Encouraging Potential in Kids

As a mother of five young boys, I think that one of the hardest things to teach my children is confidence. While children will learn to read and write, they won't necessarily learn to feel good about themselves and to have confidence in their abilities. How do we teach them these things and ensure that they grow into self-respecting, confident adults? Here are some tips and suggestions to build confidence in kids. Certainly, however, you'll have to decide which of these tips will work for you and your child.

Shower Them with Love

If we don't show love to our children, who will? Show your child that you are interested in the things that he enjoys doing and that you want to hear about his interests. This includes listening to what he did at school when he comes home, encouraging his painting skills even if you don't want a mess in the house, and more.

Praise Their Strengths

It is interesting to watch my children develop and exhibit their own strengths. One very important way to help a child to build confidence is to respect his individuality. He doesn't have to do things the way that I do them - and he doesn't have to do things the way that his siblings do. While I've encouraged one of my children to take karate, I've encouraged another to sign up for chess and a third to do swimming. Even if I envisioned a little family of karate masters, I've come to see that some of my kids don't show an interest in karate, and encouraging everyone to be the same would only be detrimental to their self esteem.

Use Teaching Moments

When you see people who are different than you are, try to explain these differences to your child. Show your child that people are different and that we can respect these differences. He will pick up on these lessons from you - both in the things that you say to him and in the way that you act towards others. Make sure to be a good example for him and to show him that it's alright to be unique and different.

Respect Your Child's Timeline

My first son rode a bike with two wheels at the age of four, and my third son isn't even ready to consider sitting on a bike now that he's four. Rather than comparing their progress, it's very important to accept where each one is and to work with his timeline. Pay attention to the skills that your child is ready to master and encourage him to master them one at a time. Never compare your children to each other and judge them based on how well they measure up. Remember that we all have our own timeline and our own way of approaching tasks in the world.

Seek Help When Necessary

Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness. The more that you encourage your child to ask for help and model this idea to him, the more self confidence he will possess. If you see your child struggling with his emotions, it's not a sign of weakness to look into art therapy, music therapy or counseling. Teach your child to ask for help when he is struggling - either in school or elsewhere - and to learn that it's alright to rely on other people and to gain guidance through assistance.

These are just a few of the ways to encourage your children to gain confidence in themselves. The more that you model confident behavior for them, and the more that you are able to help them to love the people that they are becoming, the better they will be at gaining confidence. See each day as a chance to emphasize the positive in your children and to move them towards a more confident life!