Raising a Confident Child
These tips will definitely help you raise a confident child
You need to boost your child’s self-esteem in order to make them successful in life. Self-confidence is extremely important in children. As they progress and move forward in life, this confidence is one of the key traits that help him or her make decisions in life. Your job, as parents, is to help the child realize him or her self-worth and the child should see himself or herself as someone who can make things happen and who can take charge and take big decisions. When a child is raised with confidence and self-esteem, he or she will know all their strengths and weaknesses and can take decisions based on this realistic information of his or her own personality.
Read the complete article to learn how to raise a confident child!
Practice Attachment Parenting
Put yourself in the place of a baby who spends many hours a day in a caregiver’s arms, is worn in a sling, breastfed on cue, and her cries are sensitively responded to. How do you imagine this baby feels?
This baby feels loved; this baby feels valuable. Ever had a special day when you got lots of strokes and showered with praise? You probably felt very appreciate and loved. The infant on the receiving end of this high-touch style of parenting develops self-worth. She likes what she feels.
Responsiveness is the key to infant self-value. Baby gives a cue, for example, crying to be fed or comforted. A caregiver responds promptly and consistently. As this cue-response pattern is repeated many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times during the first year baby learns that her cues have meaning: “Someone listens to me, therefore, I am worthwhile.”
Of course, you can’t always respond promptly or consistently. It’s the predominant pattern that counts. You will have days when you are short on patience. Babies pick out the prevailing parenting style and form impressions. As baby gets older it becomes important for him to learn how to deal with healthy frustration, as this will teach him to adjust to change. The important thing is that you are there for him; that’s the message on which baby builds his sense of self.
But what if I didn’t practice all those attachment styles of parenting, you may wonder? Don’t be too hard on yourself. Babies are resilient and, of course, it’s never too late to start the habits that help raise a confident child. Getting to know your child and seeing things from his point of view will help you help him learn to trust himself. This kind of nurturing cements together the blocks of self-worth, and can also repair them. Still, the earlier the cement is applied, the smoother it goes on and the stronger it sticks.
Improve Your Own Self-Confidence
Parenting is therapeutic. In caring for your child you often heal yourself. A mother with a high-need baby in our practice once declared, “My baby brings out the best and the worst in me.” If there are problems in your past that affect your present parenting, confront them. Get psychological help if they are interfering with your ability to remain calm and parent effectively.
Raise a Confident Child by Healing Your Past
A child’s self-esteem is acquired, not inherited. Certain parenting traits and certain character traits, such as anger and fearfulness, are learned in each generation. Having a baby gives you the chance to become the parent you wish you had. If you suffer from low self-confidence, especially if you feel it’s a result of how you were parented, take steps to heal yourself and break the family pattern. Try this exercise to help raise a confident child (therapists call this “passing on the best, and discarding the rest”)
- List the specific things your parents did to build your self-image.
- List the specific things your parents did to weaken your self-image.
Now resolve to emulate the good things your parents did and avoid the rest. If you find it difficult to follow through with this exercise on your own, get help from a professional. Both you and your child will benefit
Don’t Be Too Hard on Your Parents
They probably did the best they could, given their circumstances and the prevailing advice of the times. I remember once hearing a grandmother say to a mother, “I was a good mother to you. I followed exactly the schedule the doctor gave me.” This new mother felt that some of her present problems stemmed from the rigid scheduling that she endured when she was a baby. She was determined to learn to read her baby’s cues. I reminded her not to blame her own mother because the prevailing parenting practice at the time was to follow the “experts’” advice on child-rearing. The current mother, however, is more comfortable becoming the expert on her own child.
Address Your Child by Name
What’s in a name? The person, the self—little or big. I can still remember my grandfather impressing on me the value of using and remembering peoples’ names. This lesson has proved profitable. One year I was a pre-med student competing with a bunch of marketing majors for a summer sales job. After I landed the job I inquired why I, though less qualified, had been hired. “Because you remembered and used the names of all of your interviewers.” Addressing your child by name, especially when accompanied by eye contact and touch, exudes a “you’re special” message. Beginning an interaction by using the other person’s name opens doors, breaks barriers and even softens corrective discipline. Children learn to associate how you use their name with the message you have and the behavior you expect. Parents often use a child’s nickname or first name only in casual dialogue, “Jimmy, I like what you are doing.” They beef up the message by using the full name to make a deeper impression, “James Michael Sears, stop that!” One child we’ve heard about refers to his whole name as his “mad name” because that’s what he hears when his parents are angry at him. We have noticed that children with self-confidence more frequently address their peers and adults by name or title. Their own self-worth allows them to be more direct in their communication with others. Our two-year-old Lauren dashes by my desk chirping: “Hi, Dad!” The addition of “Dad” impressed me more than an impersonal “Hi!” A school-age child who is comfortable addressing adults by name will be better able to ask for help when needed.
Practice the Carry-Over Principle
To raise a confident child as she gets older, encourage her talents. She can do well at something, whether as a two-year-old who packs exceptional pretend picnics or a ten-year- old who loves ballet. Over the years, we’ve noticed a phenomenon we call the carry-over principle: enjoying one activity boosts a child’s self-image, and this carries over into other endeavors. One of our sons is a natural athlete, but he wasn’t interested in academics. Operating on the carry-over principle, we encouraged his enjoyment of athletics while supporting him as he worked on the academics. The schoolwork improved as his overall self-confidence increased. Recognize your child’s special talents, and help her build on them, then watch the whole person blossom.
Raise a Confident Child by Losing Labels
“I’m asthmatic,” seven-year-old Greg proudly said to me when I inquired why he came to my office. Indeed, Greg did have asthma, but the physical problem was much easier to treat than the emotional side effects of his label. A few puffs of a bronchial dilator and his wheezing cleared, but his label persisted. I mentioned privately to Greg’s mother that there are two issues to address in any child with a chronic illness: the problem itself, and the child’s and family’s reactions to the problem. Every child searches for an identity and, when found, clings to it like a trademark. “Asthmatic” had become Greg’s label, and he wore it often. His whole day revolved around his ailment, and his family focused on this part of Greg instead of on the whole person. Instead of feeling compassion, Greg’s brothers and sisters had become tired of planning their lives around Greg’s asthma. They couldn’t go on certain trips because Greg might get too tired. It became a family illness, and all, except Greg, were put into roles they didn’t like.
To take away Greg’s label would be to take away Greg’s self-esteem. So, we made a deal. I would treat Greg’s asthma; the family would enjoy Greg, and we all worked at giving “the asthmatic” a healthier label to wear.
Do You Owe Your Child Self-Esteem?
Parents may misunderstand the meaning of self-esteem and feel that this is just one more thing they are required to give their child along with regular meals and a warm winter jacket. They guard against anything that may undercut self-esteem – to the point where it becomes ridiculous. (“Oh, Billy, you don’t really sing flat. You’re just tonally challenged.”) They measure self-esteem daily, as one might take a temperature. (“Julie’s self-esteem is low today. Her big brother beat her at checkers last night.”)
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