ARE YOUR KIDS CONFIDENT?
Do you want to raise confident kids? Confidence is a trait that helps us to be willing to try new things, cope with our mistakes, feel a sense of self-worth and be resilient in times of trouble. It is also a trait that must be developed. We are not all naturally confident. Parents play a key role in helping their children become confident kids.
When I was 13 years old, my parents purchased a cabin. That summer Mom and the kids lived at the cabin. The cabin needed repairs and redecorating. Mom and I took up the challenge. During that summer we painted, carpeted, reupholstered, and repaired electrical problems. As I look back on that time, I realize how much that built my confidence. Mom knew a lot about all these areas, but she trusted me, taught me and allowed me to make mistakes.
WERE YOU RAISED TO BE CONFIDENT?
As you think of ways to help your child develop confidence, think back on your own childhood. What did your parents do to help you become confident? Write down the ways your parents boosted your confidence.
Then think about the things that hurt your chances at becoming confident? Write down those ideas also. You will want to avoid the practices that worked against you developing confidence. These are both good questions because you can learn from them. Copy the techniques your parents used to build confidence and avoid the mistakes they made.
SIX TIPS FOR RAISING CONFIDENT KIDS
You can help your kids become more confident by using these six easy tips. In addition to these ideas, reflect on your own confidence. Are you teaching your child confidence through role modeling? These six tips can apply to you and help you to demonstrate your confidence to your kids.
1. GIVE THEM RESPONSIBILITIES
Do your kids have chores and responsibilities? Do you teach them to be a contributing member of the family? Kids flourish when they are given responsibilities that fit their age and ability. Completing the task gives them a sense of pride and achievement.
You can find lists of age appropriate chores for your children readily available online. But you can also ask your kids what jobs they would like to do around the house. The key to using these chores as confidence builders is to teach your kids how to do the job correctly. Work with them as they learn and improve. This is one way to raise confident kids.
2. ENCOURAGE CURIOSITY
Curiosity causes us to want to learn new things. When you encourage your child’s curiosity, you are also supporting their questioning skills, their problem solving skills and their language. Curious children ask a lot of questions. Parents often find this irritating, but it is so important to building your child’s confidence.
Sometimes their curiosity creates mistakes and messes. This is wonderful! Your child can learn through making mistakes. Your role is to allow the mess, allow the mistake. Encourage them to try again. You will be helping them become more confident and helping them develop a Growth Mindset.
3. PRAISE THEM WISELY
Most parents understand that praising your child builds confidence. The important factor to remember is to praise correctly. False praise, or empty praise isn’t helpful and can often weaken the right kind of praise. Saying “Good Job” too often, lessens its effect.
Proper praise points out the effort your child put into a task and the pride you have in them for completing a difficult task. For example, “I know you didn’t want to teach your brother that game, thanks for helping him. It was good of you to give up your time for him.” By praising the effort rather than the outcome, you are building their perseverance and resilience. They will begin to understand that they are capable and talented.
When you praise your child make eye contact, use their name and get on their level. This teaches your child good communication skills and models empathy. Praise wisely to create confident kids.
4. LET THEM “PROBLEM SOLVE”
Each day your child will face problems to a varying degree. They often run to you for help or a solution. We naturally want to help our children succeed, so we quickly solve their problems. Take a look at how often you are problem solving for them. The next time a problem arised, ask them to think of a solution. Guide them through the thinking it takes to problem solve.
This approach takes more time and effort on your part, but the pay-off is that you are building confidence AND encouraging independence. It won’t be long until they are solving more of their own problems and not running to you as often.
5. PRACTICE BUILDS COMPETENCE, COMPETENCE BUILDS CONFIDENCE
Certainly our kids know what it means to practice. Most of them participate in a sport or play an instrument. This type of practice is more formal and scheduled. It is also important to practice everyday relationship skills.
Practicing skills such as sharing, patience, listening and generosity helps kids become more competent. You can remind your children of these skills as they struggle with them. Remember also, to praise them when they practice the skills. As they develop competence, they will become more confident.
Consider the chores your kids are responsible for at home and help them to develop more competence with each task. Some families use these steps: novice, apprentice and expert, to help their child track their growth in competence with household chores. Competence gives children a feeling of mastery. Helping with household tasks gives children a sense of belonging and connectedness.
6. DAILY ACTS OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
You might be thinking “My kids know I love them!” But, our children need to know daily that we have unconditional love for them. Make it a habit to daily show your love. You can do this by focusing on these three things to communicate love: use their name often, make good eye contact and include physical touch.
I have a friend who ended every phone conversation with her kids by saying, I love you, (child’s name). I used to think that was overdoing it, but now I see how important that was to helping to build her child’s confidence.
Physical touch doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Make sure your kids receive hugs, pats on the back, and kisses daily. Some families snuggle together on the couch to watch tv. Other families have special handshakes and phrases that express their love. Find what works for you and your kids.
Confident kids become confident adults who are better prepared to handle the stress and challenges of adult life. Your children can become confident when you intentionally provide an environment that supports their confidence. Be a “Champion Parent” by raising confident kids ready for their future!