This past school year I noticed my 3rd grader was struggling with believing in his capabilities to embrace and achieve new things. The simplest “no” or unsuccessful attempt would result in him being sullen and holding back tears.
As his mom, of course I want him to be self-confident and willing to embrace the new and different. I honestly believe that self-confidence is a key component of success in life. It’s, also, something I have struggled with throughout my life and want better for my children. But, honestly, just how do you teach and instill this important life skill?
I’ve said before that children are born with the belief that they are the most awesome beings alive. It is as they grow and others feed into them – positively and negatively – that their beliefs begin to change and shift.
5 Ways to Raise a Self-Confident Child
Experts note that babies and later children who have their needs met consistently – needs for food, comfort, a listening ear, etc. – are learning the message that they are worth paying attention to; they learn they have worth. Some professionals believe this is best accomplished through the practice of attachment parenting. Others simply note that prompt and consistent meeting of needs will send a positive message to children.
Play with Your Child
Play is how your child learns about and interacts with their world. When you participate, you validate this playful approach. You are sharing your child’s world and helping him or her to see that their parents enjoy the same things they do.
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Let’s be honest, we can sometimes get pushy about teaching our children the value of hard work or the completion of tasks. While these things are certainly important, the time in our little one’s life when they are young, playful children is quite short. So embrace this time and play with your child. Honestly, it can be therapeutic for us! Win-win!
Put on a Happy Face
Okay, not everyone is happy all the time, and parents get stressed. This is understandable, and there’s no need to invent a perpetually-cheerful persona; it’s not realistic or healthy. However, if your children receive the constant message that they are the source of your stress, they may begin to take on that identity. They will see themselves as an annoyance, interruption or after-though – and this may undermine their self-confidence.
Watch What You Say
B careful about complaining about your children in their hearing. Yes, parenting is hard, and our wonderful bundles of joy can try our patience at times. But if you need to vent to your friends about the things your child does that drive you crazy, do it at a time when your child is not present.
Don’t Withhold Yourself
If your child fails at something – and he or she will at some point – it’s important not to withdraw or withhold love and attention. This sends the message that your child’s achievements are more important that the child him/herself. Instead, make sure your child knows you love him or her no matter what failures happen.
Of course, this does not mean you as a parent need to accept constant failure or not encourage your child to do better. The important thing is for your child not to think your love is conditional. Privileges can be conditional; parental love shouldn’t be.