Have you noticed your child struggles with self-confidence? Maybe they talk down about themselves or struggle to make decisions? Or maybe they second guess if any decision they make is good enough? If so, below are two simple steps you can incorporate that may help in building self-confidence in your child.
1. Acknowledge their efforts WITHOUT your opinion
This concept may be hard to grasp initially. However, once implemented this concept can be monumental in building self-esteem. Naturally, parents want to praise the work of a child and make statements such as, “I love it!”, “I think you did a great job!” or “I’m so proud!”. While it is not bad to share your opinion and praise your child, recognizing their efforts despite the outcome reinforces their ability to take ownership and build self-esteem in a healthy way. Recognizing a child’s efforts sounds like, “You worked very hard on that!” or “You kept trying even though it was hard, you must be proud!” Essentially, changing your language to help them recognize their efforts goes a long way in their overall ability to self-motivate and develop a healthy self-esteem.
2. Allowing your child to make decisions WITHOUT your input
Of course, when it comes to allowing your child to make decisions, there are limits to what type of decisions they make. It would not be age appropriate for a 5-year-old to decide on the next family car. However, allowing freedom of choice with their outfit for the day or even which snack to eat after nap time empowers them to be confident in their ability to make decisions. When it comes to older children, allowing freedom of choice in family dinner or family activity reinforces the same concept. Often when parents allow their child the freedom of choice, their child will seek validation from the parent. In a moment where the child seeks validation, instead of offering your opinion, a response like “I trust the decision you make!” goes a long way. If you have a child that presents fearful and continues to seek validation out of fear of making a wrong choice… validate their concern and reassure them that “Even if they make a wrong choice, I’m still there and we will work through it”. Insisting on allowing them to make a choice with your support is huge in building self-confidence. Additionally, what is nice about implementing this strategy is how it passively reinforces unconditional love which ultimately strengthens the parent/child connection.
It is never too late to help build your child’s self-confidence and giving these two strategies a try are great steppingstones in helping your child take a turn in the right direction!