Most of the parents think that raising happy, and confident children is important. Being confident is one of the most important qualities that can help you on the road to success. However, what can parents do to help their children to gain confidence?
According to the Oxford Languages Dictionary, ‘Confidence’ means,
- The feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something.
- The telling of private matters or secrets with mutual trust.
In these definitions there are some hints for us in raising a confident kid. For the first definition, ‘confidence’ is a kind of feeling or belief. A kid who is confident can feel it in his gut. Confidence is a feeling in the mind and body. It is tied to our emotions. For the second definition, ‘confidence’ is about a relation with trust. When building a relation with trust, parents can help kids to experience this kind of relationship.
How can we apply it into our parenting?
“The enemies of confidence are discouragement and fear.” which claims by Carl Pickhardt, who is a psychologist and author of 15 parenting books. To raise a happy and confident kid, parents need to have a good relationship with your kid first. Based on the relationship with trust, here are some tips to help your child.
- Effort is more important than result
Try to appreciate the effort they paid regardless of result. Sometimes parents will take result as the most important part. If you only focus on winning and not than the process where they make effort and learn, they will be frustrated. Once they fail, they may not accept that failure. They may feel upset and refuse to try again. However, we all know that in our whole life, we cannot be afraid failure. The way that we can improve is to learn from such failure. Like the ancient Chinese proverb says, "Failure is the mother of success." As a parent, we can teach them and support them through this process. Parents need to let them know that failure is not a big deal. You can appreciate and say something positive about their effort. When they know that you can see their effort and you are happy with that, they will be more willing to try again next time. They will know that even they fail; they can still learn and try again.
- Modelling is the way to learn
For a young kid, observation is one of the ways for them to learn. They will learn by observing parents, teachers, or even peers. Model your own behavior to provide a consistent, positive example for your child. If you want your kid to be confident, show them that you are confident. For example, if you want your kid to try a new food, you can try to eat before him. If your child is afraid of jumping on the trampoline but you still want to encourage him to try, you can try to jump on it first. Be honest with your child about how you are feeling. For example, if your kid doesn’t like carrot like you do, but you still want him to try, you can tell him that you don’t like carrot too and try in front of him. Let him know that he is not alone and you have the same feeling as him. Show him that you are always at his side and support him. He will gain confidence.
- Positive Reinforcement is the way to encourage them
The term reinforce means to strengthen, and is used in psychology to refer to any stimuli which strengthens or increases the probability of a specific response. This is a simple description of a reinforcer (the treat), which increases the response (sitting). We all apply reinforcers everyday, most of the time without even realizing we are doing it. You may tell your child "good job" after he or she cleans their room. How can we use reinforcement in encourage kid and raising their confidence? We can try positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement means giving something to the subject when they perform the desired action so they associate the action with the reward and do it more often. The reward is a reinforcing stimulus. For examples, when your kids show his confidence, reward him no matter by words or anything they like.
- Give them new challenges
Parents can show your child that they can make and accomplish small goals to reach a big accomplishment. Help the to set the goals that are challenging but achievable. For examples, when your kid learn swimming, you can set a goal that can stop breathing under the water for 10 seconds for the first day, and maybe 20 seconds for the second day. Try to achieve the goal step by step. Sometime they may not succeed in the first time. Please let them try to solve the problem by themselves, even sometimes they cannot find out a prefect solution or they need to try few times.
To raise a happy, confident kid, we need to encourage them to accept themselves. Let them to try and learn from failure. Parents need to show your support to them and reinforce them when they show their confidence. Finally, parent just need to give them chances to try, fail and learn. When they can fight against fear, they will be more confident and come to success.