How to Build Self-Esteem and Confidence in Children
Self-confidence has been shown to be a much better predictor of an individual’s achievements than any other non-cognitive factor. Some studies have also explored the relationship between students’ belief in their own abilities and their academic performance. If a child thinks she’s good in math, for e.g., she is more likely to perform well in the subject.
Confidence breeds success, and success breeds confidence. They go hand in hand. There are subtle but significant ways in which parents can help their child to build their self-esteem from a very young age.
- Empower them with Choices: Giving children choices, within a reasonable set of options, encourages independent thinking. Always try to include your child in decisions by preselecting options and letting them decide which works better.
- Give them Responsibilities: At every age, from infancy onwards, there are things for kids to learn. From holding their own cup to picking up toys, to helping with laundry and other household duties. Making a child responsible for specific activities around the house builds their confidence.
- Offer Praise Publically: There is an old adage that the way you talk about your children is the way the world talks about them. Smart parents praise in public and criticize in private. It also boosts the child’s confidence to know that you have their back.
- Consider your Compliments: In the attempt to encourage, parents can get carried away and offer praise too freely. Showering hollow compliments can actually have an adverse impact. Instead of proclaiming “Genius!” every time when your child says two-plus-two-is-four, focus on their effort and compliment them for the process, “I like that you’re practising addition even while playing.”
- Don’t Over-Protect: Parents have a natural tendency to protect the child from ever getting hurt or making mistakes. But intervening to rescue your child from any and every situation doesn’t help. Allow them the opportunity to overcome adversities.
- Focus on Strengths: Each child is unique and has something that they are good at. Pay attention to what your child enjoys and provide them opportunities to develop those skills. For children to feel good about themselves and succeed, their strengths need to be nurtured and honed.
Building a child’s self-esteem can have a lasting impact on how they are able to go forth in all aspects of life, not just academia. If our children believe in themselves, they are more likely to accomplish goals and achieve great things.
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