You’re raising a child in a very challenging era. Thanks to mobile phones and social media, kids are getting bombarded with messages of what they’re supposed to do, look like and want in life. Comparing themselves to these standards can often lead to doubt about their own. How can you as a parent help?
We compiled a shortlist of the best methods to ensure your child’s confidence. Realise that there are many ways to combat this problem. Perhaps it requires drastic change like a composite veneer for a cracked tooth or in other cases your support is all they need. Consider some of these options to find the best way forward for your child.
Help Them Accomplish Something
One way that humans feel more confident is when we try something new and achieve that goal. This sense of accomplishment can inspire us to try other things too and leave us a with a sense of accomplishment. This process will give your child faith in his or her abilities.
As a parent you can kickstart this process by giving children goals to achieve. Whether it’s small chores around the house or the responsibility of owning a pet, you’re creating learning opportunities. Plan scenarios in which they realise how much they’re capable of.
Of course, make sure the chores you allocate are age-appropriate so they can complete them adequately. You don’t want to make them to doubt themselves by setting them up for failure.
Let Them Make Mistakes
Note that part of the learning process will be to sometimes fail and make mistakes. It’s part of life and confident children have learnt the lesson that failure doesn’t mean the end. You simply need to get up and try again.
For this to happen, you need to step back at times, stop giving advice and allow them to make their own decisions. They also have to pursue their own passions and projects even if you think they may not achieve success. Success may come at the second or third attempt, such as trying out for a sports team. Children need to learn to keep going and experience the results of not giving up.
Consider the Example You’re Setting
Also look inwards when you’re concerned about your child’s self-confidence. Is the example you set helping or hindering his or her confidence levels? For example:
- If you don’t have confidence in yourself, they may think that’s the norm.
- Do you take on chores and new challenges and complete them with a positive attitude?
- Will you sometimes take time to admire your handiwork, so they have an example of how to feel about their own completed tasks?
- Do you display pride in how you look, even though you’re not the most handsome or beautiful in the neighbourhood?
Manage Their Appearance
In your communication with your children, you should make it clear that life can’t be all about looks. It can disappear in a second and doesn’t determine worth as a human being.
Still, it’s also a reality that we all live in a society that does put value on a person’s outside. If there’s a major cause for your child to feel self-conscious, it may do them good to initiate change, especially in an era where bullying is a common occurrence.
Some changes, such as losing weight, can be a learning experience in itself, while also improving health. This is only relevant if the child is truly overweight though.
Other changes, such as fixing broken teeth or getting composite veneers to cover a blemish on a tooth, can be an instant change. These processes remove unnecessary problems in an age where children are already dealing with a lot.
Even helping your child pick a more modern pair of glasses or clothes more suited to their build can boost confidence. And that confidence can help keep them motivated so they achieve more in other areas of their lives.
One change can have a ripple effect and bring about more positive outcomes than you imagine.
The Balance Between Criticism and Praise
Throughout their childhood you’ll be on the sidelines to cheer them on. Of course, you want the best but how is your encouragement and criticism helping them?
For example, you may be so critical all the time that your child feels nothing he or she does is good enough. Your motivation may be that you see potential in them, but too many negative messages will cause them to doubt their abilities entirely. The better approach is to focus on strengths rather than weaknesses.
On the other hand, you may give too much praise. Praising when they know they messed up will sound fake. Also, only praising when they achieve could communicate that good outcomes are the only acceptable option for you. Rather, continually give praise for the effort they put in, rather than the outcome.
Your child will make many choices in his or her life that will determine the outcome of their lives. That doesn’t mean you have no control over their happiness, confidence levels and futures. Your input as a parent will always be part of their legacy, so use these methods and resources to boost self-esteem and help give your child the best possible start in life.