On 3 December 2018 I was invited at a certain school’s graduation and prize giving day to speak to parents and guardians about instilling confidence in their children. As I watched the children perform, I could clearly see that these were a bunch of confident children and I could safely owe that to the presence of their parents/guardians.
Confidence is one of the best gifts a parent/guardian can give to their children. Their involvement – be it at school plays, consultation days or during the most critical times of their lives – is key in efforts to nurture a strong belief in their child’s own abilities and strengths. It’s all about helping your child trust in their abilities.
Sometimes parents/guardians may fail to do right by their children because of cultural beliefs. Some believe that if you are good you should not praise your child in front of them or whilst they over hear. This culture stresses that by doing so one will be spoiling the child and at the end of the day the child will not have respect for the parent or know what life is.
Carl Pickhardt, a psychologist, says a child who lacks confidence will be reluctant to try new or challenging things because they’re scared of failing or disappointing others. This can end up holding them back later in life and prevent them from having a successful career.
Confidence does not thrive were there is discouragement and fear. There is need to praise – but not over/hollow praise – and encourage your child. Criticizing your child’s efforts and not giving them useful feedback will also kill their confidence. In this instance because of the parent/guardians’ actions and what they say their child will, for example, fear failing at school and trying new things.
In many ways can confidence be instilled in children. How about you stop controlling them even at a young age, helping your child see mistakes as learning opportunities, encouraging them to demonstrate newly learnt skilled to you or their friends, giving them responsibilities and manageable challenges for example a chore, teaching them self-encouragement, focusing on effort not results and modelling positive self-talk, to mention a few.
In a bid to offer guidance and not interference, parents and guardians can help their children feel empowered to take on challenges in school and in life. There is no yard stick to unlock every child’s inner-confidence, however the key to helping your child trust in their abilities is look for opportunities to challenge them and then to let them seek solutions on their own. Step back and let your child take risks, make choices, solve problems and stick with what they start. Above all, make it clear to your child that your love is unconditional.