Dear Parents, Learn How To Instill Confidence In Your Child!
Raising confident children begins from appreciating that the sense of confidence comes from within. While it is helpful for parents to believe in their children, what matters more is how children feel and believe about themselves.
Most parents want their children to be happy, compassionate, confident, have high self esteem and to excel in what they do, but the significant question i, "How to instill confidence in child?"
Amongst these desirable qualities, confidence is often one of the most important foundation for the others to manifest. So, how do you raise a confident child?
How to instill confidence in your child? Raising confident children begins from appreciating that the sense of confidence comes from within. While it is helpful for parents to believe in their children, what matters more is a child's self esteem. The source of confidence is self-belief. To discover how to instill confidence in our children, we first need to understand how their beliefs affect their behaviours.
As Henry Ford once said, “If you believe you can or you can’t, you are probably right.” When a child believes that he can perform a task, he is more likely to succeed. And if he fails initially, he will try again and again till he gets it right. But when a child believes that he can’t, he is less likely to try. And if he fails after trying, he takes it as an affirmation of his belief that he can’t.
The task of raising confident children entails guiding them to grow and become more competent at meeting the demands and challenges in life. This could mean getting a young child to tie his shoelaces independently, riding a bicycle or competing in a chess tournament. Confident children feel good about themselves. They exhibit an attitude of “I can do it!” Conversely, those who lack self esteem often hold beliefs such as “I can’t” and “I’m not good enough”.
Raising a confident child is a step-by-step process. That means helping them gain confidence gradually over time by breaking the endeavour into several smaller steps. The idea is to make it easy for them to get started, and then build momentum from initial successes.
Sometimes, a child may even do that by himself. I remember watching my six year old learn to perform a stunt by jumping off the top bunk of a double-decked bed. Part of me felt like stopping him from doing things that might get him hurt, but the other part of me that prevailed was curious to observe how he handled the process. He started by leaping from the middle rung of the ladder, and gradually moved higher up one rung at a time until he reached the bed on the top bunk. Throughout the process, I heard him chanting to himself, “I can do it. I can do it.” And true enough, he finally did it.
Getting over fear
One of the major causes of low self-esteem is fear. Again, fear is often rooted in a belief that “I can’t handle it”. Such a belief is usually drawn from past experience. A child who had suffered a bad fall previously when learning to ride a bicycle may be too fearful to try again.
As parents, our task is to help them to become aware of exactly what their fears are, and then guide them to identify what they could do about them.
At times, it may turn out that a child is more afraid of being laughed at by his friends than the physical pain from falling off a bike. The former may be addressed by shifting to a more private space, while the latter by not letting off our grip on the bike until the child is ready to go solo. Whatever it is, we need to provide the necessary encouragement and support to sustain their action, and not let the child settle for the negative self-belief.
You can do it!
The best form of encouragement is probably to openly display our belief in our children’s ability. Once, my child took part in a chess tournament and felt that he would not be able to defeat his opponent, who was then the top-seeded player.
I asked him, “How did you know that he is undefeatable?” My son replied, “He is very good. He is ranked number one. He has won all his games so far.”
My son was an underdog taking part in a national tournament for the first time, and had not played against any of the top ranking players before.
I told him, “Anything is possible, and you won’t find out unless you try. I know just one boy who might defeat him, and his name is … Sean (my son)”. His face lit up in shock.
He did not win the championship, but he did come in second after defeating most of the top players, including the boy he previously feared. Pay attention to where they have done well in the past and guide them to access those experiences as personal resources to help them build greater confidence. This victory meant a lot to him, and will remain a great lesson for him to challenge his assumptions and beliefs whenever he encounters self-doubts in the future.
No to criticism
Criticism has absolutely no place in raising confident children, not even constructive ones. Parents’ criticisms often persist into adulthood. Most adults walk around with a critical parent part in them, manifesting in the form of inner voices that constantly remind them of their shortcomings.
The alternative to criticisms is not praises, but requests. For example, instead of criticizing a child by saying “Why are you so careless?”, tell them “Would you be more careful next time?”. When we request our children to perform or behave in a desirable manner, it helps them to move towards a positive outcome as opposed to avoiding a negative one.