5 Secrets to Instilling Confidence in Your Child
It takes confidence to be a kid and every child has the right to the best possible childhood. Naturally, parents want to instill good morals in their children so that they will bravely take on new challenges and eventually believe in themselves. Every experience in a child’s early life has an impact on their development now and in the future, it is therefore incredibly important to impart self-confidence in your little one.
Each child is a little different and parents can follow some general guidelines to build kids’ confidence. These tips can make a big difference.
Be a positive role model
Children are born without any social knowledge and they eagerly look for someone to imitate. Parents being the child’s first teachers are the psychological mirrors which children use to define themselves. Children are more affected by what their parents do than by what their parents say so they learn how to behave by seeing how their mothers and fathers behave and follow by example. Parents create the foundation for a child’s sense of self-confidence through all of their experiences.
Using social skills is a great way to model positive behavior and boost a child’s self-confidence. A good positive parent knows that he or she is not perfect but values him or herself, while always trying to grow and improve. If you’re excessively harsh on yourself, pessimistic, or unrealistic about your abilities and limitations, your children might eventually mirror you. Nurture your own self-esteem and they’ll have a great role model. What children believe about themselves is at the heart of what they become.
Know that your words are powerful
Parents must be careful with their words and avoid labeling your child either directly to your child or when talking about her to others. Labels stick and rapidly lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Judgments about a child’s character often become self-fulfilling. Children, assuming that adults know more than they do, trust our assessments more than their own. Labels also overlook a child’s strengths so ensure that your child is left with a positive view of themselves by calmly and confidently bouncing by the generalization with a subtle reframing.
Always praise your child not only for a job well done, but also for effort. When your child does something you don’t like, you can choose to correct him in a fair and consistent way that won’t hurt their confidence. Encourage them to do better than they did before, NOT better than someone else. Children develop at different rates so make sure you do not compare one child to his or her siblings or friends.
Show Your Child Love and Acceptance
Children need to know that they are important. Showing children that they are loved and accepted instills a sense of security, identity, belonging and purpose. If you let your child know that you appreciate them as unique individuals and they are more likely to value themselves too. When they feel accepted and loved by the important people in their lives, they feel comfortable, safe and secure, and open to communication. You can be bonded, not just by dependence, but by love and shared pride in all they’ve achieved.
Even when they sometimes behave badly, children need to get the message that they are worthy of love. Parents should show love and acceptance through spending time together, daily expressions of affection, care and concern.
You can’t help what other people say to your children. Potentially hurtful remarks like “Why is your hair so kinky?” or “Is your hair ever straight!” can’t be prevented, but you can teach your children how to respond. Children can brush off remarks by controlling their reactions, you can teach your child dignity and self-respect. Most prejudiced people will back off if they don’t get a reaction, or if the reaction they get is calm and polite. If you don’t make a big deal about peoples’ questions and thoughtless comments, your child will learn to chalk them up to simple curiosity and will answer them as such.
Acknowledge your children’s accomplishments positively
Your reactions affect how your children feel about themselves. This acknowledges a child’s feelings, rewards the choice made, and encourages the child to make the right choice again next time. Let your children know that you recognize and value the new things they have learned to do no matter how big or small. When kids achieve something, they get a sense of themselves as able and capable, and tap into that high-octane fuel of confidence. Encourage children by giving lots of opportunities to practice and master their skills, letting kids make mistakes and being there to boost their spirits so they keep trying.
Respond with interest and excitement when kids show off a new skill, and reward them with praise when they achieve a goal or make a good effort. A happy face and other positive expressions like tone of voice or body language will help your children feel they are worth your time and attention.
Listen to your child
Respect and honor your child’s feelings. Many parents worry that acknowledging their child’s negative feelings will only make them worse when, in fact, the opposite is true. Giving a child room to experience their negative feelings often makes those feeling go away. Most parents find it very easy to tell their children what they want but have a much more difficult time listening to what their kids want and need. To truly hear your child is to understand not only what she is saying but also what the underlying message is and to understand her needs.
Show your child she is worthy of your attention by turning off the computer, putting down the cell phone, turning off the television, and listening. Encourage your kids to talk to you or other trusted adults about solving problems that are too big to solve by themselves.
Remember, the concept of success following effort and persistence starts early, and positive parenting means close involvement in what goes into the mind of the child.
This article was contributed by Victoria Olubi. Victoria is the founder of MyCurls.co.uk, a hair care company that hand-makes natural products for women and children with curly and Afro textured hair. For more hair tips subscribe to her free newsletter, the VIP List at www.mycurls.co.uk.