What if I tell you that we’ve all, knowingly or unintentionally, hurt the otherwise burly confidence in kids?
The last time I wrongly told my child to ‘learn to behave from (another kid’s name)”.
The last time I told her to stop crying bluntly as if trying to invalidate the reason behind her being upset about a situation.
Or even the last time I wished her a simple yet curt “Better luck next time!” when she couldn’t win a poem recitation competition at school.
I’m sure even if not these, you’d be recalling similar instances of your conversations with your child(ren), as I listed these scenarios. And do we see the pattern in all of them?
It’s that of a gentle or harsh SNUB.
That’s right. By reacting in a way like I described above, we’re actually snubbing their feelings while they’re in doubt and low on self-esteem . That’s how we passively sabotage the element of confidence in kids.
So, how do we help our children build & nurture their self-confidence?
PS: I APPRECIATE you
Never leave a chance to appreciate your child for his/her efforts into something. Be it a class test, a sports competition or even a gesture of helping somebody. Focus on saying, “You did/handled it so well for your age. I doubt if I would have done something like that when I was as young as you.”
No matter what the end result is your child will always get a tick against his self-confidence level hereafter in this domain. And that makes him/her more likely to excel at that particular skill. Nevertheless, this could apply to ANY life scenario.
Hug Them Often
We, especially Indians, really undermine the magical power of a hug. Neither do we take a moment to realize how the phrase, “I LOVE YOU” impacts an individual beyond the clichéd romantic boundaries it’s been restricted to.
Tell your children how much you love them. Hug them often every day. Let your hugs be random. Without the need for a cue. A hug reaffirms the fact that you love them unconditionally, for what they are & not essentially what they’re good at. This gives them enough moral boost that no matter what goes wrong in their life, they have a strong support system at home.
Teach them to say “NO”
A lot of parents believe that having an obedient child is a boon.
In fact, a child who has ALWAYS being obeying the elders or peers is often under the radar of bullies & peer pressure while growing up.
As parents, we often freak out when our kids defy our orders or suggestions. It’s natural for any human to not agree with everything that’s told to them. And neither is anyone obliged to, irrespective of what their relation with the former is. Hence, show your child ways to disagree with dignity & justification. Make them realize that as long as one can validly justify their disagreement, it’s perfectly fine to say NO.
This helps instill both control & confidence over their personal territory. It could be – their choices, preferences & also their body. It also becomes a prelude to teaching them about consent as you begin talking about staying safe from child abuse.
It should never occur to children into believing that declining anything from an elder accounts to undesirable or ‘bad’ behaviour.
Give them Age-appropriate tasks
Haven’t we all had our kids tugging at us for ‘helping’ us do something? Well, I’ve always had my daughter complaining that I don’t let her knead the dough or my husband doesn’t allow her to join him while washing his bike or car. However, I always used to give her errands to do according to her age. Now, at 6 years of age, I give her quite many tasks to do at home, that she wasn’t allowed to before. For example, my gardening time where she helps me prepare the soil. That enforces a sense of responsibility which is granted out of their ‘eligibility’. That they’re now capable of handling it smoothly. That’s a confidence booster of another kind.
Nurture their Passion
You’ve heard time & again that every child is different & has a unique talent of his/her own.
Fuel it further.
A lot of us end up spurning the favorite hobbies of our children while trying to rush them up the academic ladder or extracurricular activities.
Your child may not be fond of cricket & if you force him/her to remain consistent in a cricket coaching team, it can rob him/her of his confidence, if s(he) ever believed that dancing was his/her Passion.
Respect your kid’s talents. Be it language mastery, oratory, sports, art or any special talent that he/she is blessed with. Never snub children by saying things like, “So what? Do you think you can earn money out of it when you grow up?”
Ask for their Opinion
Kids naturally crave attention from parents who oft tend to neglect them while discussing important matters of the family or household.
No. I’m not talking about just the color-of-the-wardrobe kind of talk with your son or daughter. When we make them part of our important discussions in any way, confidence in kids just hits a whole new level.
This makes them feel wanted. Regarded. Respected. And remember if towards the end of the discussion you couldn’t agree with their opinion/choice, always end by saying, “Yours was a brilliant idea, which never struck us. But, as we see…..(reason why you drop that).”
Be a Role Model
As I’ve always maintained while talking about parenting the right & modern way, I’d say again. Children learn by seeing what you do & not by hearing what you say.
Be their role model.
- Compare yourself with somebody else.
Even if you do, always begin by complimenting the other person. For instance, I’d love to say, “I need to learn keeping my kitchen as spic and span as Aunt Nita.” instead of “I wish I were as systematic as Aunt Nita.”
- Body Shame
It’s sometimes okay to criticize somebody dear or oneself over a bad or annoying habit. But not over one’s appearance. So, even when it comes to self-criticism, never ever talk lowly about how fat, thin, fair, dark you are or somebody else is.
Body image problems are never supposed to even creep into your children’s list of important issues.
Neither should you ever praise him/her for his/her looks. Let them know how nobody can manage to look pretty or handsome throughout their lifetime.
It’s only when you instill this fact into their young minds that they will learn to accept their face & body as they turn out to be when they grow up & even as they slide into middle age onwards.
- Do not Give more importance to your Phone
Do NOT keep yourself occupied with a phone when your child wants to talk to you. Either tell him/her to wait for just 5 minutes in an apologetic tone or put your phone down right away to listen.
This tells them that they’re really those people you give importance to. Because in today’s world, every child believes that our phones are the most important thing on earth!
Do you also follow certain things to boost confidence in kids? Do share them with us!