Instilling Self-Confidence

It Starts Very Early In Life

We have all seen young children who are so withdrawn and shy that we want to cry for them. They have no sense of self-confidence nor do they believe they have any value. It is heart-rending. We may not be able to fix those children, but we certainly can have a positive effect upon our own children by building self-confidence in them very early in life. By the time an infant is just 18 months old, he recognizes he is an individual and has a separate identity from those around him. Lots of love and encouragement, praising his abilities and recognizing his strengths from infancy, will help meld your expectations to his temperament.

The Power Of Praise

Praise is an invaluable tool. It helps to instill a strong sense of self-confidence. However, overdoing it by praising the same thing in the same fashion repeatedly reduces the impact and value of your words. By being very specific with praise, the child knows exactly what he has done and that you are happy with him. For instance, "You helped me so much by picking up your toys," will mean more than, "thanks for helping."

"You Did A Great Job!"

There is a wonderful sense of accomplishment when we manage to do something ourselves. That is especially true for children. When we give a child a task that is suitable for their age and ability level, they have an opportunity to complete it and feel satisfied that they've done a good job. Gradually they are able to take on more and more responsibility, which in turn builds self-confidence.

Perhaps one of the hardest things a parent has to do is allow their child to fail at a task. Their tears can break your heart. However, if they never fail, they never develop the skills to succeed. These skills are transferable and a child quickly learns that if he applies himself to the task and, despite failure, tries again until he succeeds, he can do the same in other situations. It is not fun watching your child struggle to master a challenge. However, the reward when he finally gets it is worth the tears and trials.

"I Know You Can Do This, Too"

Once a child has mastered a specific challenge, it is important to move him forward into more and more challenging things. To succeed at the same thing repeatedly can be pretty boring. By increasing the challenge incrementally, he learns to develop the skills necessary to complete the task. He may also develop a hunger to challenge himself to greater things along the way. His efforts and your praise combine to give him the confidence to know he can do whatever he sets his mind to.

As your child enters his teen years, he may feel less confident as a completely new world opens before him. This is the time when his family relationships are vitally important. By helping him focus on these, he gains a measure of security and comfort that will help him through the insecure periods.

Self-confidence is necessary for success, and it is the role of the parent to instill confidence in their child. When a child feels confident in himself, he is able to expand his abilities and skills and live his dreams.