By Rennu Dhillon
Self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth are probably one of the hardest things to teach children, but the most important life skill.
The reason why it is so hard to teach self confidence to young children is because as they are growing up epically between the ages of 18 months to age 5, children get scolded or corrected for a zillion things. We tend to spend most of the early learning years using the word “No, don’t do that” all the time when in actual fact, we should extend the statement to telling them why they should not do it and try and spend time using and enforcing positive statements.
Not correcting a child at all and the mode of free will can result in a spoilt child that will not listen and they become increasingly more difficult to discipline when they get older. Too much restriction and scolding can result in over kill and affecting the self –confidence. So what does one do? It is important to create a balance between the two areas.
Here are some important guidelines and steps to help build self-confidence in your child.
1. Teach kids to think for themselves – children need to learn to develop their own critical thinking skills so encourage your child to figure out answers. If the child is taking longer than you expect them to answer a question, it is okay. As parents we get frustrated and give the answer to them. This does not help. Encourage them to think and come up with an answer of their own. If the answer is correct or even partially correct, applaud and praise them, If the answer is incorrect, explain to them why it is incorrect and praise them for trying to participate. Children learn by the action of doing.
2. Teach kids the importance of practical knowledge – being street smart is as important as being book smart. If children learn how to do things by themselves with actual practical experience, they will become more confident in their abilities. Example: Coloring – many kids like to scribble on their homework and it is easier for the parent to finish off the coloring page and move on to something else. Have your child take pride in their work and praise them when they complete the task properly.
3. Share as many stories as possible – children love to hear stories and sharing your experiences with them, will help them relate better to you. Effective open communication is the key to a healthy relationship between parents and children. Children feel more comfortable when they can believe that their parents have had similar experiences to themselves epically in challenging situations such as being bullied at school.
4. If you first don’t succeed, try again – an important belief to instill in every child. Everyone faces failure at some time or another in their life and some things take longer to grasp than others. Teach your child to accept their failures as an experience and a reason to try again and become better. In school competitions and events, teach the spirit of participation rather than winning. Children should be taught that not everyone can win or come first but everyone can participate and try to win.
5. Develop the strengths – when growing up children are under immense pressure of excelling in all subjects at school. It is important to teach kids to do their best in all the subjects but to maximize themselves in the areas they excel in. In this way children will develop confidence-becoming experts in certain areas instilling confidence in their abilities.
6. Etiquette and Manners – instilling etiquette and manners from a young age and teaching children how to behave in a social gathering interacting with other people is very important. Ensure that your child plays with different groups of children and help them learn to make friends by encouraging play dates at your home.
Instilling self-confidence in a child will impact their entire life. People who are self-confident will have better relationships with family, friends and work associates. They are able to set attainable goals and make better decisions in their personal and professional life.