The coronavirus pandemic has shaken the entire world, instilling fear and uncertainty in everyone–including children. Children are deprived of meaningful experiences that effectively lead to building self-confidence, especially in the school setting. Nonetheless, these schools in Pasig and elsewhere in the country are doing their best to support students’ overall learning and development despite the challenges brought by the ‘digital divide.’
As parents, we can give them a headstart in life by building their confidence at home. A strong foundation should be laid out early in life. This means the earlier we start with boosting their confidence, the better they will thrive in the future.
It is important to first understand that self-confidence is essentially different from self-esteem, albeit the overlap. Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself–how you appreciate and value yourself. On the other hand, self-confidence is how you regard what you can do. It means believing in yourself and your abilities.
Self-esteem and self-confidence are developed through life experiences and interactions with others.
As your child grows older, he will experience various adversities. Stressors would originate from school, peers, home life, social media, etc. While these are a natural part of life, your child must know how to face such situations and triumph over them. Teach your child to accept things as they are, especially those beyond their control.
Here are some ways you can promote resilience in your child:
On that note, the discussion below is built on the premise of promoting resilience in children.
Every single opportunity where you can teach your child independence is a step closer to nurturing a highly self-confident child. Children long to do things by themselves. They feel good knowing that they can accomplish anything with what little abilities or resources they may have.
Furthermore, when they demonstrate competence, they are focusing their behavior on matters that may bring them success. Competence also allows them to engage in activities that they excel in and work on things that they need to improve on. Such an awareness of things that he can and cannot do also builds preparedness to tackle more complex problems, tasks, or responsibilities.
Age-appropriate chores teach children how to be responsible regardless of how small the given tasks are. This sense of responsibility builds their confidence because their parents have put their trust in them (though they do not articulate this yet). Also, knowing that they can control the process and, to an extent, the outcome is a confidence-boosting undertaking.
It does not matter if they are not able to do things perfectly. What matters is they tried, so taking care to appreciate their efforts goes a long way. Praise them if they did the tasks splendidly. However, encourage them to keep at the same task until they become better at it. Give them the assurance that you will constantly allow them to try to do things on their own until they master the task.
While on the subject, sincere praise can boost confidence instead of excessive, impracticable ones. The latter is not healthy because praise like “You’re the best son in the whole world!” and “No one else does it better than you do!” are empty praises. These kinds of remarks might end up making them boastful instead of confident.
Instead, focus your praises on their effort and the process and not the outcomes. When you praise results or fixed qualities, you are not encouraging your child to put effort into things, work toward accomplishing a goal, and plain try things out. Exaggerations and overpraising are not helpful because your child may sense the insincerity in them.
Children make mistakes, but be easy on them when they do or when they misbehave. The most important thing to remember when you get frustrated is never to insult your child. You should not call him names or shame him in front of others, especially other children.
You need to learn how to separate the misbehavior from your child. Wait for the anger or irritation to subside before you talk to him. All the while, you need to discuss the matter as respectfully as you can. When taking the emotion out of disciplining your child means using a friendly tone. A pleasant tone and caring words can make the difference between getting him to be more confident in his positive actions and behaviors than alienating him due to harsh words. Also, these are the behaviors that you want your child to model when he gets angry, frustrated, or irritated himself.
A child may not be able to build confidence with the lack of a caring and nurturing environment. This is where he will feel welcomed by and connected with other family members. Such feelings lead to positive adjustments, including the awareness of coping skills and how to use these skills. They also develop a sense of trust in themselves as well as others.
You want them to grow into individuals who refrain from doubting their capabilities, whether alone or when with friends. Your child may share ideas openly if he thinks there is a safe environment for doing so. They would be confident to share what they know, take risks, and even experience failure.
Teaching positive behavior requires consistency. So whenever you ‘catch’ doing something good, validate the actions. Show that you appreciate what he has done. While at it, follow through with positive reactions. For example, you may tell the story to his father or siblings to feel more encouraged to do good things whether someone is watching or not.
Teaching your kids to do the right thing all the time is fundamental to building confidence. They feel proud of what they can do. They will think good about themselves, forming a can-do attitude in them in the process.
Another good strategy to build your child’s confidence is through making setbacks a transformative learning experience, pointing out the learnings instead of focusing on what went wrong. Humanizing the mistake is the same as making him understand that no one is perfect–we all make mistakes.
Dealing with mistakes requires patience on your part. Be consistent about looking at situations as a learning opportunity. Eventually, while working on mastering skills, your child may realize that mistakes are not as bad as they seem. What matters is how they address each mistake.
Nothing builds confidence in children faster than allowing them to create things from scratch by themselves and showing them off to others. Sometimes, it does not have to be the entire family–you as the audience are enough.
So, the next time your kid completes a school project. Encourage him to show it to you. Ask questions about it–his inspiration for conceptualizing it, what made him think to use this particular material or tool instead of others, and so on. While in the process of doing it, you may check for its progress. This signals that you are as excited to see the finished product as he is. He would think that his creations are worthy of other people’s attention.
We all carry inner dialogues, and children tend to use self-talk more when they feel deprived, aggravated, overwhelmed, and do not know what to do. Your child may feel stuck and say, “I will never be good at painting!” An unhealthy response is “You will be in time!” or “You will be if you keep practicing.” Children who are self-critical and tend to be too hard on and expect too much from themselves have low confidence.
As such, teach them to comprehend what he is saying. Tell him that it is entirely okay to question one’s ability. But he should also be able to analyze the why and how behind his sentiment. So the next time your child tells you that he will never be good at something, ask him why thinks so and what he should do to get better. Offer help and support also.
Sometimes, we are so consumed by household chores, deadlines, and errands that we forget to bond with our kids. Doing things that you enjoy together has many benefits for you both. For your child, it means you value his company, and that is why you spend time with him. He may eventually yearn to spend more time with you than on social media or video games. So that’s another plus.
He would form this idea that he is an interesting person and other people would want to spend their time with him. Not only do you build your child’s confidence, but also his social competence. In time, he would feel equally happy while being with you or his friends as he forms social bonds outside the home.
Building a better future for your children starts with building their self-confidence. All these suggestions help you help your child develop the competencies they will need in overcoming challenges and accomplishing goals in the future. Thus, this is not just about academic success but the grit and wit to face things head on.