Have you ever noticed the different behaviors of children in a room? Why is it that some children act like they can conquer the world, while others are nervous about taking the next step? Answer: self-confidence and self-esteem.
Self-confidence and self-esteem shape who we are. They drive how we behave and interact with the world. They establish one’s appetite for risk-taking behavior and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. Self-confidence and self-esteem have a direct correlation to our achievements and ultimately, our happiness and success in life. How can parents instill a strong sense of self-confidence and self-esteem in their children?
Encourage them to try
If your child expresses a desire to participate in a given activity, encourage and support them. Explain to your child that it doesn’t matter if they win or lose, succeed or fail. What matters most is that they try. The act of trying, in and of itself, instills self-confidence. It promotes risk-taking behavior which helps them rise above their fears. The more children engage in activities outside of their comfort zone, the more skills and self-confidence they acquire, and the more likely they will do it again in the future. It’s important that parents don’t push children to participate in activities in which the child has no interest because if they fail, it could reinforce their original thought that they should not have tried to begin with. This could also have a longer-lasting consequence in that it might make them fearful about stretching outside of their comfort zone again.
Support but don’t enable
Self-confidence is gained through achievement. The work performed to achieve the goal or result must be performed by the child and not the parent. If a parent does all the work to achieve the child’s goal, the child will not gain much self-confidence, even if success is achieved. Therefore, it is important for parents to support, and not enable, their children. Parents should coach and advise, but not perform the activities for, or on behalf of, their child.
Teach problem-solving skills
Every one of us will experience obstacles and challenges in their lives. The extent to which a person believes that they can overcome obstacles is a manifestation of their self-confidence. Those with little self-confidence are overwhelmed easily and feel defeated quickly. Those with high self-confidence view obstacles as a nuisance or just a little bump in the road. At an early age, show your child how to problem solve by helping them think of alternatives when their original plan (plan “A”) goes off course. Help them identify an alternative Plan “B,” and teach them how they can identify more options that could be just as good, or if not better, than the original plan. A person’s problem solving ability has a direct correlation to his/her self-confidence because they inherently believe they can overcome challenge. Half of doing anything is believing that you can.
Develop high self-esteem
Self-esteem is different from self-confidence and many people get them confused or use them interchangeably. Self-esteem is how a person views themselves; it is a measure of self-worth. It is the opinion you hold of yourself and how you value yourself. Self-confidence, on the other hand, is your ability, willingness, or belief that you can accomplish a particular thing or carry out a certain task or behavior. Self-esteem and self-confidence feed off each other. The more self-confidence one has, the greater likelihood of reaching beyond one’s comfort zone thereby expanding skillsets, giving rise to accomplishments that ultimately supercharge one’s ego. Self-esteem can be cultivated by showing or telling your child how much you value their opinion, beliefs, and who they are as a person. By emphasizing their strengths and talents, you will make your child feel special and this increases self-esteem and self-worth.
Love, love, love
The most important thing that can build self-confidence and self-esteem in children is to show them love. Love bolsters both self-confidence and self-esteem since it acts like both a safety net (if they fail) and a cheering section, encouraging them to succeed. Children are more apt to go outside of their comfort zone or engage in risk-taking behavior when they know they have their parent’s support and unconditional love. Show them love by giving your time, attention, and support. Tell them you love them – no matter how old they are. Hug. There’s no greater way to express love to a child than through a big bear hug!
Would You Still Love Me If… instills self-confidence and self-esteem in children by showing them that all things are possible when they believe in themselves.