Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our kids grew up with high self-worth and unbreakable confidence? That’s the dream. As parents, we hope our kids grow up with resilience and self-esteem to overcome obstacles and love the person they are. And we play a big part in that process. How we speak to them, interact, and treat them can significantly affect their self-perception. So, let’s dive in to learn how to raise confident kids to empower a healthier self-image.
How to Raise Confident Kids
1. Praise effort not just results
Parenthood is a fulfilling journey of ups and downs. It’s constantly evolving. So whether your child receives straight marks on their exams or wins the game, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the effort. And it’s your job to praise them for trying and not just the results. In fact, consistency will help foster a growth mindset in kids, which will create an improved relationship with failure. Therefore, applaud their effort and reinforce it with unwavering support.
2. Foster independence
Protecting our kids from harm is the ultimate goal. We turn into mamma and papa bears willing to do anything to save our cubs. But, sometimes, it’s best to take a step back and foster independence. Not only will it give them opportunities to solve problems on their own, but it will increase their self-confidence too. Even if they don’t excel as much as they would with your help, they’ll figure out they’re capable of overcoming obstacles and will develop self-trust.
3. Encourage their curiosity
Kids are little sponges that soak up everything. They’re curious and want to discover the world around them. And although it can be annoying to feed their endless “What is that for?” and “Why is that like that?”, encourage these questions and their adorable curiosity. It boosts their confidence in asking adults for information, processing it, and believing it’s okay to speak up and request more information. In fact, it will give them a leg up in school when interacting with their teachers.
4. Allow mistakes
Never demand perfection. Not only is it impossible to achieve, but it can negatively affect your children’s confidence and cause depression, anxiety, and other consequences in adulthood. So, when they stumble, instead of becoming angry, use the opportunity as a valuable learning experience. For example, you can say, “It’s okay to make mistakes. What can we learn from them?” Responding this way teaches them that failure isn’t something to fear; it’s the prerequisite for growth.
5. Avoid criticism
Criticizing your child’s efforts is a big no-no. If they’re afraid they’ll disappoint you at the slight chance of failure, they’ll never leave their comfort zone and try new things. Although it’s okay to offer constructive feedback or offer suggestions, never say they’re not good enough. In fact, a study revealed that 8 out of 10 young adults don’t feel they’re good enough. Therefore, praise and continue to praise their efforts, encourage them to learn and adopt new skills, and cheer them on the sidelines no matter the outcome. While you’re at it, teach them healthy coping skills to help them regulate their emotions and bounce back from setbacks. These gifts will help you discover the key to how to raise confident kids.
6. Balance the praise
While praise is important, excessive praise can lead to external validation and weakened self-trust. Even more, too much assistance may limit their ability to solve problems independently. So, what can you do? Instead of using vague praise like “good job” or “you’re amazing,” offer specific feedback that highlights what your child did well. For example, say, “I noticed how neatly you organized your toys, great work!” or “I loved how you solved that puzzle using different approaches”. Specific feedback not only encourages positive behavior but also boosts intrinsic motivation. In other words, they’re more likely to feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from their own efforts.
7. Expose them to challenges
One of the many gifts of parenting is the exciting opportunity to expose your kids to new experiences. You get to teach them what you know, show them a world outside of their own, and teach them that new and different things can be fun and thrilling. In fact, learning a new sport or skill that initially seems scary increases their self-assurance and gives them the courage to leave their comfort zone to witness the magic. It also prepares them to cope with adversity and life outside your home, teaching them how to be emotionally resilient.
8. Teach them everything you know
Your kids hold you on a pedestal. They see you as their hero, a superhuman who can do anything. So, why not use this precious time to your advantage and boost their confidence by teaching them what you know? Until their teenage years, they will observe you with that special curiosity we discussed above and be in awe of how your eyes light up when you paint, play basketball, shuffle cards in cool ways, and speak Spanish. Doing so will set a good example and model confidence that they can achieve the same with effort and consistency.
9. Teach and model valuable social skills
Your child’s confidence is largely shaped by their external world. So, if they learn valuable skills like active listening, conflict resolution, and emotional regulation, they’ll develop positive interactions with peers and healthy relationships later in life. Here are a couple of tips to start.
- When they’re experiencing an intense emotion, teach them a self-regulation strategy like mindful breathing, then help them label their feelings and discover the underlying cause. For example, use emotion cards and ask, “How do you feel? Angry, sad, scared?” Next, say, “I want to understand why you’re (insert emotion). Can you help me by telling me what’s bothering you?”
- If you see your child fighting with their friend, step in and use it as an opportunity to teach conflict resolution. For example, if they’re fighting over a toy, have each child take turns expressing their feelings and perspectives. For instance, one might say, “I had the toy first,” and the other might respond, “But I really want to play with it too.” Then, teach empathy by helping them understand their feelings are both valid and the way to solve the problem is to take turns.
10. Be patient
Building confidence does not happen overnight. Your child will fail, make mistakes, and push your buttons. It’s the beauty of parenting. But, learning how to be a patient parent and regulate your emotions will model healthy behaviors as your children grow and develop. And as you respond vs. react and communicate effectively, instead of yelling, they’ll develop the necessary confidence to navigate relationships with respect, kindness, and self-belief.
Never underestimate the power you hold as a parent. Your actions, presence, and language all play a pivotal role in shaping your child’s self-image. So, follow these tips on how to raise confident kids, and they’ll have the self-esteem, problem-solving skills, and emotional resilience needed to thrive.
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