Confidence is quite an important trait for a child to possess. Confidence helps children make friends, answer questions at school and believe in their abilities. Without confidence, children might lack friends, get poor grades and have low self-esteem. Confidence is a complicated thing and isn’t as easy as teaching a child to tie their shoes or completing a chore. So it’s no wonder parents get worried about how to fill their child’s confidence bucket.
The first thing to understand about confidence is it doesn’t happen automatically. There’s not a magic pill that gives you confidence. And there isn’t the perfect combination of words that instantaneously grants confidence. Confidence cannot be forced on a child. Confidence is built through a series of experiences, lessons, practice and interaction with others. Confidence can’t be given; it must be engrained. You experience it through positive interactions and over time it becomes a part of your character.
The second thing to understand is many times we misinterpret the opposite of confidence. Most of us think that lack of confidence is something similar to introversion or being scared. When we try to help our children show confidence through the lens of this definition, we can end up making things worse. According to Dictionary.com the antonym, the only antonym, for confidence is "mistrust”. So then, how do I help my child show confidence?
4 parenting tips to help your child show confidence.
1. Be a trustworthy parent.
If the opposite of confidence is mistrust, then trust needs to be the foundation for building confidence. When a child is young, their parents are their whole world. So if the parent is untrustworthy, the child's entire world, including themselves, can be scary and confusing. Always tell your children the truth. Honor your promises. In general, be there for your child. If your child can trust their world, it will be easier for them to trust and have confidence in themselves.
2. Give your child ample opportunities to practice and participate in activities they are skilled in.
Confidence is a habit is formed out of a pattern of experiences. Homework provides a frequent opportunity to help your child practice confidence. Focus on subjects they enjoy most, and try finding different techniques for teaching the subjects they struggle with. Encourage your child to participate in the hobbies and activities they enjoy, but try not to overbook your family. If your child is too busy, they could fall behind on homework. If your family has an overbooked schedule, stress levels climb for everyone in the family.
3. Point out the things your child does well.
Make sure you let your child know they are doing well. You could also tell friends and family about your child’s accomplishments and milestones. It’s a huge boost of confidence when a child overhears their parents bragging about them to others. Encourage them, praise them, and reward them for achieving goals.
4. Understand your child’s unique personality.
As mentioned before, there’s a difference between introversion and lack of confidence. When you understand which is which it makes it easier to help your child. Above all never try to force confidence. If you try pushing your child into an uncomfortable situation, it could lead to more fear, lack of confidence and resentment.