What does a confident child look like, and how do we look within ourselves to raise an amazing human being?
What makes up a confident child? How do we raise our child to be confident? Now, we often find ourselves using confidence and self-esteem interchangeably. According to the Oxford Languages Dictionary, self-esteem is the measure of faith or belief in one’s worth or abilities. Confidence originates from the Latin word confidere, which means to have complete trust.
But self-esteem or self-respect is something innate and touches on the sense of self. When a child is confident and believes that they’re enough, it is evident how they carry themselves. Not in an arrogant manner, but they communicate that through their eye contact, body language, etc.
When children are confident, they are more open to try things and don’t let their fears get in the way. When children are sure, they believe that no matter what happens, they know they have in them tools & skills that they can refer to handle the situation they’re in. Most importantly, no matter the results, it doesn’t eat into their self-worth as a person.
Confidence is vital to help them safeguard their self-esteem. Let’s dive into these three tips to raise confident kids to enable them to do so!
Begin with an end in mind
Many factors contribute to building our child’s confidence.
1. Their inherent traits, such as their genes, impact the balance of neurochemicals in their brains.
2. How are our children treated? This includes the social pressures in their environment.
Do we believe that our child is enough? Or do they have to fulfil specific tasks before they are good in our eyes? While inherent traits have some role to play, we must consider these questions. Our child often lives up to our image or how we construct them in our minds.
Hence, we must begin with an end in mind: we have to actively decide the person we want to raise and then align our actions accordingly. We wrote in detail on incorporating a top-down approach in our parenting approach - you can read it here (link to Top-Down Approach article)
A confident child begins with the simple belief that they are enough. So, try to think ahead and visualise the young adult version of them. What do you see in them? How would their relationship with you be like? Then, begin working backwards and decide how you want to parent him or her now.
Be aware of the child’s strength and room for growth
Confidence thrives on the belief in our ability to improve. And these beliefs matter, especially in times when we are faced with setbacks. Thus, we must foster our child to have a growth mindset since young and the simple belief that they can improve.
You can help by identifying what your child’s strengths and weaknesses are. Then, communicate this to them, allowing them to be aware and note their strengths and room for improvement. By taking stock, you’re helping them to build their inner resources, which are handy in times of setbacks.
Not to forget, what about their preferences and dislikes? Assist them to be aware of their sense of self; develop a sense of identity. Embrace them and allow your child to assert his or her preferences without judgement. Be mindful not to override this and coerce them to accept what you lean towards.
We must accept that and internalise who they are while helping them to be the best version of themselves. The critical thing to remember is that we are here to optimise our child’s intelligence, their essence of self, and not changing who they are. So, don’t break a child or render them blank.
Empower your child by listening to them
The personal choices that our child makes undoubtedly play a significant role in confidence development. When we encourage them to make their choices, take risks, try new things, we’re instilling in them that they have control over their behaviour and improve if they believe they can.
For example, during disagreements, explain why and work on getting buy-in from your child. We need to listen to their perspective. As parents, we should model the behaviour that we want our child to learn. This trains them to have activated thinking. It also empowers them to believe that they have the inner resources to work through issues and overcome challenges.
As educators and parents, we must learn to respect their new sense of independence. By helping them attain new skills, we’re continuously building that inner resource to make them feel capable of handling anything that comes their way.
Raising a confident child starts with us
It starts with us. We model confidence to our children by believing that as parents and educators, we are enough. We have it in us, the similar inner resource to raise another great human being. Hence, we must tend to our inner child first before attending to the one in front of us.
When in doubt, keep in mind these few practical tips and cultivate your child a growth mindset and belief that confidence is a muscle to be exercised. They have the power to boost their confidence, and neuroscience supports that. Studies have shown that the connection in our brain gets stronger and grow with practice.
We must remember and pass on to our children that confidence and building self-esteem is not about getting it right all the time. Instead, it’s recognising that failure is part of that process and that it is okay and normal to keep trying. It’s about being resilient enough to be better.
Confidence is the excitement you feel inside, that no matter what the results are, you know you’ll gain greater knowledge and understanding. So, let’s help our child build and feel that same excitement.
Gifted Kids Asia is passionate about nurturing gifted kids through invested parenting. If you’re keen to learn more about how to optimise your child’s intelligence and potential, you can check out the carefully crafted programs and courses we have in store.
Self-confidence vs self-esteem -- what's the difference? (readandspell.com)