by Jennifer Shakeel
There is something that each and every child is born with and we as parents either help them increase it or totally destroy it. I am talking about self confidence. Take any group of kids, or people, and you are going to find those that have self confidence, those that aren’t to sure, and others that have none. If everyone innately has self confidence what is it that causes some people to be beaming with it and others simply wishing for it. The answer is parents. Believe it or not every interaction you have with your child is either going to encourage/boost their confidence or ruin it.
I say this with caution, because who your child is will also play a large role in how they take those interactions and use them to become the individuals they are, and the individuals they will become. For example, in my family there were three kids. I was the oldest, I have a younger sister and an even younger brother. We were all raised in the same house by the same parents, yet we each became three very different people. With out going into detail, lets just say that some children’s character will allow them to take adversity and use it to build their strengths, and some children will take adversity and succumb to it, give up or believe that they are not strong enough to overcome it.
Think about this in regards to your children. Think about how you are interacting with each child individually and what it is doing to each kid. This week I am going to focus on helping you build self confidence in your kids. It doesn’t matter if your child is 3 or 13, it is never too late to start… it may take longer the older they get but it is never too late.
Let’s start with what self confidence is, it is the belief that we each have in our own abilities. It is that inner voice that tells us we should trust ourselves, have faith in our capabilities in our judgements and our choices. In other words it is the little engine that could that sits in our minds saying, “I think I can, I think I can, I know I can.” So how can you foster self confidence?
Tip 1: Appreciate Who They Are
What I mean here is that you should never compare your child to someone else, especially another sibling. While we are all guilty of it at one point or another, I just don’t know that it can be helped, but it can be limited. When you compare your child to another child you are undermining who they are as individuals. We did not come from a cookie cutter, therefore we are each unique and should be celebrated for what us that way not criticized for not being a cookie cutter cut out.
Tip 2: Don’t Undermine Your Child’s Ability
Believe it or not even when you are playing with your child you can be undermining your child. Each time you say, “Let me do that for you,” you are smothering their inner confidence. We learn how to problem solve when we have to figure out a way to make things work. So instead of offering to do it for them because you don’t want them to struggle, instead ask them if there is another way they can see that they could try to accomplish their goal.
Tip 3: Encourage Social Interaction
Socialization is essential for self confidence. This is because we can all sit at home in our own private space and believe we are the king or queen of any given thing, but when we go out into the real world and experience competition is when our self confidence is really tested. Socialization also allows them to explore knew opportunities and help them work on the strengths they have.
Tip 4: Consistency is the Second Best Policy
When a child has strong and familiar boundaries they are more apt to try new experiences and be less fearful of new situations.
Tip 5: It’s All Routine
Along with consistency goes being regular, dependable and consistent. Having a daily routine helps to build confidence.
Tip 6: Introduce New Situations on a Regular Basis
Make an attempt to introduce your child to a new playground, or take them on different walks, or visit different stores. Encourage your child to explore the new environment. Go to a see a basketball game, or a play or a movie at a new theatre.
Tip 7: Explain, Educate, Talk, Listen, Encourage, Praise, Support and Cheer On
Talk to your kids about your own feelings, your own fears, dreams and hopes. This will help encourage your child to talk about their feelings. Don’t push your child away when they are trying to talk to you about these things. Take the time to listen to them. Look at them when they are talking to you. Make a habit of telling them one positive thing about who they are every night when you put them to bed. Tell them something that you appreciate that they did. “I really liked the way you helped your sister with the dishes after dinner.”
The biggest investment you have ever made is that child you helped bring into the world. Take the time to help them become the amazing adult they are destined to be. They can’t do it without you!!
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience. As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!
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