Raising kids with enough self-confidence to not only survive but thrive, is a goal for many parents. And while the focus is primarily on “self,” parents do play a significant role in how a child develops competence and a strong sense of self, which is important for their health and psychological well-being.
Knowing how to encourage your child, and staying clued in on what to say when they look to you for guidance, can mean the difference between a child who believes in themselves and one that often doubts their abilities.
Make Frequent Deposits in their Self-Esteem Bank
Self-confidence and self-esteem are often used interchangeably, but they don’t always mean the same thing. When you make a deposit in your child’s self-esteem bank, you are showing that you care and love them regardless of the outcome of their behavior. Some examples of this might be telling them how proud of them you are, or complimenting them on something they’ve created or accomplished.
Make Time to Play
Kids of all ages learn through play and interactions with others. As a parent, you are often your child’s first “playmate,” which means you are also the first person to help them develop a strong sense of self.
By being fully present through play, spending time together, getting outdoors, or just sitting down and reading their favorite book, you show your child they are valuable and worthy of your time. And when your child feels valuable and supported, they are more willing to take on life’s challenges.
Pay Attention to How Often You Praise
Children of all ages like to hear approval from their parents. In fact, praise and positive feedback are often two of the most common ways kids measure their worth. That’s why it is so important to be realistic in how you praise.
Wait Before You Offer Help
Kids need a lot of practice in life to learn how to manage themselves and overcome obstacles. So giving them the space to try things on their own before offering help builds their self-confidence. Parents should nurture a child’s ability to solve problems as these will inevitably become a regular part of their life. While it might be tempting to jump in and rescue your child, doing so will only hinder their ability to take care of themselves. Children who learn how to problem-solve on their own will be better equipped to handle issues and deal with anxiety in a healthy manner.
* Embrace Risk-Taking
Mistakes are bound to happen, which is why parents should teach children that failure is a part of life and a great learning experience. When children are struggling with a setback, it is important that parents offer their unconditional support by listening and offering encouragement, regardless of the end result.