At some point in our lives, we’ve all needed an extra shot of confidence. And while we’ll lack plenty of confidence even in our parenting, it’s something we desperately want for our kids--for them to believe in themselves and to live boldly. A lot of times, confidence comes down to personality, environment, and just phases of life. Still, parents lay the foundation for their children’s worldviews, core values, and overall life experience. With that in mind, while you’re still the driving force in your kid’s life, here are 5 tips to infuse them with confidence.
1. Set boundaries. It may seem counterintuitive when you’re talking about confidence, but children thrive with boundaries. When a child has a clear line drawn, then they know how far to go or what the consequences may be to overstepping. Making choices when the lines are blurry comes at an older age; when your kids are little, let them know where they stand.
2. Facilitate new experiences. Part of being confident is having a willingness to new experiences and change. If this is part of your regular rhythm, then your child will be more confident. Push them with new foods, new friends, a new class. Help them learn the correct behaviors for travel, enjoying art, or meeting people by creating space to do it together.
3. Find the balance of encouragement and space. Your kid needs to know you believe in them. Words of affirmation go a long way for anyone, but especially a child. At the same time, an over-encouraged child may develop a false sense of self or easily give up if something is hard. Make sure your kid always knows that you are on his or her side, and in a way that sets correct expectations.
4. Ask questions and expect answers. You and your child will both have more confidence in a relationship that exists on communication and understanding. Ask your child about his or her day, specifics about what they learned or saw, and especially how things make them feel. Talking through these things will help your child learn to interpret and communicate his or her own feelings, building confidence in conversational skills and self-awareness.
5. Show interest in what interests your child. Sometimes what you need to feel confident is just for someone to think what you’re doing is cool. If your kid demonstrates a particular interest in something, find a way to nurture that interest. At a young age, don’t make it as much about skill as just what gets them excited, and really get into it with them.
Photography by Belle Savransky for Well Rounded.