Self-confidence is the foundation of a child’s well-being. It is important to nurture your child’s self-worth in order for them to learn how to be comfortable with themselves. How they see themselves affect how they act. As the American psychologist Abraham Maslow suggests in his theory called, “Hierarchy of Needs”, self-esteem is the second highest level of need to be met for an individual to achieve a strong mental health, and social happiness.
Children who feel good about themselves usually find it easier to play and get along with others. Self-confidence builds the ability for children to adapt easily during challenging situations. A child with healthy self-confidence has a realistic understanding of his strengths and weaknesses. This gives the child the ability to magnify his strengths and resolve his weaknesses, thus becoming the key in achieving success.
Here are tips to help your child develop self-confidence:
Invest on Attention and Time
To boost your child’s self-confidence, the first thing that parents can give is time. Investing in playtime benefits the relationship between a parent and a child. It allows opportunity for the children to show their attitude and behavior along with his developing interests and talents. At the same time, this puts parents on the children’s level. This opportunity gives them a better understanding on how to enrich said potential, and manage temperaments. Giving them the time of your day allows the children to strengthen their self-worth.
Another important thing to show your children during play is attention. Having an audience that pays attention, and shows interest while children showcase their talents is a major boost to their self-confidence. When you engage in fun activities with your children, it builds lasting memories that is basis for self-worth. They feel treasured and that you care for them. Showing your children that you are listening and enjoying your time together makes them feel that they are special and loved.
Let your child initiate
Between the ages of 18 months and three-years-old, children start developing autonomy. This is the time when children learn to do things for themselves such as feeding, choosing toys, or walking and moving without the physical assistance of their parents. This is the beginning stage of children’s need to assert their independence.
In his “Psychosocial Stages of Development” theory, American psychologist Erik Erikson states that during this stage, “it is critical that parents allow their children to explore the limits of their abilities within an encouraging environment which is tolerant of failure.”
For example, instead of cleaning up toys after playtime, a parent should allow an opportunity to accomplish the task when the child initiates it. A parent should be patient. Let the child try and clean up his toys until he succeeds. Parents should offer support through encouraging this independence, and looking out for instances when the child asks for assistance.
If during this early stage the children are supported and encouraged, self-confidence will more likely be developed as they feel a sense of accomplishment over their ability to do things on their own. When children are repressed during this stage, they begin to feel inadequate of their abilities, and they may become overly dependent on adults, resulting to low self-esteem.
Give Genuine Compliments
There is no greater confidence booster than a genuine compliment from parents. Kids tend to admire their parents while growing up. They often look up to them for approval. Provide compliments that are genuine and heartfelt. Let them feel that you are proud of what they have accomplished. While compliments are easily given through words, parents can go the extra mile by transforming these praises into something tangible. Did your child win during the game? Display his trophy in the house. Does your child have a talent in painting? Hang his artworks on the wall. Collect pictures and memorabilia in a momentous event where your child did well. Let this tangible proof boost his self-confidence, especially when the need calls for it.
While giving away compliments tend to reinforce self-confidence, it is important for parents to be reminded to not overdo it. Praises tend to lose their importance when done on a daily basis, especially when they are meaningless. "When parents give praise that is not accurate to who the child really is, the words seem fake," says Dr. Robi Ludwig, a Care.com parenting expert. Don’t say that your child is an amazing athlete when he is not. You need to be careful and specific with the words that you chose. "Tell your child you are proud that she works hard at always improving her game and how she takes direction from her coach," says Dr. Lori K. Evans, a clinical assistant professor in the department of child and adolescent psychiatry at the NYU Child Study Center.
Parents play a huge role in teaching self-confidence to their child. It is best to remind ourselves that children are able to boost their self-confidence most when placed in a healthy environment with supportive and caring adults as their models.