The good news is that, research has proven that we can build a child’s confidence and help them stretch and aim high! Yes, some children just appear to be born with more confidence [the whole Nurture Vs. Nature debate] but as parents you can make a conscious effort to invest and raise you child’s sense of confidence.
For starters, here are THREE proven and practical ways:
Give them responsibilities - as parents, we often ‘show’ our love by constantly ‘doing’ things for our children, whether it be feeding our five-year old, packing our eight-year olds’ school bag or picking up after our 13-year old! Though your intent may be good, in the long run you are doing them a disservice! Instead, make them responsible for things around the home. From hanging up their uniforms, feeding the pet, sharpening pencils for school and yes even putting their dirty plates in the sink!
Let them make decisions- this does not mean that you let your child rule the roost here!! Rather, it means that when you involve your child in a family decision making process, it sends them a message that what they feel and think is valued. As they get more chances to make these choices and be heard in the family, it increases their sense of self worth. It could be simple ways like- asking your 8 year old ‘2 new movies have come out, which one do you think we should see?’, or letting your 5 year choose the clothes he/she would like to wear to the restaurant!
Create a ‘feel good’ factor – Just like for us adults, when a child does something that they are good at and get recognition for it, it gives them an ‘emotional high’. Help your child identify their strengths and create opportunities to showcase them. Whether it is a music recital at a family function or being the official family vacation photographer! By creating this ‘feel good’ factor, a child’s sense of meaningful contribution is reinforced, and this helps them take risks to expand their curiosity to experiment and try new things.
At this point I would like to emphasize that just because your child may be introverted it does not mean he has low confidence. Remember, introversion does not equal low self esteem! I will share more about this in the next blog!