Help your child build a sturdy foundation by teaching and encouraging her to be confident. Several approaches can help her raise her confidence as she continues down the path through childhood. You might even feel more confident as a parent as she develops her sense of confidence.
Be a Good Role Model
One of the best ways to raise your child to be confident is to show her how it’s done. Use positive statements, such as “I can do this.” If you catch yourself speaking negatively about yourself, turn it around to see the positive side of the issue. Teach her how to be kind and how to forgive herself.
Give your child sincere praise freely and often. Kind words, kisses, hugs, pats on the back, shoulder squeezes and high-fives go a long way to tell your child she has done a good job. When she sees your approval and encouragement, she is more likely to feel confident about herself and her abilities.
It's hard to watch her try and fail, but it provides a valuable lesson. If something doesn't work out, at least she’ll have learned some problem-solving skills to succeed next time. Don’t cave and do it for her -- that takes away the life lesson it provides. You can be supportive and helpful without taking over. She’ll feel more confident in her abilities when she figures out how to do it herself.
Offering your child choices helps build confidence. By offering a “this or that” scenario, you are sending her the message that you think she’s capable of making the right choice. Giving her choices also helps lower the risk of a head-to-head power struggle. Stay away from “Do as I say.” You’ll find defiance down that road sooner or later because you’re reducing her power and ability to choose.
Being actively involved in your child’s life helps your child’s emotional, mental and physical growth and development. Read her books, play games, go on outings, help with homework, talk to her about her dreams or ask about her friends. Show that you care by staying connected.
Household rules help keep everyone in check and establish respect and boundaries for the whole family. A daily routine provides a stable environment for your child to thrive in. She will know what is expected of her and what to expect from her surroundings. Inconsistency, unpredictability and instability can take a toll on a child’s confidence that her needs will be met.
Confidence can be built by allowing your child to have some independence, especially as she gets older. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests allowing your child to gain independence by staying out late with a designated curfew, going to mall just with friends or managing her own money.
Let her explore her passions and encourage her to get involved in them. If she likes to read, take her to the library or bookstore. If she likes playing music, take her to a concert, enroll her in music classes or get her an instrument. If sports catch her attention, practice with her, buy her some equipment or take her to a sporting event.
Not only is art a therapeutic outlet, it also has infinite possibilities. With such broad perimeters, your child can creatively express herself without having to conform to rigid standards. Encourage her art skills, comment on the original use of colors, ask her to tell the story behind it and hang it proudly on the fridge.
Be a cheerleader for your child. As she heads out into the new world, she needs to know that it’s OK. Don’t do everything for her; encourage her to find her own path. Instill in her the phrase "Yes, I can!"
- HealthyChildren.org: The Importance of Family Routines
- HealthyChildren.org: Independence, One Step at a Time
- Parenting with Love and Logic; Foster Cline, M.D., et al.
- Psychology Today: Raising a Confident Child
- Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images