Self-confidence is one of those character traits that ensures a child will develop into an emotionally healthy, assertive adult. However, because your children attend school with their peers, they're exposed to numerous incidents of peer pressure every day, which can challenge their self-confidence. So, what's a parent to do?
Although some of these incidents at school have positive effects on your child's psyche, the child who gets a healthy boost of self-confidence at home will fare far better when it comes to handling the influences of peers.
These strategies can help you cultivate self-confidence in your child:
1. Allow children to do tasks and duties themselves. Even though you might prefer to follow along behind your child as he makes his bed, straightening the off-center pillows and fixing the bedspread that's draping on the floor on one side, it's important for your child to feel he performed well in a task you assigned.
* Stifle your internal urges to correct everything. Your child stands to benefit when you allow him to do his very best at an assigned job.
2. Give praise at every possible moment it's earned. One of the most empowering things you'll ever do as a parent is using your voice to let your child know when he's doing a good job. Nothing will build his pride and confidence better than hearing from a parent that he's performing up to par. Make it a point to notice your child's good deeds.
3. Be interested. Although this one sounds easy, it's amazing to see how many parents find themselves so busy taking care of work and home that they don't have any energy left for the kids.
* Each day, take time to show an interest in what each of your kids are involved in. Whether they're reading a series of books or playing tee-ball down at the local park, show sincere regard in what your kids are doing.
* When you do, your kids feel important and as if they matter to the world. You'll bolster self-confidence simply by taking an interest in your child.
4. Help kids identify feelings. Encourage children to verbally label and express their own feelings, like happiness, fear and even anger. Then, accept those feelings with unconditional positivity.
* Your kids have a right to their feelings. How you respond and react when they show feelings demonstrates to them whether they are entitled to their feelings.
* When kids feel their feelings are valid and important, they learn to listen to their gut and have confidence to go against the tide of peer pressure.
5. Ignore minor, annoying behaviors. This suggestion is a tough one to follow. After all, isn't it your job to correct your children's behaviors?
* If your goal is to suppress or extinguish less-than-desirable actions and build confidence at the same time, it's best to pay no attention to those actions.
* When kids' actions are worthy of your attention, provide a positive response. Otherwise, do nothing. You'll be pleasantly surprised how quickly an annoying behavior fizzles out. And your child's confidence will be unaffected by your (lack of a) response.
* After all, a child would much rather receive confidence-building attention, even if it requires good behavior.
6. Refrain from criticizing your child. As a loving parent, make the decision that there's simply no room for criticism in your home. This way, everyone in the house will thrive. Children are works in progress (as are we all). Thus, mistakes will be made.
* Allow kids to learn from their errors and re-adjust behaviors for the future. Letting children learn from their own mistakes and then decide to "do better" on their own is an incredibly effective confidence-builder for your kids.
7. Use eye contact and proper voice tones. When talking to your child, show him he's worth your time and effort. Stop what you're doing and look him in the eye. Use non-threatening voice tones. When you speak to your children with attention and respect, their confidence soars.
Practice these methods of building self-confidence in your child. If you do, he'll grow into a mature, assertive adult that you'll be proud of.