CHILDREN AND CONFIDENCE: Are you building it or destroying it?

Wouldn’t we all love to see our children whether young or not go about life as confident beings? I bet so!! However, the challenge comes in on how to help your child become as confident as he or she should be.

This article has been written to guide us on what works best when it comes to helping our children become confident. It will focus mostly on how to work around responding to our children’s work and their level of performance in any activity they engage in. Be it academic activities, games or sports, or even in their relationships with friends and family.

Diving right in, the most important thing is to talk to your child about these activities. Contrary to popular belief, don’t be so quick to tell him if he has done a good job or not. First, find out how he feels about what he has done. Many times when a child does something parents are so quick to tell him or her that he has done a good job without finding out first how he feels about the work and his performance.

The result of this is that:

1. It makes the child unsure about the feelings and thoughts about his performance which causes even more self-doubt.

2. The doubt results in him constantly looking outward for validation or for someone to tell him he has done well.

3. He will miss the chance of  learning that it’s okay to not do a very good job in the moment. That in life it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them

4. He is instead going to learn that results are more important than the learning process. So in life he will be more driven to get results even if it means he cuts corners. Our aim should be to teach him the importance of trusting the process and trusting in his capability to do better next time.

How does one avoid these?

Try talking to him about his work while refraining as much as possible from giving your opinion. This is because it is his work meaning it is his learning experience and his mistake to correct and learn from.

Yours is to show interest in his thoughts, to track how he feels about himself and to challenge with love the thoughts and emotions that are negative. When you think he has done great, it could be great to your eyes but maybe to him he feels he could do better. Hence why it is more encouraged to work with his thoughts and his self evaluation.

So for example, if he does something say an exam and he gets what you consider to be good results, ask him how he feels about them first. If he says he feels good, tell him something like, “Okay, that’s good to hear! I am proud of you”. If he feels they are not good, ask him what he feels he could have done differently and how he is going to work to get the results he desires then still let him know you are proud of him.

The aim is to let him know you are proud of him regardless of whether he does great or not so that he doesn’t go about life unsure of whether he is worthy of love especially when he makes a mistake. This will protect him or her from always seeking perfection and living in doubt about himself.

If you don’t think the results are good be sure to still ask him how he feels about the performance if he feels he has done his best acknowledge that you are proud of him asking him how he would like to perform next time and how he will work towards that. If he feels he did very well but you think he could do better, ask him what he would like to get next time but make it clear that you are proud of him and that you believe in his potential.

Please note saying that you are proud of him is different from saying that you have done a good job. Of importance is to take caution to not  try to change his mind when he says he feels he hasn’t done a good job. Instead find out how he would like to perform, how he thinks he will get there and how you can help him get there.

If it is in relation to behaviour, ask him how feels about his behaviour and how he thinks he would feel if the same was done to him. It helps him to learn empathy and compassion for others. More on matters child disciplining has been explained in this article.

Still having trouble helping your child feel more confident? Contact us on 0708146415 or email psycheinterventionske@gmail.com. We understand that raising healthy children means building a healthy nation. Therefore, we take our work with children seriously and we purpose to nurture their enormous potential.

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