Boosting your child's confidence

Sep 2012
Boosting your child's confidence
"Healthy self-esteem is like a child's armor against the challenges of the world." - KidsHealth

Most parents want their children to grow into confident, independent adults who make a difference to society. Whatever your child's talents or interests, you play a vital role in helping them to develop their confidence and encouraging them to aim high.

KidsHealth explains: "Healthy self-esteem is like a child's armor against the challenges of the world. Kids who know their strengths and weaknesses and feel good about themselves seem to have an easier time handling conflicts and resisting negative pressures." They also note that "kids with low self-esteem can find challenges to be sources of major anxiety and frustration. Those who think poorly of themselves have a hard time finding solutions to problems."

A child's self-esteem develops from infancy and is molded by experiences throughout their life. This confidence is affected by both achievement and how much a child feels loved and supported. There are numerous practical things parents can do to show they believe in their child and to promote self-esteem. Here are a few to consider:

Encourage after-school activities
Ask your child about their favourite hobbies and encourage them to participate in after-school clubs or activities. They will bounce off your enthusiasm and participate in activities with confidence.

Give appropriate praise
When your child does something you are proud of, ensure to tell them. It is easy to forget to verbalise how proud we are of our children but this is key to encouraging further behaviour of this kind. They will also cherish hearing you praise them to other people. Praising effort and the completion of a task rather than the result will also reinforce that working hard is part of success. This will encourage them to keep trying if they do not succeed at something first time round.

Helping your child to overcome disappointment is key to boosting their self-esteem and can be achieved through truthful and encouraging words, rather than making promises of a better outcome next time round. On the other hand, try not to over-do praise as an inflated self-esteem can be just as detrimental to your child's development.

Be a positive role model
Be a positive 'self-esteem role model' for your child. Children are very perceptive and will pick up on how you respond to success or disappointment. Children tend to mirror their parents behaviour, so ensure your reaction represents how you would like your child to react in a similar situation.

Encourage constructive activities
If your child has a younger sibling, encourage them to share their knowledge or skills with their younger brother or sister. Constructive activities like reading to a younger sibling, rather than activities centred around competition, are great for developing your child's self-esteem.