Confidence is a beautiful and fragile thing. As adults, we learn to cope with our lack of self confidence in different ways. Whether it’s ignoring the comments of others or improving our self-worth through therapy, exercise, or other mental techniques, we are often in control of our feelings. Or at least we mask it well. We already know that children are innocent and fragile. Their feelings are easily hurt and it’s hard for them to understand the flaws, cruelty, and negativity of others. This makes building confidence and promoting self-esteem in young kids difficult at times. And this isn’t reserved strictly for young children. It affects teens and even college-level students in a variety of ways.Growing up is tough. But there are some great ways that parents can help build confidence in their kids. Here are just a few!
Show Acceptance and Love
Building your child’s confidence really does start with you and at home. This is the place where a child should feel safe, happy, and accepted. When you show them unconditional love, even in the face of imperfections and mistakes, they will slowly learn to love themselves despite those same imperfections. We all lose our patience at one time or another as parents but it’s important to apologize and show your child love and affection following any slight hiccup or incident. When you do lose your patience, yell, or ignore your child, they feel badly. Not only sad but they may start to question your love for them, especially younger children. It’s important to reaffirm your love for your child.
Focus on the Positive
We all have small things that we’d like to change about ourselves so it should be no surprise that your child might feel the same way. Perhaps your daughter wishes she had blonde hair or didn’t need glasses or your son is self-conscious of his acne or height. It’s important to help your child focus on their positives instead of what they perceive to be as negatives. Help them see all of the wonderful things they excel at. Whether that’s sports, reading, drawing or singing, compliment them where and when you can. Try not to dwell too much on your child’s looks as a source of praise or compliments. But you can certainly point out how nice their hair looks or the outfit they chose. Counteract any negative comments with a more positive one. Help them to push out negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. This will teach them to practice these methods on their own.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting oneself up for failure means trying to attain a goal that is simply not realistic. When a person is unable to achieve this goal, they’re often left feeling badly about themselves. Your child is the same way. No matter their age. So help them to set realistic, attainable goals. Not only will this save them from disappointment but accomplishing a goal will boost their confidence. It will show them that they’re capable of doing things and make them feel amazing about completing the task they set out to do. Take sports, for example. If your child has never played soccer before, it wouldn’t make sense for them to try out for the travel team. Instead, sign them up for the recreational league in your town. Here, they’ll learn the basic moves and rules while gaining experience. Once they’ve played soccer for a little while, maybe then allow them to try out for a more intense team. It’s all about small, gradual steps. View each milestone as your child getting one step closer to feeling like a capable and productive person.
It Starts With You
When children grow up in a safe, secure, and loving home, they’re apt to feel loved and accepted in the outside world. And even in the face of adversity, these children have the inner self-worth and confidence to look negativity in the eye and handle it accordingly. Teaching resilience is also important. Your child needs to understand not that everyone comes from a loving home like they do. They should consider themselves lucky and know that if someone is teasing them or trying to make them feel bad, it’s probably coming from their own place of sadness. This teaches empathy as well.
Fostering confidence in your child may not always be easy but it’s the foundation for many aspects of their adult life.