As your child grows older and learns more about the world, they slowly realize that not everything will go their way. They will fail some exams. They won’t make it to the soccer team. They will never be part of the popular crowd. All of these can spur discouragement and fear. Ultimately, it dampens your child’s confidence.
When they get used to that pit of self-pity and self-doubt, it will carry on to adulthood. Then it will be difficult to be successful not only in academics but also in careers and relationships. As early as now, confidence is one of the traits that you should be building in your child. Here are some of the ways you can do that:
Pay attention to your compliments
When it comes to building confidence, you may think that compliments are your best bet. But not every compliment is worth throwing out there. If you say, “Good job!” all the time at everything your child does, it won’t mean anything anymore over time. They might ignore the praise. They might even be skeptical whether they have really done a good job.
Rethink your compliments. Don’t commend them for something they should do, like cleaning up their plate after meals or brushing their teeth. A simple “thank you” would suffice in those situations. In other instances where they are worth commending, give them specific feedback. For instance, if they have done well on their band performance, you can tell them, “I loved how you were so confident onstage.” These genuine compliments can help build confidence over time.
Encourage them to make decisions
When children are able to make sound decisions, they gain confidence in their judgment. Give them opportunities to choose for themselves. For instance, you can ask them what they want for their snacks: peanut butter sandwiches or pancakes. You can let them decide what to do during the weekend. In academic matters, when they’re a bit older already, perhaps you can have a sit-down talk on what they want in a school.
Asking your child what they want to do doesn’t only help in sharpening their decision-making skills. It also draws out their values and priorities at that point in their life. You might just discover that your child is very spiritual and would want to attend a Christian school. In that case, it may be worth considering an elementary application to a Christian institution in Gilbert, Arizona.
Don’t be a “savior” all the time
Confidence isn’t built on piles of victories secured but on failures overcome. The problem with many parents today is that they shield their children from disappointments. They keep their children from pursuing opportunities such as trying out for a school band or joining a dance competition. They rush immediately to an unfavorable situation to remedy it, like negotiating with the teacher to give their children an A on their last homework. But if you do this constantly, your child will miss an important lesson on confidence: Failure is normal, and what you make of it is what matters.
Let your child be accustomed to failure. Allow them to weep over disappointments and rejections. But at the same time, help them process their action points moving forward. This way, you’re teaching them how to pick themselves up after a fall. Over time, this will make your child confident in taking risks and overcoming failures.
Confidence cannot be built overnight. It requires intentional training and creation of opportunities. Watch the compliments that you give to your child, and encourage them to make decisions. It is natural to always want to help your child, but don’t be a “savior” all the time. These pieces of advice can help you nurture a self-assured child.