“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.” ― J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan
A man was passing through a herd of elephants. The magnificent, strong mammals were held only by a small rope. It would just take the elephants, a minimal effort to break free. Why was this enormous animal standing there bound by a mere rope?
When the man asked the mahout, he said, “When they are very young, we used the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it was enough to hold them back. As they grew up, they were conditioned to believe that they cannot break away. They believed that the rope can still hold them back, so they never tried to break free.”
The belief instilled in children when they are young has a huge impact on them throughout their lives. Therefore, it’s very important that we take some effort to raise confident children.
So, what does self-confidence mean?
There was a departmental store which was doing very well. Unfortunately, in the adjacent building, another departmental store was opened, and a board was placed outside that store which read – ‘Everyday lowest prices.’ On the other side too one more departmental store was opened and there too a board was placed which read ‘Everyday highest quality’. With ‘Everyday lowest prices ‘ on one side and ‘Everyday highest quality’ on the other side what were the chances of that departmental store in the middle?
The departmental store in the middle placed a board that read ‘Main Entrance’.
Self-confidence is the belief in one’s abilities. It is the faith of an individual to accomplish what one wishes to do. It is the catalyst for success and the biggest source of strength during failure which stops us from giving up.
It is not your intelligence but the direction of your intelligence that determines what you become in life. There are ‘Right ways to feel like a Hero’ and ‘Wrong ways to feel like a Hero’. It is crucial that your intelligence is directed in the right way. It’s a positive thought process, which needs to be naturally imbibed by children. By this, I meant to say that we cannot enrol them in a crash course: “Build your confidence in 24 hours” or reading a book “500 Ways to Look Confident” to build their self-confidence.
Face new challenges – As parents, it’s natural that we strive to keep our children within a comfort zone. It’s also equally essential that we allow our children to face new challenges. Children learn by observing. Seeing you tackle new tasks with optimism and lots of preparation sets a good example for your kids to follow. That doesn’t mean that you have to pretend to be perfect. Do acknowledge your anxiety, but don’t focus on it—focus on the positive things you are doing to get prepared to face the challenge.
Face the fear of failures – Fear of failing is a greater obstacle than failing. Help kids to see that everyone makes mistakes and the important thing is to learn from them, not dwell on them. Confident people don’t let the fear of failure get in their way—not because they’re sure that they won’t fail, but because they know how to handle their setbacks. Let each failure be a stepping stone for success. Behind every successful person, there are millions of dropped catches and failed matches.
Self Identity –Children need to appreciate their uniqueness. Help them to build their own identity. Help them to understand their strengths and build on it. Help them to understand their passion and support it. Build their self-esteem positively. A fragile line lies between overconfidence, confidence, and underconfidence. Hence, it’s very challenging to remain confident during ups and downs without crossing the line on either side.
I often hear parents saying, “My child is an introvert.” It’s a myth that introverts are people who lack self-confidence. Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates were introverts who have carved their name in history forever.
Nurture and develop talent – Avoid the urge to choose the most popular activity for your kid. Discuss and decide the right activity according to your child’s preferences. The kids develop a sense of identity, which is essential to building their confidence. Once, they see their talents grow; it will give your child a huge boost to their self-esteem.
Set them up for success – Give them the opportunities to rise. Let them taste success. Give them small milestones that can be achieved easily. It will help them to look forward to the next challenge. Once they believe in themselves, they become self-confident children with better self-esteem. The strong belief in themselves will help them to reach greater heights.
Appreciate and applaud- Appreciate and applaud the child’s efforts, not the outcome. Gradually, decrease its frequency. Help your children to be proud of their achievements. Once they have mastered it, they will learn to appreciate others and also lessen their dependence on the external factors for feeling confident. Eventually, they will strive hard to do their best. Children have to feel confident “in spite” of everything and not “because of” something.
The fundamental desire of human nature is the craving for appreciation. Social networking sites thrive only using this principle. Help your child to be less dependent on “Appreciation and Applause.”
Unconditional love and support – A child requires our unconditional love, support, and trust. It’s ok to be firm with the child whenever required. Accept and adore your child without being judgemental. Remember, it’s our child looking up to us for support and love. Behind every child who believes in themselves, there is a parent who believed in them.
The seed of confidence instilled in children, while they are young, will blossom spreading its fragrance to the environment, as they grow.R remember, children, learn more from what you are, than what you teach. It’s not what we do for the children that make the difference, but what we teach our child to do that will make them successful human beings.
Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to grow strong and reasons to give back.
Let them fall, learn to rise, walk with confidence and say “Mom, throw me to the wolves, I will return leading the pack.”