You have an important role in society. You are the way we can change the world. One child at a time, let’s build their self confidence! A confident child will grow into an adult who is able to make better and more rewarding choices in life.
Yes, other factors such as other adults, peers, media and opportunities can influence how a child feels about themselves. But it starts with the parents. So start right away.
Building self confidence starts early. Babies learn that they are loved and are lovable by the people that care for them. They learn that when they cry, their needs are met, with a bottle, a dry diaper or being picked up and held. When their needs are met, the message to the baby is, “You matter, you are important”. That is a powerful message that gives babies a very healthy start.
A child needs to be able to look in a mirror and like the person he sees. A child that grows up with a healthy self-worth will have a realistic understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. They will also be empowered to try new things as succeeding would be wonderful but failing would not be shattering but a lesson learned.
Low self confidence can have devastating consequences. It can create anxiety, stress and loneliness. Additionally, it could increase the likelihood of depression. It could also cause problems in maintaining friends and having healthy romantic relationships as an adult. It can seriously impair academic performance in school. As well as contribute to behavioral problems in school and at home. It can also lead to increased vulnerability to drug and alcohol abuse as a teen and/or adult. All of these things that were mentioned are ones that as a parent, you would not wish for your child. So what can you do?
As an informed parent, listen to your child when they speak and speak to your child in a respectful tone. Give the appropriate attention, affection and unconditional love that all children need. Encourage your child to try new things, foster curiosity, promote problem solving and always praise the effort. Give your child opportunities to take responsibility and be proud of what they can do. Recognize their accomplishments and accept their failures with the message that you tried and it is not a failure of your whole self. Be mindful and avoid the negatives: harsh criticism, expecting perfection, nagging, comparing them to others (siblings, friends) and ignoring them.
I encourage you to use this list as a guide and come up with some of your own ideas. With greater self awareness of your own behaviors and reactions in situations and the knowledge that it is impacting your child you can make the right choices that will build your child’s confidence.
Children are not born with self confidence. It is learned by what they can do and by what their parents think of them. As Peggy O’Mara said, “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice”. Remember that and give the message, “Trust in yourself, believe in yourself and let your confidence shine”.
Your Relationship Expert,