One of the most vital characteristics of a child is confidence.
When equipped with a high level of self-esteem, kids stand a better chance of dealing with social pressure and responsibilities, especially when they grow up.
Thus, it is of utmost importance that parents help kids build up trust in themselves.
1. Give kids compliments when they have achieved a good deed, but do not shower them with praises
The easiest step towards teaching your child confidence is to acknowledge their efforts.
Sometimes, parents gloss out on kids’ achievements, deeming them as trivial or unimportant.
The truth is, kids are extremely sensitive to how adults react to their actions.
When received compliments after performing a certain behavior, kids will consider them as incentives and are more likely to repeat that behavior in the future.
In short, praising kids when they have done something appropriately is a necessary move towards building kids’ confidence.
It can be when they finish their homework in due time, or when they offer to help you with cleaning the dishes.
However, giving encouragement does not mean you have to flatter your kids all the time, no matter what they do.
For example, telling a child he or she is great at football right after they lose to an opponent team is uncandid.
Instead, you can find a more realistic approach, such as commenting on how hard they have tried during the match, or how much they have improved since the last game.
2. Guide kids through negativity
Avoiding groundless negativity and looking on the bright side is crucial to building a child’s self-esteem.
Whenever you hear your kids complain about them not being good enough, help them understand that a person possesses unique talents.
All kids have to do is to find a way to nurture, develop and sharpen their own abilities.
Steer kids away from saying: “I can’t do this”, “I am terrible at this”, or “There must be something wrong with me because I suck at this”.
Instead, ask them to think the other way round by focusing on what they can do to solve the problem.
“I cannot do this math exercise yet, so I will study harder and see how things work out.”
“I may not be good at drawing, but at least I can tell the difference between different shades of red.”
This mindset needs to be reinforced over and over again so that kids no longer turn to negative thoughts once challenges arise.
3. Help kids aspire towards self-reliance
If you want your kids to become confident, let them grow their sense of independence.
Allow them to pick out their daily outfits, pack their school bags, or decide where to sit at the dinner table.
In case your child is still too small, you can stand by and supervise from afar to make sure nothing goes wrong.
For complicated tasks, like folding clothes or making a sandwich, you can help by giving them a model demonstration, then instruct them to do the same.
When kids are used to doing things on their own, they are less likely to expect support from other people.
Gradually, as kids experience first-hand what it feels like to handle stuff by themselves, their self-belief will be boosted.
4. Give kids a chance to lead
Nothing makes kids prouder than leading other people since being assigned as a leader means kids are trusted to shoulder certain responsibilities.
To make this happen, parents should actively join kids in their daily routines and give them the opportunity to supervise and give orders to everyone.
For example, you are having a mini-baseball game in the backyard.
Vote for your kid to be the team captain and give out strategies so you can follow.
After being regarded as a commander for a few times, your kid will slowly realize that their works are recognized.
This will act as motivation so that the kid will continue trying their best in the future.
5. Ask for kids’ opinions when it comes to relevant issues
If there is a situation pertinent to kids, make sure the kids have a vote in the matter.
Whether it is the smallest thing, like the color for the family uniforms, or more serious issues, like choosing an extracurricular activity, parents should include kids in the decision-making process.
When asked for advice or simply comments on suitable circumstances, kids will feel like their ideas are appreciated, thus enhancing their self-esteem.
But remember, do not shut down what the kids have voiced out, however pointless, irrelevant, or naive they are.
Instead, simply embrace their suggestions as “thoughtful”, “creative”, or “nice”.
Not only will this help kids avoid embarrassment, but it also encourages kids to keep thinking and expressing their viewpoints.
6. Make sure kids always receive unconditional love from their families
If kids know they are taken care of and supported by their family, they are more likely to cultivate a sense of self-belief.
This is because, for kids, the initial step of being confident is feeling accepted and valued, starting by the closest people.
Tell kids how much they mean to you, and show them no matter what happens, you will always stand by their side.
7. Do not compare kids to other people
No one likes comparison, adults and kids alike.
Comparison is not supposed to make kids feel more motivated and try to act better.
Instead, when being put on a scale with another person – especially someone their age – kids are more likely to be bitter, resentful, and doubtful of their abilities.
Even when you think there is a child better than your kid, there is no need in saying: “Oh, look at that girl! She can go to school on her own already when you still need me to drive you to school.”
Everyone has their own worth, and reminding kids of certain qualities they currently lack by pointing out at other children will not help.
Teaching a child confidence is also about giving them the preparation they need in order to succeed in the future.
Thus, parents need to be consistent and delicate in how they approach their kids.
Do not turn kids into egoists, but at the same time, do not let kids lose hope in themselves.