Raising confident children is an art that goes against the parental instinct of fixing every problem that our children face. Through experience and observation, I have learned seven simple ways to raise a confident child who can face the various challenges the world will throw at them. Before I share these tips, let me tell you a relevant story.
A few short months after my husband moved to the U.S. as a young child, he started school. He was anxious to get settled into a new country and to make friends. During his first week, his teacher called on him. She wanted to help the class to get to know him. She asked him his favorite animal, which of course, was a dog.
Then she started to ask him more questions, but his answer remained the same. She quickly realized the only English word he knew was “dog.” When his class realized what was happening, they erupted into laughter. Instantly, this proud little boy started to sink into the ground and every ounce of confidence he had was gone.
He quickly learned how to speak English as best he could and even dropped his Indian accent. He didn’t want anything to set him apart from his class in fear of being made fun of.
If this was your child what would you do? You’d instantly want to swoop in and help them.
What if I told you, that would only hurt them more?
What if I told you there’s something else you should be doing?
Parents instinctively believe it’s their job to make everything okay for their child. If they do that everything will be okay. Their children will go to school, play with their friends, and everything will be fine. However, you can’t be with your child every moment of the day. It’s just not possible.
You can’t be there to fix every problem that surfaces throughout the day. Instead, you should be doing everything in your power to raise a confident child that can go out into the world and solve their own problems.
Give Your Child The Freedom to Make a Mistake
One of the big reasons children are insecure is because of fear. They get scared of making a mistake and instead of trying, they give up. As parents, we can help them by giving them the freedom to make mistakes. When they learn, they can fail and get back up again, they will gain confidence to persevere.
Show Them What Confidence Looks Like
You are the person your child looks at to figure out what they should do. If you walk around all day spewing out non-confidence, your children will follow suit. Be mindful of what you say in front of them. Talk positively about yourself and show them what it looks like to be a confident individual.
It’s easy to get caught up in a glass half-full mentality. Life starts to take its toll and we become less optimistic. Your kids thrive on optimism. Make sure to find the positive in situations together. Create a dialogue with your kids and figure out what you can learn from a situation or why it’s not as bad as you’re thinking.
Encourage Your Child’s Passions
Our kids are bound to become passionate about many different things. One week it may be music and the next it could be computers. Whatever it may be, help them to explore those passions, even if it’s not something you care about. Get them into a specialty class to learn more about it or pick up a fun activity so they can dive into it.
Let Them Help You
Sometimes kids just want to show us how good they are at something. Whether it’s mixing the pancake batter or helping out around the house…it doesn’t matter. Remember it’s okay to just say yes and to let your kids help you. It shows them that you value their help. As they gain the confidence to help you, it will start to give them the push they need to step up and offer the same thing when they aren’t with you.
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Encourage Problem Solving
Instead of doing everything for your kids, let them try to figure it out. If we expect our kids to be able to do something when we’re not there, we have to let them figure out how to solve situations on their own. If parents take a step back to encourage their kids, they will realize they can do it.
Remind Them There’s Nothing They Can do To Lose Your Love
At the end of the day, kids just need to be reminded we’re here for them and we always will be. They need to know without a doubt, there is nothing they can do to lose that love. We will be here for them to pick them up and help them try again.
Whether your child is facing a similar situation as my husband or dealing with something else, remember how important it is to help them gain confidence. Self-confidence will help your children know they can face anything that comes their way.
Brittany Muddamale is the founder of almostindianwife.com. She is the wife and mother of her multiracial family. Together with her husband, she is blending eastern and western culture in her marriage and parenting style.