By ‘Tola Oladiji
Parenting is one of the greatest joys in the world. One of the hallmarks of good parenting is wanting the best for your kids. This includes equipping them with everything that can help them achieve success in life, one of which is self-confidence.
Self-confidence is a vitally important life skill that can stand people out and significantly improve their chances of winning at life. Luckily, self-confidence can be developed right from childhood and if you want to help your kids develop it, here are 6 things you can start doing today:
Avoid using destructive words on them
Nobody likes being talked down upon and I’m certain your kids are not an exception. As a parent, you should learn how to use your words to build your kids up rather than shatter every fiber of self-esteem that they have. It’s never okay to use belittling words on your children because they get on your nerves or fail at something. Words can build up or destroy and you should make sure the words you use on your children build them up. If you were raised in an environment where toxic words were constantly spoken over you, then you must consciously unlearn those habits so you won’t replicate them in your kids.
Acknowledge their strengths, talents, and gifts
Every child has certain strengths and abilities that are unique to them. As a parent, you should be able to recognize the things your kids do well and encourage them in that. Maybe it’s their passion for soccer or the exceptional way they take care of their siblings, but whatever it is they do well, encourage them in it. When you do that, you help them build confidence in that area and this confidence can be carried over to other areas of their lives.
Praise their efforts and not just results
Praising your child is one important habit a lot more parents should practice. But do you know that how you praise them is even more important? When you only praise your kids for the end results like doing well in a school test, or a spectacular music recital, you pass across a subconscious message that only their results really matter and that’s not true. Instead, look for opportunities to praise their efforts too. This will be helpful when they give a project their all and still come up short – they learn that certain skills were strengthened even if the result wasn’t expected. For example, if your kid spends a great deal of time practicing for a school quiz, don’t just praise them when they win. You should also praise their commitment to studying.
Help them develop a growth mindset
A growth mindset is one that embraces the thought that abilities can get better with time, and kids with a growth mindset are more likely to keep trying at something even if they haven’t perfected it yet. For example, with a growth mindset, your kid can recognize that they aren’t good at math, but are willing to make an effort to learn. On the other hand, a fixed mindset is one that believes abilities are set and can’t change. Such a kid will probably not put in the effort to work at something they think they are bad at. To help your kids cultivate a growth mindset, help them see mistakes as learning experiences. Rather than scolding your child for accidentally breaking that really nice teapot, use that opportunity to teach them how to hold it correctly. When kids are taught that they can get better when they make mistakes, it improves their self-confidence dramatically.
Let them make age-appropriate choices
As a parent, there’s the tendency to want to use your wealth of experience to make decisions for your kids. Although that’s not a terrible thing, you must realize that kids need to be given the chance to make some of their own decisions while you provide guidance. There are decisions that they should be able to make for themselves at certain stages of their lives and when you disagree, let them know why, rather than just ordering them around. That way, they learn to develop competence and garner life experience.
Always show unconditional love to them
Finally and most importantly, always let your kids know that your love for them isn’t based on their performance. When kids are raised in an atmosphere of unconditional love and acceptance, they learn that they are free to make mistakes and learn from them without feeling like they’ve failed. That way, they never develop that pervasive fear of failure that keeps many adults from doing new things.
I hope this helps you.