First, who is a self-confident child? A self-confident child is one who can do things without fear or any equivocation. He is one who acts with self-esteem and resilience in anything he does. Such a child takes up challenges that come his way, whether academic or social and makes the best out of it. The self-confident child is always seeking for improvement and excellence.
It is the wish of every parent to have children who are self-confident because parents know that a child with a positive attitude is already ahead of his peers. Such a child can be trusted to hold his own and resist negative pressures from peers and the society. Unfortunately, not all parents are able to achieve this feat.
As challenging as it might seem to raise a self-confident child, it is achievable and reassuring knowing that as a parent, one stands to gain in several ways if the child turns out the way he was modeled to turn out. The opposite can be frustrating for both parents and child. As such, the effort made in raising a confident child is always worth the while.
So what must parents do to raise a self-confident child? Here are a few guides that have worked and will continue to work with proper adaptability and usage.
1) Be a role model to your children.
Parents need to live their lives so that their children can see it. What parents do and say shapes their children’s attitudes, actions, beliefs and behaviors. Parents must be positive in action and thoughts. As a parent, one needs to exhibit an aura of confidence in one’s actions. Parents must take responsibility for their actions and by so doing; their child will equally take responsibility for his actions. There is a saying, that “the best way to raise a positive child in a negative world, is to have a positive parent who loves him unconditionally and serve as excellent role models.”
Parents are the first role models of their children. Children want to be like their parents. So it is important that a parent who wants a self-confident child should himself exhibit the qualities of self-confidence he wants in his child.
2) Always focus on the child’s efforts and strengths but don’t dwell on their weaknesses.
Raising the positive self-confident child is not a walk in the park. Parents have to walk the talk. To achieve this, a parent should know his child. A child should not be a stranger to his parent and vice versa. A parent should make deliberate effort to be available. Only by doing that will parents know the challenges and successes of their child.
Parents should encourage their children when they encounter challenges and motivate them to do better instead of finding faults in whatever they do. A parent should encourage his child when they underperform and should not dwell on their failures. Rather, the child’s effort should be commended. A parent should avoid using harsh or negative words when correcting the child. In such instances, the focus should be the mistake and not the child.
Building a self-confident child requires a lot of love and affection. Children are sensitive to what they see and feel. Admonishing with love will build a child’s self-esteem. Brian Tracy said “the way you speak to your children is the single greatest factor in shaping their personalities and self-confidence.”
3) Children love praises and rewards. In fact everyone does. A child can never get enough of praises. And it hurts nobody when compliments and accolades are given, even for simple tasks or wins. A parent should never tire of praising his child. Always praise the child when they do well, be it in academics, house chores or for other activities they love. Even when they do not perform so well, it is not out of place to give applauds and plaudits for the efforts put in. A parent should be wise in these things, knowing when to praise and when to commend.
Praising a child whenever he does something great or commendable will bring out the best in the child. A parent should be wise in these things because too much applauds can also be counter-productive in that it can create pressure on the child to perform or produce the best results.
There are many ways a parent can show commendation or praises. Giving presents like the child’s favourite toys or expressing affection like hugs and kisses or visiting places of the child’s interest can all achieve the same purpose. A parent should never promise a child something he cannot fulfill in the heat of excitement. Praising a child will make them believe that they are worthwhile if they do something flawlessly. This builds their confidence to achieve even more when an opportunity is presented.
4) Knowledge builds self-confidence. Knowledge here is not just about schoolwork but being versatile. Parents should encourage their children to learn new things and acquire new skills. Children are naturally adventurous. They are open to new information, knowledge, ways of doing things. Parents should build children with inquisitive minds.
As Margaret Mead said “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” Children should develop confidence out of their own accomplishments and face their new challenges without fear. When you allow children to display their skills, it makes them to feel loved. It is these skills and knowledge that forges self-confidence in children. They develop a can-do attitude and are ready and willing to explore new things.
One way of achieving this is through books. Books are a window to the world. Parents should develop a child’s desire and interest in reading early enough. If this is done, a parent’s work in this regard would have been half done.
5) The psyche of the child is critical to his self-confidence. Parents should desist from using negative words on their children. Such words can have long lasting effect on the child making him to believe he is a failure. Negativity breeds low self-esteem. A parent should rather use positive words on his child. This would grow the child’s self-worth and ability to perform Words like “I believe in you” or “You can do better” even in the face of failure can make a difference in a child’s psyche.
6) A child is the sum total of his abilities and efforts. Parents should enable their children to trust in themselves and their capabilities. Parents should make the children to understand that everyone can make mistake, and let them know that a confident child is the one that learns from his mistake rather than dwell on the mistakes. Learning from mistakes builds confidence. There’s a saying that “Confidence is not putting myself down, comparing myself to others and feeling inferior. Confidence is lifting myself up, loving me for me, and knowing I am amazing.” A parent is his child’s best cheerleader. Even when the world does not see anything good in the child, a parent should reassure his child that he is the best.
7) Love is the bedrock of the parent-child relationship. The role of love in the family cannot be overemphasized. Parents should always show love to their child and make him know that he is loved, no matter the circumstance. Alvin Price said “Parents need to fill a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can’t poke enough holes to drain it dry.”
In the absence of every other thing, a parent’s love is all he has to give. And it does not cost anything. A parent should give and show it freely. There is no confidence booster greater than that.
Having stated the above guides to building the self-confident child, it must be stated that the process is not a sprint but a marathon. The parent must put in the effort. He must measure milestones. He must be able to ascertain after some time whether he is doing the right thing. He must above all understand that as he is molding the child to become what he desires, he should also be building himself because he is the mirror the child sees himself in.
Carol Dweck said it all, when she said, “if parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.”
Finally, “A Self- confident child is one who has the support of his parents and whose parents ignore his shortcomings and improve his confidence and self-esteem.” Chinwe Onwubiko.