Our children have a lot of social pressure on them. When we focus on building confidence in ourselves, we model that behavior to our children. Being a confident person helps you achieve goals, persevere through challenges and be a thought leader. What better gift can you give your kids than being a positive influence on them? It can give them the building blocks of expecting good things to happen in their lives.
Teaching your children how to be confident gives them a helpful tool to navigate situations in which they need to make good decisions. Those who feel comfortable making good decisions feel more secure about working with difficult challenges no matter what they are. Being confident in your decisions is a great skill to teach your children.
Think about these scenarios. I’ve suggested something you might say/do to instill in your child the value of using a positive attitude while figuring out how to work with life’s unpredictable challenges.
- Say/do things so your child sees the ability part of what he/she did or might do. Using a positive attitude about what was achieved or what could be possible helps children develop an empowered sense of self.
- Be a supportive, inspiring, motivating, and friendly parent. This shows your child he/she is wanted. When children feel wanted by their parents, this builds high self-esteem and promotes feeling secure.
- Be a positive influence. Motivating, supportive, inspiring thoughts and actions encourage your child to treat other people the way you’ve treated your children. All these parental attitudes/actions are important qualities in effective leaders and problem solvers. Those who can effectively excel in life feel truly happy and go on to contribute a lot to the world.
- If faced with situations like the following, play the role of coach. Celebrate what your child did accomplish.
- Remember that developing skills is a step-by-step process. Acknowledge that your child did enjoy some level of success in some step of the process of his/her life experience.
- Do NOT focus on what wasn’t accomplished. Speaking hypercritically about what was not achieved is not helpful criticism that inspires or motivates. It discourages children from working with their mistakes. Unfairly judging as inept a child’s inexperience crushes self-esteem. Say or do something so your child feels empowered, respected and confident about the steps he/she did master or needs to build for future success.
Confidence-Building Scenarios for Your Children
Your 5-year-old doesn’t want to tie his own shoes. He knows how to make the two loops, but when he twists them together and pulls, the knot is loose. He feels frustrated and wants someone else to tie his shoes.
What Mom might say and do: Mom might hug him and hold him close before patiently saying, “I know you feel upset. Learning to tie your shoes is something new. Here, sit in my lap and let’s work on this part together.” Even if he doesn’t want to do it right then, Mom can simply put the laces in her son’s hands. Then, she can make the loops and cross the laces into a knot. Once her son is calmer, she might say, “There! We did it. Later, we’ll work on this again. Will you show me your big muscles? Wow! You’re strong! Hey, let’s look at some pictures in a book for a little while. We can get back to shoe tying later.”
What Dad might say and do: “I know you feel upset. But let’s take a breath and figure this out together. You can make the loops, right? Tying shoes is a step by step process. You’ve got the loop crossing part down. You’re the man! Hey, let’s thumb wrestle for a minute. You be Superman and I’ll be Batman. Let’s see who wins. We can get back to shoe tying after we see who the world’s greatest thumb wrestler is. Ready, go!”
When both parents say encouraging things to their children, it reduces stress for everyone and teaches your little ones to think in empowering ways. Feeling empowered, your children think positively about life. It also encourages them to take chances.
All life is made up of risks. Being an uplifting, caring, respectful coach, your child naturally embraces success. When success seems natural to your child, he or she becomes a leader that feels secure enough to inspire and motivate others.
After a spill while learning how to ride a bike, your 5-year-old no longer wants to get on his bike again. He feels worried he may take a spill again. If your child has developed the habit of worrying, that is typically learned behavior. See if you can identify from where he learned the habit and encourage him to focus on what he can do.
Special note: As appropriate, do not create a mental cripple of your child by giving him an excuse to avoid building his life skills. But also use your good judgment. A child filled with worry and fear may be evidence of a deeper issue going on. It could be at school, at playtime or something going on at home. If your child needs professional counseling, do not deny your child of that help either.
What Mom might say and do: “When you ride a bike, you can really go places. I know you fell down with your bike. The first time I tried to ride a bike, the same thing happened. It happens to almost everyone. But making your mind up to get back on helps you have a super power! You can use that super power throughout life. Do you like going on bicycle-riding adventures with your friends? Let’s see if we can figure out together how to ride a bike.”
What Dad might say and do: “Anything valuable in life is worth learning how to do it well. Let’s work on this together. Teamwork!”
Help your child see the benefits of facing his challenges to reasonably cope with them. If you have been talking about how dangerous bicycle riding is, you may inadvertently be instilling worry in him. Though it may be challenging, bite your lip about saying it’s too hard for him to do. Give him credit for how far he’s come in the step-by-step process of learning this skill.
Your 12-year-old daughter comes to you asking if you think she looks fat.
What Mom might say: “Hmm, that’s an interesting question. What do you think?”
What Dad might say: “Well, what exactly does fat mean to you?”
In the above scenario, you as parents are asking your child to think through her opinions about her self-image. Children concerned about their image may show low self-esteem. Those with low self-esteem may need stress management techniques. To help children manage their stress of a disappointing self-image, encourage them to talk to you. If they trust you to just listen without judging or being unfairly critical, this is a first step in opening up and keeping open communication.