Maintaining self-esteem and overall confidence is a feat even adults struggle with. Even the most self-assured adults don’t always know how to handle everyday situations with calmness and positivity.
While maintaining a confident attitude is difficult for adults, self-doubt in children can be downright detrimental. Children who are overly shy or self-critical may be less likely to make new friends or try new experiences, which can lead to a cycle of nervousness, and even career and relationship limitations.
If you’ve noticed that your child isn’t as happy as she could be, is overly self-critical, or nervous around other people, there are ways you can help as a parent. Try any of the following parenting tips to raise more relaxed and self-assured children:
Help Foster Realistic Self-Image
While some parents forget to give their children praise and credit for a job well done, perhaps more parents give out too much unnecessary praise. Giving excessive compliments can teach children to rely on praise and compliments to have a sense of self-worth. Over-inflating a child’s perception of his or her abilities can lead to heartache in the future. Working Mother instead recommends letting children know that it’s OK to not be good at everything, and advises parents to instead praise effort and passion.
Help them Feel Loved
The first step towards confident children is letting them know that no matter what, they are loved. Kids who know that they can depend on family to support them during difficult times and good times alike will feel more willing to try new activities and will be less afraid of failures. Shower children with affection in many forms to help them feel accepted for who they are.
Teach them Self-Care
Part of self-confidence is feelings of competence. Children who know how to care for their own basic needs are generally more self-assured and develop good habits as they age. For example, teaching good oral hygiene can help prevent self-esteem problems as an adult– 20% of adults feel anxious because of the condition of their teeth, yet one in five kids go without dental care. Work with kids on brushing habits, bathing habits, and eating habits to foster good relationships with their own body.
Encourage Adventure and Independence
Another way parents can help kids grow confident is by pushing them to try new activities. Children who are exposed to more sports, hobbies, and places develop a greater range of social skills that can help them handle new situations. Additionally, kids who test their own limits through sports or difficult pastimes learn resilience and know how to persevere even through failure.
Lead by Example
Finally, one of the best things parents can be for children is a role model of self-confidence. Children will notice if you also try new things, or speak of yourself in a positive manner. Practice self- confidence in your own life to help the whole family feel more confident, more adventurous, and more loved.