How to Build Confidence and Self-Esteem in Your Children
During the social spider web that is our childhood, we come in contact with a ton of things to be insecure about.
We’re graded on a scale from F to A.
Fashion trends convince us to change who we are to increase our significance.
Our days are organized into hierarchies of honors and standard classes, varsity and junior varsity teams, and first or second chair in the orchestra.
Every time kids learn and try a new skill, no matter how small, they’re building their self-esteem for the first time. The world comes with enough reasons to be insecure, so make your home a place where strengths are celebrated, not compared.
The next time you’re up to bat parenting, consider these tips to help foster confidence in your child.
Build Confidence by Modeling Actions First
Half of learning a new skill is watching it being done first so you can replicate it after. Show your child how to do it first, then let them have a go at it. Some kids like to try the same thing repeatedly, while others get quickly frustrated and prefer course correction as they go.
See what works best for your child. Nothing beats watching your child succeed on their own and feeling proud of themselves. Remember, you don’t want to make new challenges too easy or too hard for kids.
Let Them Help You to Build Self-Esteem
It’s important for children to see that their efforts matter to others. If they ask to help with certain responsibilities at home, let them! (Assuming they’re safe to try.) They may want to help feed the dog and watch as he excitedly eats his bowl of food.
Maybe they attended their first local football game and want to help serve hot chocolate in the food booth. Many communities have opportunities for kids to join parent volunteers or volunteer themselves. Consider signing up for one together.
Find and Point Out Your Child’s Strengths
A lot of parents subscribe to the belief that if they expose their child to every sport under the sun, they will find their favorite. Without jumping the gun on a busy schedule, pay close attention to what your child already fills their time with.
Do they like singing to the radio? Dancing with movie characters? Throwing a ball in the yard? Consider what strengths and interests naturally appear, then present them with opportunities to enhance them. Showing interest in your child’s strengths will build their self-esteem, while focusing on their weaknesses will not.
Celebrate Their Efforts Appropriately
Praising your child when they have accomplished little will only make your support carry less weight in the future. They may be young, but kids are not stupid. Kids pick up on power dynamics in their sports teams and classes, and if they can identify the “best” kid, they can measure how they compare to them.
Celebrate the wins as they come and handle the challenging days with grace and honesty. Let’s say your child didn’t hit all the right notes at their concert. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “Even if this wasn’t your best performance, I’ve seen you rock it on that stage before, so let’s try to shake this one off. We all have off days, and I’m proud of you for finishing the song!”
This type of support encourages children to keep working hard, accept that failure happens, and try again later.
Remember that as your child’s confidence grows, so will their independence. When this happens, try not to hold them back. Let them help with younger siblings, walk to school by themselves, or reach out to their teachers without parental mediation. Becoming a “helicopter parent” will only prevent their newfound self-esteem from flourishing.
If your efforts seem to go nowhere, consider giving your child someone else to talk to. Contact one of our counselors today and together we can come up with a treatment plan that works for your family.