As adults, sometimes we are not as confident as we should be or want to be. If that is the case, then how do you think children, without any of our experiences, really feel?
We, as parents, HAVE to do everything we can to help our children be as confident as they can be. Children will learn to be confident through experiences in the home and outside of their home. Everything they do, don’t do, and their interactions with family and friends will all play a part in their self-esteem.
We want them to be as confident as they can be without being egotistical, self-absorbed, cocky, rude, or disrespectful. What an impossible task!
Think about it…we want our children to:
So how do we do that? What are some things we need to do in order to make sure our children are confident and our children believe in themselves? Is there something we can do?
I feel there are ways to promote their confidence and build their self-esteem. The most important way, I feel, is to make sure that you as their parent are not controlling. Controlling everything they do, expecting the impossible from them (when you know whatever that is they will be unable to attain it) or simply redoing things or taking over things they can do but are just not to your standards. All of these “little” things can be very damaging to a child’s self-esteem. It is even something we may do, but not realize we are doing. It is something that we may not be doing intentionally, but it is something that we really need to think about. We need to think about all the things we do and truly think about how those “little” things we do can have a HUGE impact on our children.
As a parent, we have to try to give successes to our children as much as we can. So let’s take school and their homework for an example. I know a lot of us want to help our kids do their best or get all the right answers. If they can do their homework by themselves, then let them. Just check it over when they are done. However, if it is not to your perfection and you feel the need to tell them to do it all over again or if you tell them they are wrong, without questioning them to see if they know they made an error or possibly had the wrong answer, then you are telling them they are not good enough or their work is not good enough. We have to be very careful on what we say or how we say it. If they get a wrong answer or do not write the answer to a question correctly, but believe it to be right, just send it into school that way. They will learn that their answer is wrong for a specific reason, but telling them before the homework is even handed in without them realizing what was wrong, is telling them you know better (even though you do) and they are unable to do it correctly independently. Being dependent on you for things they should be independently doing is creating a child who will not be confident in their own doing, which is not a good thing and will not promote their self-esteem. If you do it, your message is not helping them to be confident. Your message is teaching them to be dependent, and that they are not good enough or can’t do it alone. If they learn by making mistakes, it will teach them to do better. If you are encouraging them and telling them that it’s good that they are doing their homework independently, that is teaching them to be confident. As simple as this sounds, it is true.
Now I am NOT saying, “do not help them with homework if they need help,” or if they ask you a question you answer them which helps you to teach them. I am saying do not change their thinking if they believe they are right, do not rewrite their work if they wrote something you don’t necessarily think is good, do not tell them they have the wrong answer if they believe they are right. They will learn that in school. They need you to encourage and compliment them for trying, for working, and for doing their best. It’s not always about being right, it is about being independent, making mistakes, learning from those mistakes and becoming a stronger person from it.
I am using homework as an example because from the time they are toddlers to the time they are adults, school is a very big part of their life. The same holds true for chores at home, or for things they do with their friends, or for playing a game. Do not control their thinking or help them do something they can easily do for themselves. Choosing their outfits, cleaning their room, setting the table, etc. Little tasks that teach them responsibility and teach them to be independent do help them become more confident. They don’t always have to win the game, they need to work harder to do so. They don’t always have to clean their room the way you want them to, it is their room and they need to learn what to do based on their own needs and desires. They should have their friends come over, so you get to know who they hang out with and whether that person is a true friend. They need to be with positive people who will be a positive force in their life.
Stay tuned for other ideas on helping develop your child’s self-esteem which then makes them confident adults. I will add to this post because there is so much more to say. 🙂