7 Tips for Raising Confident Kids
7 Tips for Raising Confident Kids
PUBLISHED: Wednesday, February 27, 2019 by Andilynn Feddeler

Starting from an early age, kids are faced with competition, high expectations, and constant quantitative evaluations of their skills—all of which can hinder their self-confidence if they are not supported by the adults in their lives. The comparisons kids draw between themselves and their peers can lead to defensiveness, envy, a need for constant validation, and indifference to the future. Helping kids set realistic goals and affirming their efforts can lead to healthier views of themselves and their self-worth, without setting them up for a cycle of failure and low confidence. Raising confident kids is no easy task, but remembering a few of these ideas can make it a bit more approachable:

  • Set realistic goals. Tackling manageable challenges without striving for perfection encourages kids to think positively about their abilities, even if they do make mistakes. Whether setting large or small goals, make sure that the desired results are specific and attainable, without being too easy to reach.

  • Provide encouragement. Rather than taking over when something goes wrong or simply removing sources of frustration, let kids know that you’re there to support them and that you understand their feelings of disappointment or uncertainty. Affirming their feelings and sticking with them through challenges helps them develop their own voices of encouragement.

  • Model positivity. Kids often emulate the behavior of the adults in their lives, so having a self-confident (yet realistic) role model shows them how to overcome lack of confidence without ignoring their feelings. Acknowledging your anxieties and mistakes, but keeping a positive, can-do attitude shows kids that they can do it, too.

  • Explore their interests. Finding things that a kid is passionate about can help him or her develop new skills and discover a sense of identity. Exploring exciting new challenges can make kids feel good about themselves and grow confidence in their abilities.

  • Focus on effort. Although performance is often evaluated by outcome, it’s important to appreciate the effort it took to complete a task, too. Positive feedback should be more related to the process of accomplishment rather than the results achieved. Instead of saying “good job,” focusing on a specific attribute of the process (e.g. “you persevered and didn’t give up!”) holds more weight.

  • Allow failure. Setbacks and small failures can develop resilience in kids, as long as they are learning from their mistakes. Simply failing without any guidance or support for future endeavours can be detrimental to kids’ self-confidence and can prevent them from trying again. Remind kids that help is always available, and that their worth is not dependent on failures or successes.