The secret to raising confident children
I truly believe that confidence is everything in life. Having confidence is how we live life to the fullest and reach our potential. I’ve realised through my years of talking to so many parenting experts just how important it is that we get those building blocks in place as early as possible so that we can raise confident children.
For confident children, situations are never hopeless, just problems to be solved. They worry less about the opinions of others, and are less likely to respond to peer or media pressure. Confident children are social magnets. They are popular and fun to be around.
When confidence is such a desirable asset and can make a difference to future outcomes in life, how can parents raise confident children and develop their self-belief ? Today we have Pat Guy – author and education specialist – to show us parents the way.
1. Children need adults’ time and attention
‘Families are the best schools for the development of character. When children are nurtured in loving, caring homes, they have the best possible start in life.’ (Sir Anthony Seldon)
To raise confident children, parents need to be involved in their children’s lives and spend time with them. When children feel listened to, appreciated and understood, they will see themselves as being interesting individuals and worthy of the respect of others.
Children learn through imitating the behaviour of adults.
(I can speak in voices ….. and most of them are my mother’s)
They will learn from their parents about how adults deal with disappointment, success, anxiety, failure and social interactions.
2.To raise confident children, demonstrate confidence in them
Show the children that you believe they are capable of tackling a task. Provide them with opportunities to do things independently. Give lots of encouragement and specific praise; praising effort as well as talent.
Be open when you struggle with something to show the child that difficulties and problem-solving are part of everyday life. Use such phrases as: ‘Oh well, I’ll have to have another go.’ ‘Maybe next time.’ ‘Nothing is going to be perfect first time. I’ll just try again.’
Help the child to work out how to do things, particularly with school activities. How to revise, how to learn spellings, how to organise themselves, how to learn a poem, and so on. If a child feels they have the skills necessary to tackle tasks, their confidence will increase.
3. Remember that children are all individuals with their own interests and rates of development
Comparisons to siblings or peers are unpleasant. Just because an older brother walked, talked and took his GCSEs at 8 months / 14 months / nine years of age, it does not mean his siblings will. Life is not a race: all children develop in their own time.
Allow the children plenty of opportunities to play and mess about. Encourage them to do more of what they enjoy, as well as anything they are good at: caring for pets, drawing cartoons, mending things, playing a musical instrument, skateboarding, gardening. Practice will improve their performance in these areas, and have a positive knock-on effect on their confidence.
4. Emphasise the importance of good social skills and empathy towards others
Turn the child’s focus outwards and away from themselves. Supporting others within their immediate social circle will help the child to feel confident in their own ability: being considerate towards neighbours, walking the family dog, helping older or younger members of the family, and being a loyal friend. A child’s self-esteem will be boosted by positive feedback for thoughtful behaviour.
Encourage the children to participate in their school community and to join any school group that interest them: becoming a member of the School Council, a coach for junior sports teams, a Library monitor, an active participant in a school club, perhaps: Dungeons and Dragons, Drama, Lego, Conservation or the Charity Committee. When a child’s contribution is valued by others, they will value themselves. (Hint: for children who find relationships with peers of their age difficult, younger children can provide them with an unfaltering supply of admiration and approval.)
Encourage the children to join groups within the wider community: sports clubs, drama and dance groups, Brownies, choirs, bands, amateur dramatics or model aeroplane clubs. When a child enjoys activities outside their family and school, they will get positive feedback from a wider range of people. Well-developed talents and competences will always be a confidence booster for any child.
Read more about how you can raise confident children in ‘Raising Confident Children’ by Pat Guy – available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle edition.
Photo by Thgusstavo Santana from Pexels