It can be really tough and frustrating to watch your child struggle when they’re doing something new or challenging and eventually give up because they don’t believe in themselves.
This is usually accompanied by: “I never get it right”, “I can’t do it” or “I’m not good enough!”.
Luckily, there are a number of actions that you can take as a parent to help boost your child’s confidence. Improved confidence will empower them to give things a go and conquer life’s inevitable ups and downs. That, in turn, leads to more of that important sense of achievement and success which boosts their confidence even more. A lovely positive cycle to get into!
What does having confidence actually mean?
“Self confidence is feeling good about yourself and your capabilities”.
So if you’re a self confident person, it simply means that you feel good about who you are, and you also feel good about your ability to achieve the outcome or goal you want.
Having that sense of “I can do it” is so important when it comes to tackling new and/or challenging situations. When I work with clients who are struggling with a goal, I point them to their ‘success history’ – times in the past when they did achieve what they set out to do or when they overcame a situation they also found challenging. Then we use the memories and knowledge about their ability to achieve past successes to remind them that they are definitely capable. When they’re feeling more confident I focus them on achieving their current goal. As a parent, you can coach your child in the same way.
What can I do as a parent to help my child’s self confidence?
Below are three easy tips you can follow as a parent to boost your child’s confidence. I use these with parents who attend my positive parenting seminars and they really work for children of all ages!
- Ask them to remember specific situations when they overcame a problem in the past or they solved a problem. It’s a good idea to get them to come up with this list when they’re feeling good rather than at the time they are struggling with a challenge and/or feeling stressed. If they’re too young, write it down for them so you can remind them of it when they need it most. If they can’t think of anything guide them by asking them to remember:
- Compliments they received from other people
- Situations when they did something nice for someone else
- Times when they had a great time interacting with their friends
- Positive comments written on their report cards
- Positive comments from their friends or family
- Trophies or awards they have received
- What they really enjoy doing on the weekends or holidays
- Identifying overall strengths in your child. Our strengths are things we are good at AND we love doing. They give us energy and a buzz. Children (and adults) can gain so much confidence through letting go of their self-stories about who they are not, and instead realising the best of who they are.
Take some time to write down 4 of your child’s strengths. Examples of strengths are: kind, good problem solver, patient, funny, enjoys learning, affectionate, supportive, adventurous etc. Over the next week observe your child and write down at least 4 more. For older children, you can also ask them what they feel their strengths are and add them to the list.
(If you’d like to get a deeper understanding as a parent about your own strengths, I highly recommend you complete the Realise2 Strengths test, it can be quite illuminating! It costs around $37.)
- Give specific positive encouragement and feedback. Notice your child when they deal well with a problem or use their strengths. Make sure you give them specific positive feedback and state exactly what you like e.g: “I like the way you asked your friend to take the first turn and you waited until it was your turn. You were so patient”. Or “I’m so impressed that you didn’t lose your cool and get angry when you couldn’t do that job. You just kept at it until you’d figured it out. Great perseverance”.
What do you do to help boost your children’s confidence? Share your tip in the comments below.
Anky Balfoort is an experienced positive parenting trainer and life coach with over 10 years’ experience and 15 positive parenting, positive psychology and life coaching related qualifications. She has helped many families and individuals achieve positive outcomes in life including improved family harmony and relationships, work/life balance, confidence and self-esteem. For more info visit: www.cohesivecoaching.