‘A feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgement.’ That is how our friends at Google define self-confidence. Instilling self confidence in kids is one of our primary roles as parents. It’s our responsibility to provide opportunities for our kids to learn to fill their own buckets. It is not our duty to fill their buckets. Here are a few points that you should consider if you would like to improve on this aspect of your parenting.
Avoid over praising
We all know the benefits of encouraging our kids. In fact, it’s difficult to resist gushing over them for every little thing. At the same time, it’s important for us to be wary of praising our little ones for things that are expected of them. We don’t want our kids to do things for external motivation rather than for internal motivation. Instead of praising your 3-year-old for finishing their dinner, encourage them by letting them know how happy it makes you when they finish their food. However, if your 3 year packs away all their toys without being told, then praise away!
I’ve been trying to practice this at home for a few months and it hasn’t been easy. It’s so difficult to resist praising my kids, especially my little Sante. None the less, we shall soldier on!
Allow them to make their own choices
Before I became I parent I always swore that I would be exceptionally active in my children’s lives. I would like to believe that I am in many ways, but I sometimes wonder whether I’m ‘helicoptering’. The line between appropriate support and helicoptering is extremely thin. If we’re over protective, then we are not giving our children the opportunity to gain confidence from learning to handle things for themselves. Allow them to make their own choices, with your guidance of course. Yes, it is our role to protect them. We also need to ensure that we instil self confidence and resilience in our children.
Nurture Special Interests
It’s important for kids participate in an activity that they are passionate about and have mastered to some degree. Whether it’s playing a musical instrument, cooking or dance, as long as it’s something outside of school. This helps to harness a sense of accomplishment and pride. This sense of accomplishment is extremely important for self-worth and self-esteem. Try to expose your child to a vast variety of activities until they find something that they love.
Shower them will love
Everybody wants to feel needed and wanted. Spend quality time with your children so that they know that they are loved. That feeling of belonging goes a long way when it comes to instilling self confidence.
We are all human; we are not expected to be on the ball at all times. Once in a while it’s okay to lose your cool or over praise, that doesn’t mean all the hard work you’ve done will be lost. We get tired, stressed and overwhelmed at times and that’s okay. If you are feeling overwhelmed, check yourself into a hotel for one night. Use that time to take care of yourself so that you can take care of your loved ones.
Resources: Parenting Beyond Discipline Podcast
Photographer: Dein O’Toole