Confidence is a personality trait that can be hard to define, but you know it when you see it in your child.
A confident child can look within him or herself and feel excited and hopeful about their abilities and what is to come. It is never too early to begin helping your child develop those feelings.
The changing nature of confidence
Instilling confidence in your children starts when they are very young, as they see that proud glow in your eyes when you watch them as they play and interact. But the nature of a child’s confidence should change over time.
It first comes from relying on you, and then as the child grows, confidence comes from looking within and feeling good about himself and his ability to make decisions.
In the beginning, much of a child’s ongoing confidence comes from consistency– the knowledge that parents are always going to be there as a source of support. It doesn’t matter if you can’t be there every minute of your child’s life as your parents may have been. It’s more important for your child to know he or she can trust you to keep your word.
A two-way street
As children get older, you can turn confidence-building into a cooperative exercise, rather than just you reacting to a child’s actions. As a parent, you can be the sounding board to help a child decide if their hobbies are something they would do well in, or just be interested in.
But while you want to encourage your children in their pursuits, you don’t want to invest too much of your own emotions in their success. Be sure your child is doing what interests them, and not what you want them to be interested in.
Learning from disappointments
Helping your child build confidence also means letting her fail sometimes. If your child wants to do something that you know she’s not as talented at, you need to be willing to step back and let the child come to that realization.
Learning to face and survive disappointment, and knowing that you can come back from that and continue on, is just as much a part of building long-term confidence as achieving success is. It can be easy for a child to become over-confident, which can make failing even more devastating.
4 ways to help build confidence
- Spend time on quality, one-on-one play when your child is young.
- Offer your child opportunities to try a variety of activities.
- Separate your own emotions from your child’s successes and failures.
- Support your child whether he or she succeeds or fails.