So many outside factors influence the natural innocence of our children that can negatively affect their self-confidence. Children listen and absorb everything, from another child calling them a name to how grown-ups act toward each other. Their environment is the building block of how they view themselves, and how they interact with it.
As a parent, you have the greatest opportunity to help mold their perception of the world and their place in it. You can’t control everything, but small actions everyday can, overtime, assist your child in turning negativity into a powerful force of self-confidence.
Use these bigger-picture techniques to increase your child’s self-confidence:
1. Set the standard
You represent your child’s first impression of the world. How you act becomes their go-to behavior. If you use language that represents a mindset of failure and hopelessness, then your child will pick up on it. For example, saying that you “hate your job,” and you “can’t find a better one” will lead your child to think that they have no choices in life. Be positive by saying instead, “I will find a better job; one that I enjoy.” This will help them set goals in life, and always envision a brighter future for themselves.
2. Give specific praises
Vague praising leads to the wrong kind of ego-boosting. For example, constantly saying, “You are really smart,” makes them not only arrogant but also ignorant. They will go through life believing blindly in their intelligence without taking real criticism seriously. Making praise that highlights their true accomplishments and talents will guide them to use those talents more. For example, pick a certain achievement and highlight what they did to complete it well: “You practiced guitar every day, and I now see that you can play your favorite song!” This will encourage your child to practice more because practice has been rewarded.
3. Show them how to remove negativity
Children often do not see that change is possible. For instance, they believe if they are friends with another child then they always must be friends, or if they joined a team that they always must be a part of the team. It is important as parents to tell our children that if you are not happy, then make a change. You can help by observing their behavior while leaving time for conversion each day. If they seem unhappy, ask them why. Improving self-confidence also means removing those aspects of your life that hinder your improvement.
4. Inspire them to step out of their comfort zones
To a child, almost everything is new, so they may be hesitant at first to try. Fear of the unknown and failure will keep them from exploring new ventures. Reassure them of their strengths, and relate the new activity to something they have done before. Show them that they have completed a similar task with success, and this one is just slightly different. This will boost their self-confidence and inspire them to take bigger and bigger leaps.
5. Explain how failure is an opportunity
Failure leads to the worse kind of low self-esteem; the kind that keeps you from trying the same task again. This can lead to isolation and fear as an adult. You must teach your children the benefits of each failure. Tell them that if we did not fall, then we would never know how to get back up. If your child says, “I am never going to sing again because I didn’t make the choir,” then your response should be, “Did you enjoy singing before trying out for the choir?” And if so, “You can try singing another way.” Maybe choir is not for them, but creating their own music is. They have learned through failure what they truly want.
Throughout the process of teaching your child self-confidence there will be bumps along the way. Frustrations on both ends will occur, but it is important to stay as consistence as possible. No parent is perfect. What matters is that you recognize your mistakes and fix them. Staying confident, yourself, will only show your child that moving past the tough times while always result in positivity.