Updated: Aug 24
When it comes to building confidence in children, the parent’s logic goes something like “The more I praise my child, the more confident they will be down the road.” In reality, too much praise can backfire and lead to anxious children lacking the confidence to praise themselves. As a parent, you can take several steps to help your little one boost their confidence and encourage them to work on their self-esteem.
1. Become a role model
Confident children have confident parents. What’s about your confidence? Managing some basic life problems with confidence will set a great example for your child. Even if you’re still working on elevating your own self-esteem, be mindful about how you project your anxiety and fears onto your child – particularly during the hard times.
A study conducted by Michigan State University found that young children are learning by mimicking their parents. Kids watch and learn from adults each day and it’s been shown that this copying behaviour starts at a very young age.
The first step you should take before teaching your child some precious confidence-building lessons is to learn how to be confident yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. If a problem occurs and it can be discussed with your child, do it. Let them see how to solve this problem with less stress. Sharing your experiences with your child will allow them to see that everyone has ups and downs and it’s okay. They’ll also learn the steps involved in reacting to difficult moments.
Say your child didn’t get the exam result they had hoped for. We hope that our children have the skills to see that this just means that they need to explore other study avenues next time, rather than thinking that they aren’t clever enough. Keeping your child confident in their own abilities is imperative for long-term success, motivation and enjoyment.
2. Work on their fears and flaws together
Research done by the University of Leicester, revealed that children’s fears trigger personal distress and can negatively affect their daily activities. Depending on your child’s age, fears can appear from nowhere and it’s important to identify and work on them. Children’s fears are as serious as adults’ ones and they can impair confidence.
Not only do fears stop us from reaching our goals, but they also impact our relationships with others. It’s critical to discuss your child’s fears and help your little one to overcome them. When a fear vanishes, confidence rises.
Teach your child to face fear rather than escaping it so when they reach difficult points they already have plenty of practice in overcoming a struggle.
3. Give your kids tasks and be generous in giving praise
There are two types of parents – parents who involve kids in their chores and those who keep their little ones away from them because they don’t have time to re-do children’s mistakes. Providing your kid with an opportunity to help out around the house is actually a great way to foster their confidence and independence.
Doing chores in early Primary school has been shown to aid in the later development of self-efficacy, pro-social behavior, and self-competence. Giving your child some tasks to do around the house is a great way to show that you trust them – even if you know that you’ll need to re-do that task.
When your kid finishes a task, help develop their sense of confidence and accomplishment with praise by giving positive feedback. Not only will you encourage them to help you around the house, but you’ll also help them take responsibility.
4. Allow your child to make their own decisions
If your child oves learning about space, help them to discover more. Let their passions guide you. Perhaps you want your child to learn a foreign language or an instrument, but your child doesn’t really enjoy lessons, let it go. The same applies to other choices in their lives. Your child’s happiness should always be your top priority.
When we suppress a child’s preferences and wishes, you risk minimising that child’s confidence in their own opinions and identity. So indulging age-appropriate choices can also prove a learning opportunity for when it doesn’t quite turn out how your child thought it would.
5. Be a Positive Mirror
Children often learn about themselves from the reactions of their parents. Do you show your child they’re fun to be with? If you reflect positivity through childhood, you’ll raise a child with high self-esteem. While this may seem difficult sometimes, being a positive mirror for your child will ultimately help your child’s confidence.
Studies suggest that parents should show positive emotions as early as possible as emotional expression is how our children learn about the world and how to act in it. On the other hand, babies exposed to parents’ negative emotions in the first year of life have an increased risk of developing depression and anxiety later in life.
Of course, you’re just a human being who experiences various types of emotions during the day. You don’t have to smile all the time. Children should know that not all days are good days. Let your little one know when you have a hard day and ask for emotional support. Be it a hug or a kiss, show your child how they can make your day brighter. This will help them learn how to cope with down days in a confident and positive way and how to support people in need.