Every parent wants to raise a confident child. One who is independent, who approaches new challenges with enthusiasm and who is proud of their accomplishments. A confident child is a child with high self-esteem, an individual who values and likes themselves.
The key to raising a confident child is to ensure that your child is strong in self-belief. Your child's self-esteem drives his behavior. If a child has high self-esteem, he will behave in ways which make him value and like himself even more.
Children who have low self-esteem tend to act in ways which confirm that they are no good and it will take much effort to convince them that they can do better!
Generally, you can help to enhance your child's self-esteem by helping them attain feelings of self-satisfaction. This can be done through fulfilling the 4 conditions of connectivity, uniqueness, power and role modelling.
A sense of connectivity refers to a child's feeling that he/she is connected to some thing or someone. Your child needs to know that something or someone important belongs to him, for example, mamma and papa. He also needs to know that the people and things that he is connected to are regarded highly by others. Helping your child feel connected to his/her own body and teaching them to trust their body to work for them is also important when you are trying to establish your child's self-esteem.
What You Can Do:
- Show affection through physical contact and positive facial expressions
- Tell your child in words that you feel good about them
- Praise specifically, for example, "Papa likes it when you talk nicely to your brother."
- Help your child understand the consequences of their behavior, especially when you see their positive behavior having a good effect on others around them
- Share your feelings, your interests, hobbies, activities and family experiences with your child
- Listen to your children without judging them all the time
- Do something for your child that acknowledges their special needs or interests, for instance, letting them attend art classes when they express interest
Having plenty of opportunities to be creative allows your child to learn to enjoy being different, enhances their sense of uniqueness and self-respect. A sense of uniqueness means that a child needs to feel special and know that others think that he/she is special too.
What You Can Do:
- Encourage your child to express ideas that may be different from your own
- Point out to your child how special he/she is
- Allow your child to do things in his/her own way as much as possible and increase opportunities for your children to express themselves creatively
- Avoid ridiculing or shaming your child
- Help your child find acceptable ways to express themselves. For instance, let them know drawing on the wall is not acceptable but they can always use the blackboard
Help your child feel like they have an influence on what happens in their life. To ensure that your child would feel comfortable when fulfilling their responsibilities, it would help if they know how to make decisions, solve problems and know how to deal with pressure and stress so as not to lose self-control. If your child believes that he/she can usually do what he sets out to do and is in charge of important things in his/her own life, he will achieve a good sense of power.
What You Can Do:
- Educate your child on issues of personal responsibility. For instance, when your child is angry, let him know that he is personally responsible for how he is feeling and his behavior when he is angry.
- When planning activities for your child, provide plenty of choices
- Help your child be aware of how he makes decisions
- Teach your child better ways to solve problems
- Plan activities so that your child has plenty of opportunities to experience success. In particular, when he shows that he can do something well, allow him to do it
- Help your child set limits for himself and others
When your child associates with a role model, they are more confident of their ability to differentiate right from wrong, and good from bad. He/she will be able to make sense of what is going on in their life and will know the standards by which their performances, in the areas of school and home, are evaluated. As a result, they will become conscious of what goals are and work towards them, building up their confidence as their experience broadens. New experiences will no longer be intimidating.
What You Can Do:
- Help your child understand the values they believe in and share your values with your child
- Help your child set reasonable and achievable goals for himself/herself
- Let your child know your expectations, and make performance standards clear
- Be a good role model for your child
- Help your child broaden their range of experience
Confident children usually grow up among people who are themselves confident. Love your child and don't live your life through them. Give them the confidence that they need to explore the world around them and to develop into a unique individual.
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