Boosting Your Child’s Confidence!

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What is confidence? Seems simple but what a confusing question!

  1. Is it an ability?
  2. Is it my trust that I can do it?
  3. Is it courage?
  4. Is it trying?
  5. And how do we measure it?
  6. Is there any barometer?

While attending a function at a school, I overheard a mother sitting next to me complaining to her son “Look at that child at the stage how confident he is!” That forced me to think. Is this a barometer of confidence! The function got over and while coming out I saw a child fell on the ground and was crying and her mother was commanding; “Nothing happened! Get up! Hurry up!” Suddenly the same child who was sitting next to me went to the child, smiled & offered his hand and helped him getting up! This left me confused, what is this isn’t this confidence; courage to help someone but this unselfish act went unnoticed!
So before I could think of how to measure confidence, I was forced to think what exactly is confidence?
Dictionary says “Confidence is an ability to do something with a belief that I can do it or let me try.”
Confidence is mainly of two types:
Self Confidence: Self confidence is the belief that I have the ability to do something or have ability to learn to do something.
Social Confidence: Social confidence is an ability to interact, with others.
Now the next question arises:
Which is more Important – Self Confidence or Social Confidence? And is there any difference?
It’s a common complaint of many parents that my child is stubborn, he doesn’t listen to me!
Let us analyze this concern…
A common definition of self confidence is “Believing in yourself and achieving what you want”! So if the child does the same why is he labeled stubborn! What he believes is what he wants. Therefore, the child already has that confidence of sticking to what he wants! The difference lies in the understanding! The child has a different understanding of the things as of adult and that understanding varies from child to child. So the problem is not the child, the root cause of the problem is misunderstanding.

“One important key to success is social–confidence. An important key to social–confidence is self–confidence.”

So why not to correct that misunderstanding? Now the question arises how to fill in the gap of understanding; “Just by telling & yelling”? What usually happens in a parent–child relationship is, a parent tells, tells & tells and after few attempts of telling s/he loses patience and starts to yell at the child ruining the child’s self esteem. What a parent needs is loads of empathy, innovation & most importantly, patience. How many times have you come across an advertisement on TV where there is only text written on the screen one after another telling about the benefits of the product! Companies make all the efforts to make customers understand the need of that product. Once it is done, customers thrive to get more information about that company’s products. Just like companies come with innovative ways to impress their customers;. same applies here, only telling the child doesn’t make him/ her understand the need of the action. How many times your parents told you something which you didn’t listen to? You may repent it years after; but the bottom line is that “If telling was enough there would be ideal children all around”. Show him/ her by being a practical example through YOUR actions! This way the child listens agrees and acts; & all this, without compromising on child’s self-esteem & self-belief. Hence, the problem gets resolved & that too within a win-win situation.
Now going back to the same question: Self Confidence or Social Confidence?
Many celebrities & artists have great self-confidence but may not have lots of social-confidence and vice-versa. Similarly, many people may be good at interacting with others but may not be very confident in making self decisions.
Self Confidence in itself is a building block of Social Confidence. Social Confidence relates to communication & interpersonal skills which can be acquired but Self Confidence is a belief in oneself which once formed – positive or negative – gets complicated to change.
So, how we – parents can be instrumental in increasing our child’s Self Confidence? We can surely increase the child’s confidence by becoming a guiding force. What we need is to empathize with the child and evolving him/her from his/her own nature. Few golden rules for the same are:

  • Whenever you want to tell anything, keep it short & simple. Children tend to turn parent-deaf, if they are told things with long lectures.
  • Don’t say it over & over again. This loses the significance & again leads to the child turning parent-deaf. Give soft reminders if you want to reiterate. For e.g. instead of – “How many times have I told you to keep your shoes at the right place?” – say: “Hey I forgot the place where you decided to keep your shoes, where was that?”
  • Never criticize &/ or condemn the Child. If any task is not done show your disappointment & concern for that Task & not for the Child, because surely, the intention is not to let down or belittle the child but make him/ her understand the action (or inaction, as the case may be). Once you have shown the concern, ask for a better solution from the child. For example: “When I come back from work your messy room upsets me, and I am too tired to clear the mess. What should we do about it?” Most likely the child will offer a solution, if you feel it is inappropriate, try to negotiate & reach on a win-win (a win for you as well as for the child) situation.
  • Appreciate the child’s efforts, even if it is less than 100% and extend your help in making that 100%.
  • Respect & understand the child just like you try doing with adults. It is much more important than merely loving the child.
    Keep realistic expectations & analyze every-time an expectation is not met.
  • Every child is different! Never expect anything only because some other child does/ excels in it. This will decrease the child’s self esteem and s/he is more likely to develop as passive adolescent.
  • Give positive feedback as often as possible & help him/ her overcome shortcomings by developing a plan of action with the child. For e.g : It is great that you preferred eating healthy meal over chips. You are being responsible towards your health! Let’s make a menu for the healthy meal choices that you like too.

Every child needs self–confidence to be successful in life & this is the best gift you, as a parent, can give to yours…

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