A girl looking at the distance - How to build your child's self-confidence
Growing up

How to build your kids’ self-confidence when you lack it

Most people would like to be more confident.

Still, some people seem so self-assured with their superior attitudes. The irony is they are neither the smartest nor the best. Why?

Because we look at self-confidence the wrong way. A truly confident person is not aggressive but calm. They simply know what they’re doing without showing off. To be smug means to have distorted beliefs: you either think you’re very special or want to dominate others.

You cannot develop excellent confidence in your child for all situations forever, but you can strengthen it.

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What is self-confidence?

Being confident enough means feeling good about yourself. Being proud of your achievements. Being brave to try new things. Even if you don’t make it, you will try again because in the end you’ll do it. And you will accept your mistakes more easily.

This belief in yourself depends on how you were raised, the experience you’ve gained, if you have social support, how sensitive you are, what you expect from yourself and what others expect as well…

It is not black-and-white (like you either have it or not). You are not nervous about eating, taking a shower or buying bread. But you are not relaxed when you have a job interview or you’re going to a reception full of strangers. You don’t feel insecure about the things you usually do, be it a routine or a familiar situation.

According to the website KidsHealth, this is how children with high self-esteem are different from those who don’t have it:

Unfortunately, a lot of a person’s self-confidence also dependson the way they look.

The importance of a body image

I wanted to be a blonde at the age of 5 because blondes are prettier and have more fun.

I cheer for the “go grey” and “no shaving” movements. I love Ashley Graham. These people redefine what’s “normal” for women. We waste too much time on beauty every day because physical attractiveness is still “the most important” quality in a woman: 

“Adolescent girls often think that being thinner would make them happier, healthier, & better looking.”

(Source – Teens, Social media, and body language, Gallivan)

Today’s beauty standards make women’s lives harder:

Body image - statistics on how much girls and women are insecure because of the "Ideal" body type

It’s a fact – looks do matter. They are the first thing we see. They also relate to the way we choose our partners to have healthy offspring. They are the first thing we see in others. Physical appearance is a huge part of our identities.

Unfortunately, mass culture and the media put too much stress on the importance of beauty. In her 2016 interview with the Guardian Sia admits the importance of one’s body image for a celebrity’s self-confidence:

People in the entertainment industry are considered beauty role models. Thank god paparazzi take their photos with no makeup on. Otherwise, we would all think they are demigods.

Self-confidence is what you think and do

Self-confidence comes from 3 sources:

  • What you think about yourself

The voice inside you comes from what other people have told you and your own experiences.

  • What others think about you

People close to you such as family and friends are very important, but also teachers and the media. The messages young people get from the environment will become the way they see themselves.

  • What you learn to do

When you learn to do something, you feel good about yourself.

Parents, friends, teachers, and the media have an influence on how the child sees herself. If the child has a routine in age-appropriate activities, she will also have self-confidence.

Techniques to build your child’s self-confidence

Teach your child…

To be critical to what she sees

Teach her to think for herself. When she sees someone on the red carpet or Instagram, make her realize:

“She doesn’t look like that in her bedroom.”

No one is perfect. And commercials are a nicely packed lie – they make you buy that something.

People we love are always beautiful to us

Identity is not just your face and how much you weigh. She should know she is special because she is smart and kind, not because her jaw is in proportion with her nose.

To be her own best friend

Too much self-criticism and great expectations lead to unhappiness. She should learn to speak kind words to herself. Nothing can be “perfect“ but it can be “good enough“.

To choose to be with people who love her

Because they confirm how good she is. Peers can have no mercy towards the kid they don’t understand because she is different from them. Tell your child:

“If they don’t see how good you are, you don’t need them. If you feel uncomfortable when you’re with someone, that person is not your friend.“

Your child can also spend time alone. Loneliness can heal, and be a great source of creativity.

To do stuff all by herself

Children compare themselves with their peers all the time. It’s a big deal if somebody knows how to do a cartwheel, juggle a ball with their feet, or fry an egg.

Give her house chores. She will feel competent and exercise her problem-solving skills.

To see the good around her

Keep track of how much your child has improved. Compare it to the previous month or the year before. Things change when you make an effort. She will be more pleased with the progress she’s made.

As Benjamin P. Hardy wrote about how to feel more grateful and satisfied:

“This is actually quite simple: rather than measuring yourself against your ideals, you measure yourself against where you were before.”

Source – How to change negative beliefs, be happy, and become successful

via GIPHY

What you should do:

Don’t underestimate her feelings

To her, it IS a big deal. Acknowledge her negative emotion. Gove her support to overcome the crisis. If you do, your child won’t feel weird about herself. Also, she will become more mentally resilient over time.

Help her set a goal and try to achieve it

And give her support. Divide the task into phases and follow the child’s progress together with her.

Be supportive when she doesn’t make it because success comes after a series of failures. Help her make an effort. What is important is not a reward but the attitude that you can accomplish a lot if you work on it.

Help them practice how to persevere

Praise their effort, not their qualities – they are not “the best of all“  but they “did a great job with…“

Let her use her talents

Don’t force the child but help her develop her creative streak. Let her be proud of what she knows and what he’s good at.

Teach her to help and give to others

She can do something for someone else: help, give something of hers or clean up. She will be proud of her accomplishment because she is capable of changing things in someone else’s life.

Building self-confidence takes time. It oscillates through a person’s life and you cannot be confident in everything equally. Give your child time to acquire a new frame of mind. Support her along the way by giving her realistic compliments. Help her blossom into an independent individual able to accept life as it is. It is very hard but, boy, what she can do with it!

TL;DR:

Techniques to build your child's self-confidence

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Sources: https://www.parents.com/

https://kidshealth.org/

https://www.dosomething.org

https://thebodyimagecenter.com/https://www.macmh.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/18_Gallivan_Teens-social-media-body-image-presentation-H-Gallivan-Spring-2014.pdf

One Comment

  • John Supz

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