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Raising a Confident Child with a Strong Self-Esteem

What is confidence? Confidence is defined as the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; a firm trust. A feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities. Self Esteem is Confidence in one’s own worth and abilities; self respect.(English by Oxford Dictionaries)

Some may say confidence is everything. As an adult, as an athlete, as a teacher, coach and a counselor I have witnessed the value and importance of confidence in children, teens, college students and adults. Instilling confidence and ensuring children feel confident and self assured is key to raising happy, healthy and successful kids. Children who possess self-confidence and a strong self-esteem will be more successful in life and they will be happier individuals. They grow up to become more resilient individuals, which enables them to take more chances and leadership roles. Children with a low self-esteem, on the other hand, tend to feel defeated and depressed. These feelings can lead to making bad choices and falling into destructive relationships. In general, people with low self esteem fail to live up to their full potential. Negative thoughts and self doubt can be detrimental to success in school, sports, music, and life in general. After researching this topic I was able to collect tips and methods suggested to help build self-confidence in children.

Love your child. As a parent, don’t underestimate the power of unconditional love and your ability to influence your child’s sense of security and confidence. Making your presence felt and showing your love through your actions day to day is critical and it will never hurt to regularly tell your children that you love them and that you will always be proud of them. Make sure they know that you are there to support them in any and all endeavors.

Praise your child when it is appropriate. Positive reinforcement to good behavior and good effort is incredibly important. Always reassure your son or daughter that it’s important to try new things but he or she doesn’t always have to be the best in everything. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and sometimes things come more naturally to individuals. Praise the effort and his or her ability to go out on a limb and try things. Perfection is not the most important thing and every skill takes practice to improve.

Help your child set realistic goals. When your child is starting to play a new sport or learn a new skill or activity , it’s fine for her to think she’ll eventually be on the Olympic team or on broadway! But if he or she fails to make the varsity team in high school or is obviously not cut out for the acting world, its okay to have the realistic talk about realistic goals and focus. Its important to guide your child to set reasonable goals to help avoid feelings of failure. Set short term goals that are attainable and work with your child on strategizing how to get there. Always recognize, consider and encourage your child’s passions, naturaly ability and strengths when doing so. Highlight a child’s strengths often and he or she will feel more comfortable and confident working toward these goals.

Encourage sports or other physical activities. Both boys and girls should be encouraged to explore different sports and physical activities. Through sports and activities children learn that they can practice, improve and achieve goals. Kids and teens learn valuable life lessons through sports including teamwork, leadership and they learn to improve strengths and practice skills that they are weaker in. Children learn about winning and losing and how to win and lose with pride and grace. Physical activity is also important from a health perspective, staying fit and learning to respect one’s body is an important lesson and habit in itself. Lastly, playing a sport or partaking in an activity such as walking, running, hiking, tennis, baseball, soccer can be a great bonding experience for kids with peers and with kids and their parents.

Teach resilience. No one succeeds at everything. There will be setbacks and failures, criticism and pain. Use these hurdles as learning experiences rather than dwelling on the events as failures or disappointments. Teach your kids not to give up and to do their best. This is the greatest lesson. children will begin to understand that set backs and challenges are a part of life and they will learn how to manage them.

Instill independence and encourage your child to be adventurous and to take risks. Self-confident children are willing to try new things without fear of failure. Encourage children to do things themselves but stay close to help them to complete tasks on their own with your guidance. Give your child freedom to try new things and to explore. Its important to be safe but its also important to allow children to learn on their own by trying things. The more opportunities a child has to try new things and learn the more comfortable and confident a child becomes in his or her ability to handle new situations.

Set rules and be consistent. Set rules for your children and be consistent about enforcing them. Let your child know what the expectations are and stand by the consequences. This can be hard to do, but know that at the end of the day, children are more confident when they know who is in charge and what to expect. Rules and consistency give children a sense of security.

Coach relationship skills. Developing strong and positive relationships is key to your child’s self-confidence. Possessing social intelligence and the ability to understand people, interact well with others and to make new friends is important . “The most important initial relationship is the loving parent-child relationship. But as your child’s social circle expands, help him or her to see how her actions affect others — and help her learn to maintain an inner core of confidence when someone else’s actions affect her. This is an important skill in life. As a parent, it’s not your role to “fix” every situation, but rather to teach your child the compassion, kindness, self-assertiveness and, yes, confidence to handle the ups and downs of relationships.” (Working Mother, Sept. 24, 2012)

Support your child’s pursuit of a passion. All children are different and have different passions, interestes and strengths. Expose your child to many different things and pay attention to what they love and what they are good at. Recognize what makes them happy. Help them to explore and learn more about these passions. Praise them for hard work and dedication toward improving and growing.

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