What is the one thing that can help your child succeed?
Without a doubt – if there is one thing that can ensure success – it is confidence.
Without confidence you cannot do anything. With confidence you can conquer the world
But where does confidence come from?
Confidence cannot be pasted on to a child by constantly telling her/him “You are amazing”.
A child who knows he/she is not worthy of the praise being heaped on by his/her parents – begins to feel hollow and becomes pompous and arrogant.
Confidence emerges out of achievements. A child becomes confident by pushing boundaries and proving his/her ability to achieve by overcoming challenges.
Our words and actions as parents – have a huge role in developing our children’s confidence.
Here are 10 things you can do to build your child’s confidence
1. Love your child unconditionally
Of course we love our children. But we must tell them that we love them every day. We must let them know that we love them for who they are and not what they achieve. When a child knows that he/she will be loved regardless of how he/she performs – it gives the child the confidence to attempt new things and keep trying until he/she succeeds.
2. Stop comparing – start celebrating
Every child is different. Every child succeeds at different things and every child succeeds differently. Celebrate your child’s successes without comparing him/her to others.
3. Teach your child that happiness is in the small things
Teach your child to be curious – to delight in everyday things – to be open to changes and differences. The journey towards success is stressful if you don’t love every little thing about your life. And it can be an exciting enjoyable ride if you learn to love and enjoy the small things in life.
4. Instil exploration and adventure
Confidence starts with courage. Build courage in your child by constantly encouraging your child to push boundaries and explore
5. Teach your child to be grateful
A child who tries to succeed – will invariably fail several times before he succeeds. These failures can be very disappointing unless children have been taught to be grateful for everything – including the opportunity and ability to try.
6. Have firm family rules
Being able to say no to peer pressure is an extremely important part of success. And those children who have watched their parents firmly say no to them when the family rules demanded a “no”, will be able to say no with much greater ease than others.
7. Encourage sports and other physical activities
A confident mind can only live in a fit body and sports enhances physical fitness. Sports also teaches children how to set goals and improve and achieve them. Sports also teaches teamwork and the ability to gracefully handle and overcome defeat.
8. Support your child’s passion
Respect and encourage your child's interests—even if they don't interest you. Every child will excel at a different thing. And when your child excels at something it will build his/her confidence. Don’t dismiss your child’s interests as useless or trivial and don’t ridicule him/her when he/she fails. Guide your child’s efforts. Teach your child how to set realistic incremental goals. Help your child make a plan to reach the goal. And constantly encourage and support your child’s effort and resilience
9. Teach your child to cope with both praise and criticism
Children look at themselves through our eyes – and so it is extremely important to praise children. But it is important to be realistic when you praise. Always praise the effort, but don't gush unrealistically over the results. To succeed – children must be able to accept negative feedback and constructive criticism without getting crushed.
10. Teach your child how to make friends
In the end – all of us estimate ourselves based on how well we are liked by others. When a child knows that he/she is a likeable person – when a child knows that he/she can easily find friends in an new setting – it builds his/her confidence. Help your child to be kind and empathetic so that others like her. But teach him/her also how to be self-assertive and maintain an inner core of self-belief.
To bring up a confident child – our aim should be – to build a solid wall of confidence that cannot be knocked down by the blows of failure. This wall must be built – one brick at a time – every time we interact with our child.
Dr Debmita Dutta MBBS.MD
Dr Debmita Dutta is a practising doctor, a Parenting consultant and the founder of the website www.whatparentsask.com ( https://whatparentsask.com/ ) a video based website that provides expert answers to parenting questions. She is based in Bangalore and conducts Parenting workshops and prenatal classes for pregnant parents in addition to her medical practice. She believes that parenting stress can be relieved significantly when parents are well informed about their children’s growing brains and bodies.