Confidence Is Not Perfection
It is my responsibility as a parent to raise kids who are confident, not only in their abilities but also in who they are as individuals. With the societal pressures we often face, and I’m sure they will too, I never want them to equate confidence with the need to be perfect.
Kids have such impressionable minds and as parents, we are afforded various opportunities to instill confidence in our little ones.
Fresh in creche, my daughter had the opportunity to present a Show and Tell. Her teacher told us in advance and this gave us a chance to prepare for the big day. We had endless fun practicing together and she was set. To my surprise, the teacher informed me that she didn’t want to present to the class at first and that she eventually got through it but with a lot of encouragement from her side.
Glass Half Full
What my daughter captured from the experience, however, is not that she struggled her way through. She went straight for the end result, being that she had finished her presentation.
The nature of a child to always see the glass as half full is, in essence, a great start to nurture and preserve their confidence. Here are a few practical ways I’ve committed to in my pursuit to nurture their confidence.
1. Give Sincere Praise
As a form of encouragement, I often tell my kids that I am proud of them. My 3-year-old, in particular, would immediately ask me why I’m proud of her. Giving our kids praise is absolutely necessary but must also be realistic and specific. We should not fear giving them feedback and think that it will discourage them. Let them know that you are proud of what they have achieved, and if they were not too confident this time around in completing a particular task, avoid criticism at all costs. Instead, encourage them by letting them know that they should try again when another opportunity arises.
2. Mistakes Are Not Failure
The more they try the more confident they will become. Kids often escape to the defeat word, “I can’t” and it is in this moment that you should encourage them to not dwell on the mistake. It is important for them to have a sense of right and wrong but also assure them that we all make mistakes. Share with them a few lessons from a mistake they may have made, and allow them to share how they could do it differently next time. The way you react when they make a mistake will determine whether they will have the confidence to try again.
3. Listen to Your Kids
Ever so often your kids will express interest in specific activities. It is important for you to give them the time to understand and entertain their interests. When you show interest in what they deem important you harness their ability to capture attention. You also teach them that what they like matters and this can be a great confidence booster. Give them the opportunity to participate in some extra-mural activities they have expressed interest in.
4. Boost Your Confidence
Our kids’ self-esteems ultimately start with us, as they are always observing and learning through our actions. What better way to teach confidence than to lead by example. Becoming a mom definitely pushed me to live more boldly. When we conquer our own fears and mirror confidence, we teach our kids to believe in something that they can see. Confidence becomes a reality and something that is practical.
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