now’s the time to praise him for his study habits and assure him that it’s okay not to be perfect.
Let’s say your child is just learning to swim and you’ve bought the best baby float for him/her. He/she is not going to do well immediately. You have to continuously give a compliment, so that he/she doesn’t feel bad about failing again and again. Also, praise when they try harder than before.
3. Give Specific Compliments
You know why your kids are awesome–but do they?
Good parenting involves more than just saying “Good job” to your child. It involves tapping into their inner feelings of happiness, pride, and satisfaction.
When the situation calls for genuine praise, single out a specific action and emotion. “You loaned your Nickis scarf to your friend because she was cold? Didn’t that make you feel so good to help her?”
You can also share your own positive feelings about their good behavior or efforts. “It makes me so proud when you put your toys away” will make your child feel proud too.
If in doubt, praise your kids for being kind and good. After all, isn’t that the type of person you want them to grow up to be?
4. Set a Good Example
While we’re talking about you, let’s discuss another confidence booster: Leading by example.
Do you and your family make a habit of practicing positive self-talk? Do you do so in front of the kids? If not, now’s the time to start.
Remember: Confident children result from confident parents. If you constantly put yourself down or belittle your spouse, your kids will absorb and adopt that negativity.
Instead, be positive about your own accomplishments–without boasting, of course. In front of your child, say things like, “Your dad got that promotion because he worked really hard” or “I’m proud of myself for making the effort to run that 5K.”
5. Acknowledge Their Limitations
Life is full of disappointments and setbacks, and your kids will learn that as they get older.
How can you help them maintain their self-confidence when things get tough? Help them develop a realistic view of themselves and their abilities, as well as their limitations.
Not everyone gets to become an astronaut or an Olympic gold medalist–and that’s okay. Acknowledge their disappointment and their feelings while praising them for their wonderful effort.
As an example, what if your child is struggling with spelling? “Spelling is hard for a lot of people,” you could say. “Some kids have to study more than their classmates, and that’s okay.”
Putting a positive spin on your kid’s weakness will help them adopt the right attitude about–now and in the future.
6. Equate Success with Teamwork
Your child might be the star of the team, but does he understand that winning was a group effort?
There’s nothing wrong with praising your son when his team wins a basketball game. But do you also mention how well Bobby and Timmy played, or how supportive their coach was?
Do you also encourage him to compliment his team members for their hard work? Doing so will set him up for success in college and the working world, where teamwork is highly valued.
7. Encourage Independence & Adventures
Do you constantly encourage your child to try new things–in a safe environment and within their abilities?
With younger children, it could be something as simple as learning to make a sandwich or propelling themselves on the swingset. Supervise her from the sidelines, but allow her the chance to explore and figure things out for herself.
What about as she gets older? Do you go on adventures together or travel as a family? Doing so allows your kids the opportunity to practice gratitude and patience while opening their minds to new ideas.
You don’t have to go around the world, either. Starting a new hobby, tasting new foods, or visiting a new park will all install confidence in your child.
How to Build a Child’s Confidence: Now You Know
Parenting is one of the most difficult (but rewarding) jobs on the planet. The good news is you don’t have to figure everything out on your own.
Now that you know how to build a child’s confidence, it’s time to put these tips into practice. Refer back to this list often and you’ll have a happy, confident child as a result.
Are you having trouble navigating the demanding world of motherhood? If so, you’re not alone–and help is available.
Click here to learn why many mothers have found parenting success through professional counseling.