There are three things every parent wants their children to be: healthy, happy and successful. And you know one way you can help them be all those things? Help them develop confidence in themselves.
A child’s view of himself or herself is one of the most important opinions they can have. Kids who have high self-esteem see the world through eyes of enthusiasm and confidence and will bravely take on whatever life throws their way, while those who have low self-esteem are just the opposite.
As a parent, you’re not solely responsible for your children having high or low self-esteem. But, there are some ways parents can raise confident children.
1. Let your kids do things for themselves.
Give your kids responsibilities at home. Give them opportunities to succeed. And give them the opportunity to take risks and make some mistakes (small ones of course).
It’s good for your kids to take healthy risks and be able to learn from their mistakes. Rather than rushing in to save them from falling when they’re learning to ride a bike or putting in the last few pieces of the puzzle they haven’t figured out yet—step back, take a deep breath and let your kids take healthy risks, make their own choices, solve their problems and finish what they start.
Being able to do something as simple as take off and put on her own shoes is a major confidence booster to a young child. And although out of love, when you continually do things for your children, they become dependent on you and will soon expect you to always wait on them. So hone in your overbearing, anxiety-prone self and only jump in to help when your child really needs it.
2. Compliment, but don’t overpraise.
Commending your child’s efforts and accomplishments is a good thing. But don’t overpraise—that does more harm than good. Overpraising a kid for doing something essentially lowers the bar for them, and they’ll stop trying; they’ll stop pushing them self to be better. A child develops confidence as he continually tries, fails and tries again.
Also, don't praise your child when she does something she’s supposed to do, like putting her plate in the dishwasher. In this case, just tell her "thank you.” Only give praise when a child earns it. And when you do compliment your kids, provide specific feedback along with a genuine compliment, such as, “You did a great job of staying in between the lines when coloring the dog.”
3. Teach your kids to focus on the good in themselves.
Every kid has talents, but no kid is great at everything he tries to do. Your son may be the fastest kid on the football field, but when it comes to catching the ball, well let’s just say he hasn’t been earning too many touchdowns. Rather than focusing on what your kid can’t do or struggles with, teach him to focus on the good and what he can do; help him learn to like himself for exactly who he is.
And the best way to teach this is by your example. By watching you, your son or daughter should learn that it’s important to feel good about and value yourself; to know you have personal worth. It’s also important to admit your mistakes and show your kids we’re not perfect and that it’s completely fine. When they do mess up, be it getting a bad grade on a paper or dropping a football, teach your kids to casually accept their mistakes and learn from them. On the flip side, when they do something good, like finally catch a touchdown pass, let them know it’s appropriate to honestly recognize and feel good about their hard work and efforts.
4. Spend time with your children.
You learn so much about your children, as well as yourself, when you spend time with them. You also express to your child that they are worth your time, giving them needed feelings of importance, love and accomplishment by doing things with them. Invest in your child’s behavior by investing your time in them, whether that means playing a board game, getting ice cream, teaching them spiritual and life lessons or reading them their favorite bedtime story for the hundredth time this week.
At the end of the day, all you can do is unconditionally love your children and enjoy watching them grow and begin developing more confidence in themselves.
Written by Kirsten Metcalf