How-To effectively build self confidence in your kid

Build self confidence in your kid: Have you ever noticed that there are times you feel that a project can be done very well by a kid. But when you approach the kid, they are shy and resistive about it and give all sorts of excuses.

And at the same time another kid who is just an average in it pops up voluntarily and offers to help with the task.

In a way I think I just wrote about my second son and my first one. My second one is multi talents be it in drawing or music or mechanics but most of the competitions or tasks is taken up by my first son. To the extent that he participated in floral decoration along with his classmates when I know for sure he can differentiate between a rose and a Lilly.

What causes these differences? The main thing that is in play is the difference in the levels of self confidence between my two sons.

Topics covered in this blog

What is self confidence

Self-confidence is a skill. Like any other skill it can be learnt and practiced. You can build self confidence in your kid.  It is more a perception of one’s own skills and abilities. It basically is the attitude that one carries about their own skills and their own abilities.

For example, highly skilled people with low self confidence, might have less trust in their own ability. Then a person with average skill but higher self confidence who might still go ahead and attempt to place their trust in their skill and do the job. Hence the description that self confidence is a perception. They are not based on actual facts. They can be flawed. 

A person can be confident in one and not in the other. E.g. Someone may feel confident singing in front of an audience but lacks the confidence in dancing,

Why does one need self confidence

Let me list down the common traits of self-confident person and one with a low self confidence. This way you will understand for yourself why it is important to build self confidence in your kid.

10 Common traits of a self-confident person 

  1.  A self-confident person has a better control of their life.
  2. They are well aware of their strengths and their weaknesses. That helps them to manoeuvre the field effectively.
  3. Have an overall positive outlook of life. 
  4. They are able to handle stress and challenges better. 
  5. With confidence in their ability and knowledge on their strengths and weaknesses they are able to be assertive in their communication.
  6. They are able to trust in their own abilities and their skills to face a challenge or complete a task at hand.
  7. They can receive and are able to handle criticism constructively.
  8. A self-confident person is happier, has better health, better social circles than one without.
  9. They are more motivated and energetic to seek and achieve goals. 
  10. A self-confident person is able to set realistic expectations and goals.

Our related article is How-To develop Positive Thinking in your teenager and How-To Build HOPE in your Teenager

10 Common traits of person with low self-confident

  1. They have more self-doubt. On their skills and abilities.
  2. They are not confident about their strengths and have a magnified sense of their weakness.
  3. A person with low self-confidence is not assertive in their communication due to their self-doubt in their abilities.
  4.  They can be passive and more submissive.
  5. Shy away from taking a lead or leadership roles.
  6. Tends to be less happy than a confident person. 
  7. Has an overall sense of distrust or difficulty trusting people.
  8. Tries to avoid or shy away from commitments and goals as they believe they may not be able to pull it though to success.
  9. Is more stressed and ill equipped to face challenges.
  10. Can nurture the feeling of being inferior to others. And can be very sensitive to criticism. 

Our related articles are teaching kid responsibility and How-to find out if your teenager is battling depression?.

 5 Common Reasons for low- self confidence

Some of the common reasons for low self confidence are listed below…

  1. When a kid grows in an unsupportive environment.
  2. Once bitten twice shy. Means that a kid has faced some failures in life and so they start doubting their ability.
  3. When the environment the kid has grown in is very critical to mistakes and shortcomings. They go through criticism and they start fearing failure.
  4. When a support system is taken off from the child. It can be due to death or separation or moving from one place to another. The child can have a pang of low self confidence due to the uncertainty the situation has posed for the child. 
  5. They were pegged against high expectations or perfectionism that they land up judging themselves harshly when they are not able to live up to these expectations. 
Child study at home . Girl sitting on a table. Kid in a class.

15 Ways to build self confidence in your kid

As self confidence is a skill that needs to be developed. As parents you play an important role in help build self confidence in your kid.

  1. Recognise your kid’s strength and make your kid aware of the same. Tell them what you feel their strengths are. That will reinforce their belief in their strength. 
  2. Praise them for their efforts when they deserve it. Be specific on your praise. Do not overdo praise that they feel they are entitled or God’s gift to mankind. Praise needs to be given for intent and effort also not just for the successful outcome. 
  3. Be empathetic when they fail. This will cushion the blow a bit. But make sure that they stand up on their own. Don’t reach out under the name of helping solve the issue for them. 
  4. Your kid might be diligent and hardworking. Sometimes these very characters can cause issues by burning them out or getting them in loops. Teach them to take a pause. Make sure you give a pause when you find your kid getting overwhelmed. So, they can approach the issue with renewed strength and a fresh pair of eyes. 
  5. Teach them to bury the past. And you also don’t bring it up. Help them to move past negative life experience. Do make them believe that the past failures are stepping stones and they need to learn from their mistake and not get stuck in it. 
  6. Once assigned a task, allow them to make their own decisions. Whether it is efficient or not is immaterial as long as they make their own decisions and act on them in the quest to solve the problem in hand. Their confidence will take a huge boost if they do things on their own and succeed. 
  7. Continuing with the above point. Allow them to face consequences of their actions. That way they see the full cycle and become aware of it. It helps them build courage to face the consequences and when they overcome it, they would have learnt valuable lessons and be more confident. You might like our article 11 Practical ways to help your child face challenges
  8. Review your parenting style. Do a self-assessment on what our parenting style is and how it can impact our kid’s self confidence. Are we forgiving or very critical about failures? Is our disciplining strategy very restrictive or enabling? Are we being a helicopter parent or a nurturing parent? Etc. 
  9. Challenge their perceptions if you feel they have a negative outlook about themself or the skills and abilities they possess. Show them instances where they have excelled using the same skills or give them a gently nudge to help them use the skills they have doubts on and succeed. 
  10. Teach them to be assertive. Help them express their feelings, beliefs and needs to you directly and respectfully. Help them to accept challenges and also know when to say NO. 
  11. Ask for help: Let them know that it is not weak to ask others for help. If they are struggling or need deeper insights, they can always seek help and reach out to people they know to help them with it. They always need not try and figure things out themselves. In the same way teach them to be open to helping others also when they can. 
  12. Help you kid to confront their fears. Sometimes the fear of failure can prevent them from trying out. Or it can be their fear of not able to do it well like an adult etc. Understand the fears your little one is having and help them to confront it and try.  When they do it and succeed you can use it as a good example of positive reinforcement. 
  13. Tell your kids stories. Stories are an amazing way to build motivation and confidence in your kid. It can be stories from your own life to general motivation stories of courage and bravery and self confidence. They will be a good guiding light for your child to follow. You might like our article Storytelling to kids – Popular Trend these day  
  14. Help them set clear goals that way they are not looped in knots and paralysed. When you give the clear expectations and help them set achievable goals it gives them a direction and path to follow and progress. Act the role of facilitator so they can come up with the goals on their own and you facilitated it. 
  15. Cut off from negative people is a very important thing you need to teach your kid. So that their inner voice is not filled with the naysayers or the negativity such people bring in. Teach your kid to block these noises out and go by instinct and gut. You might like our article How-To get rid of your Teen’s Toxic Friendship 

6 simple techniques used to boost self confidence

Below are few of the tactical things that you can teach your kids to do to boost their self-confidence. They are very simple and practical techniques that can be practiced at any given point of time

Posture:   

Teach your child to stand upright, straight, shoulders up, chin up this shows a confident posture. Teach them to have a brisk and study walk. Even things like the way they sit, the way they shake hands and the way they talk to another person looking into their eyes all add up to the feeling of being a confident person. 

Tell them to be mindful of their posture and get themselves up to a posture that is confident whenever they are feeling a little bit low on their confidence. They can do this simple technique before they go into a stressful situation like an exam or a competition or even when they are meeting up and talking with elders or authorities. 

Hygiene

Being fresh, neat and presentable is a good boost to anyone’s confidence. Teach the basics of hygiene protocols they need to follow. 

Tell them how appearance and presentability matters in making an impression. How the way they dress up, neat pressed cloths make a lot of difference than a shabby look. A sweet pleasant-smelling fragrance is far better than body order. Well-groomed hair, nails are all part of the hygiene that makes one feel and appear confident. It helps to build self confidence in your kid.

Read our related article How to teach kids Personal Hygiene? And When? and How-To Teach Good Manners to Your Kids?

Exercise

Exercise helps in releasing the needed endorphins that helps in making the person feel good about themselves. A positive outlook of life and about themselves make a person confident. It makes them motivated to face the challenges that are thrown at them. So, teach your child to exercise regularly, go in for a walk or a cycle ride whenever they find the confidence level is a little bit low. 

20 Astonishing benefits of sunlight for kids is an interesting article to read to gain more insights.

Visualize

This is a very powerful technique that is used pretty often with my kids. When your child learns to visualise the outcome of what they are doing they will be more confident and clearer on the steps to take to get the outcome and helps to build self confidence in your kid. 

Because in their visualisation role play, they have done the task and have already tasted success and know what it looks like and feels like. Train your child to visualise the outcome which will give them the needed fuel to continue to strive towards the outcome.

Replace words

You need to make your child aware of the words that they are using which are blocking to their confidence. 

Be it words like “I can’t do it”, “I don’t know how to do it”. Once you make your child aware of it, teach them how to replace these words with words like “how can I do it” or “I will learn how to do it”.

Just this simple technique of replacing the words they tell to themselves goes a long way in trying to give them the needed insight to look at the problem differently and thereby boosting their confidence and enabling success in stock 

Read our trending article words that you speak.

Positive affirmation and Positive self-talk

Positive affirmation and positive self-talk are a good way to boost once confidence. Some of the few phrases that a child can use to talk to themselves are listed below.  

Teach your child these phrases so that they can repeat it to themselves whenever they have a pang of doubt. Also, you try to use these phrases as much as you can in your conversation with your child so that your child believes the same about themselves. 

Few Positive self-talk and positive affirmation phrases 

Below are few positive self-talk phrases that your kid can use to talk to themself when they are low on confidence. These self-talks will immensely boost and build self confidence in your kid. My elder son is a big fan of this.

  1. I will do it, I can do it.
  2. I love challenges and I will work hard to succeed.
  3. One step at a time. One more step to take. 
  4. I won’t quit, I won’t give up
  5. I will try again. One more time.
  6. Have learnt from my last mistakes, this time I will get it right.
  7. I am a clever person
  8. I will win in this.
  9. Everyone loves me. I am a nice human.
  10. I am brave and courageous.
  11. Today I feel good.
  12. I am a kind and loving person
  13. Today I am going to do very well
  14. I am smart and very clever. 
  15. I am confident and I trust myself. 

15 Things that can kill and destroy confidence in a child

While there are many things that you can do to build self confidence in your kid. There are also many things that we do intentionally or unintentionally that does not build self confidence in your kid but destroy or kill it. I have listed below few which you can take cognizance of and self-evaluate.

  • Criticism:

Ensure that you are not very critical with your kid when they make a mistake. Your criticism might lead your child to start fearing failure. This will stop them from taking the risk of trying out new things. 

  • Comparison:

One of the sure ways to shake anyone’s confidence is to compare them with others. Be it siblings or neighbours’ kids or their own friends. No good comes out of comparing your child with others. Each one is unique in their strengths, their abilities and the environment in which they grow up.

  • High expectations:

Setting high expectations which are unrealistic can make your kid try really hard and eventually fail in their quest. This failure will not only drain all their energy but also the confidence that they have on their ability. When they are constantly subjected to such high and unrealistic expectations and with frequent failures slowly their confidence will erode and self-doubt starts creeping in. 

  • Perfectionist attitude:

This is also somehow connected to a realistic Expectations. If you are a perfectionist and expect nothing but perfection. Even the success that your child achieves might get lost on you because it was not done perfectly. And you’ll end up finding fault in the outcome and ultimately even the success will leave a sour taste in their mouth. The child will increasingly become and sure of themselves and doubt if they are doing it to the perfect standard that is expected of them 

  • Being judgemental:

Being very judgemental about all that they are doing will only stop them from doing it. They will show resistance to anything because they know they will be judged for the outcome and it is not a pleasant experience. 

  • Tough love:

Some believe that tough love makes a child strong. I personally believe that making a child seek and expect love only on fulfilling certain conditions is almost cruel. Withholding love and showering love only when conditions are met is really not what one calls unconditional love. It will strip away the security and trust that your child needs from you.

  • Inconsistent behaviour:

Don’t display inconsistent behaviour. One time you are ok if your kid wins at any cost. And the other time you go all high and mighty and talk about ethics and standards etc. Inconsistent behaviour makes anyone jittery and is very confusing for a kid. 

  • Emotional dramas:

Emotional drama will drain any person out. All the screaming or yelling or crying or nagging will get you nowhere when it comes to trying and help boost your kid’s self confidence. They will only get caught in the rollercoaster and might even start mimicking your behaviours. 

  • Helping them out:

You jump at every opportunity to help and lift them out of trouble. Even if they have not asked you for it. Your problem solves for them and bail them away. You might believe that you love them by helping them but in reality, you are only stunting their growth by bailing them out every time. And in the process training them to come and dump their problems on you and make you responsible to help them out. 

  • Shielding or over protecting:

By shielding and over protecting your child you are making them risk averse. Stopping their exposure and stunting their growth. You are not letting them face different situations and gain more experiences. 

  • Protecting them from their emotions:

When we try to protect our kids from feeling their emotions and act on it, we stunt their growth. They need to learn to deal with their emotions and frustrations and overcome it.

  • Controlling their lives:

Kids need to know how to do things themselves. That is part of training them to be independent. When we micro manage and control their lives, they will be missing out on learning a few vital skills that are needed for independence. A dependent kid is less confident to venture out and do things. 

  • Negative discipline techniques:

Always punishment is not an effective way to build confidence. The fear of the punishment will paralyse your kid and they will be very varying to take any new project or responsibility.  

  • Sympathise with victim mindset:

Sometimes kids can start a blame game or fail to gain sympathy. Be careful not to fall for this because you will be setting your child to learn a behaviour that calls for an easy way out and not persevere. 

  • Unforgiving:

Being unforgiving and pulling up incidents from the past that were put to rest. And linking them to current incidents will only make the kid be more cautious and also can make them feel less confident to do the work at hand.

Note to parents – A word of caution – Disadvantages of self confidence

A word of caution to all parents as you try to build self confidence in your kid. When you try to encourage children by over indulging in praise and appreciation. It sure will help them in boosting their self-confidence. At the same time, it is shown to contribute less to motivation and goal-directed behaviour (research by Dweck, 2007).

It also shows that boosting self confidence can boost narcissism and ambitions. So, the best thing we as parents can do is to continue to help our kids develop self confidence but do it in a cautious and measured manner and not overdo it.

Ensure that you ground your children in reality and that they can achieve what they set out to archives if they work hard and really head consistently. Things would not just fall into their lap just because they feel confident. 

Remember when you shield and protect your kids from problems and pains. You are actually shielding them from growth. 

So, as they face the complex and changing world allow them to dig deep into their resources and learn for themself to combat it and be kind on themself if they tried their best and failed. 

Conclusion

The thing about self confidence you need to be aware of as you try to build self confidence in your kid is that it waxes and wanes. It is a perception and may not be the reality. One can be confident on one thing and low on confidence on the other. 

It is a skill and it takes work to build, develop and maintain. And every one is attacked by the self-doubt monster from time to time. However, it is what we chose to believe in these moments that matters. 

As parents we play a vital role in building our kids self confidence. However, to do so it is important that we look into our own parenting style to assess if it is being detrimental to our kid’s confidence and staking ability or enabling it. It is also our outlook on failure goes a long way in the way our kids feel and approach failure. 

In short, Self confidence is a skill and can be developed and we will do good if we make a note of this and strive to develop it in our kids by starting young and being consistent. 

God Bless!!

Thabitha David

Mother, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Friend. She is a MBA Graduate specialized in Human Resources. She is a very proud mother of 3 Kids. (2 Teens & 1 Tween). She is a keen Observer of Life and is a blogger. She writes these articles based on her experience (Success and Failures). She does this with hope to help and ease the pain of at-least one parent as they face the challenges of parenting. Read more from the About Us Page

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1 Response

  1. Tanner Zondlo says:

    i like this outstanding post

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