The goal of parenting is to raise competent and self-reliant adults. You may be shocked because parents often think about raising “their” children. In reality, you’re raising someone’s future spouse, someone’s prospective employee, and someone’s future parent. For your future adult to be successful, things like communication, conflict management, and interpersonal skills are necessary. Additionally, being self-aware and confident is vital.
For your child to have confidence, it’s important for them to appreciate or value their own ability to complete a task. They build confidence by doing something or even attempting to do something they have never done before, not by just your words complimenting their ability.
So how do I help develop a confident child? What are the ways to help my child be more confident?
Here are 5 ways to help your child be more confident.
1. Teach them to learn new skills.
To build confidence, your child has to learn new skills. We have to actually teach them the skills. You can’t make the assumption they can or will learn by you telling them. I remember several times being frustrated with my son when I asked him to clean his room. Of course, we differed on what “clean” meant. At the point of frustration, I thought about how I wanted him to learn how to clean his room, so we used this process.
- I do. You watch. Modeling.
- We do it together. Collaboration.
- You do. I watch. Oversight.
- You do it and make it your own. Confidence!
The goal of this process is for your child to develop their skills over time. This is not an overnight or one-day process. You have to be fine that it takes as long as it takes. You have to “get over” the fact they don’t do it exactly as you would. You’ve provided your child with a process to acquire new skills that will benefit their future. It’s about their self-confidence. Get over that it doesn’t have to look exactly like yours.
2. Help them find their interests.
Give your child opportunities to try a variety of activities (not all are at the same time of course). Encourage your child to participate in academic, athletic, and artistic activities to find what they enjoy most. Once they find their passion, embrace and encourage their strengths.
3. Effort matters, so don’t quit.
As your child builds confidence, it’s not about perfection. The effort really does matter. Not effort for a participation trophy, but giving the effort to try something new and out of their comfort zone. Discourage quitting as an option because it takes time to learn something new. Your child is developing a growth mindset as well as building their confidence amid struggle.
4. Let them fail.
It’s natural for parents to want their children to succeed at everything they try. Failing doesn’t make your child a failure. You learn more from failure than from success. Encourage them to do hard things and let them fail.
I believe Thomas Edison said it best: “I haven’t failed. I just learned 10,000 ways that didn’t work.” Or I think Albert Einstein said it well: “Failure is success in progress.”
5. Model confidence for them.
You have to remember your child is always watching you. As you embrace new tasks and challenges, you’re providing a model for your child. First, learning never ends. Also, you get to show your child how you learn and continue to build your own confidence.
Raising a confident child is raising a future adult who will be the best version of themselves. They recognize that confidence is not just something they can have in the activities they attempt, but it is who they are as a person. Confidence leads to more confidence—even confidence even in things your child is unfamiliar with. Confidence leads to competence.