Child clutches father's leg while holding soccer ball

Secrets to Raising Self-Confident Children

It’s painful for parents to see their children struggling with self-confidence issues. Their kids might be afraid to face challenges, lack courage, or have concerns about maturing. And as parents, it’s only natural to worry about how this can consequently impact their future.

But parents can help build confidence in their children. Self-confidence comes from a sense of competence—a positive and realistic perception of one’s abilities. And this sense of competence is built from both small and large achievements in life, along with encouragement from others—notably parents.

So along with loving and accepting them unconditionally, here are some tips for raising a self-confident child.

Be the Coach!

Instead of being in control and doing everything for your child, guide them and let them have their own experiences. Doing everything for your kids doesn’t allow them the opportunity to develop, become competent, and flourish. But doing things with your kids helps guide them, teaches them how to do things themselves, and builds their confidence in their own abilities.

Set Rules & Be Consistent

Kids feel more secure and confident when they have consistency and know what to expect. So don’t be afraid to set rules and be consistent with enforcing your rules. Your kids will thrive with rules and structure because they’ll know what is expected of them and what they can and can’t do.

Let Them Find & Be Themselves

Let your kids act their age and make their own age-appropriate choices. Don’t expect them to act like mature adults, because they aren’t. And having these high expectations will only set them up for failure, discouragement, and a lack of confidence in their abilities.

Help Them Express Their Feelings

Your child’s feelings, whether positive or negative, are healthy reactions. So don’t be afraid of their negative emotions and try to remove the source of their anger or frustration immediately.

Instead, show compassion and confidence in them and help them to communicate their feelings. Once they’ve been allowed to cry, sulk, or grieve, they will be ready to pick themselves up again and become more resilient in the process.

Examples of this kind of help can include:

  • “I’m sorry this is so hard. It’s okay to feel frustrated.”
  • “It’s really disappointing when…”
  • “This isn’t how you hoped it would turn out…”

Set Them Up for Success

You can help your child build confidence by helping them succeed when trying new manageable challenges. Your help can include demonstrating how to do something, suggesting a strategy, or simply being by their side to help if they need it.

Instill a Sense of Independence & Adventure

Confident children are more willing to try new things without being held back by a fear of failure. So, encourage a sense of independence in your kids by setting them up and giving them the space to do things on their own while supervising from a distance.

For example, show your child how to make a sandwich, and then step back and let them make it on their own without intervening.

Also, take them on trips to the park, friends’ houses, on vacations, or get them into a new hobby to expand their horizons and help them gain confidence in their ability to handle new situations.

Encourage & Teach Self-Encouragement

Your child needs encouragement to feel motivated and positive about themselves, which will also help to build an inner voice that will encourage them throughout their lives. Words of encouragement that can become inner-voice mantras for your kids include:

  • “Practice makes perfect.”
  • “I think I can. I think I can.”
  • “If you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

Support Their Dreams

If your child dreams of growing up to have a specific career, and doing something meaningful and fulfilling in their life, they will feel more confident, especially if their dreams are supported by you.

So don’t try to lower their expectations about their future. Instead, talk to them about how you, your partner, and other adults they know chose their careers. And if their dreams change over time, let them know that’s okay, too.

Teach Resilience

Resilience and self-confidence go hand in hand. If your child is allowed to fail, make mistakes, and encounter setbacks, all while being encouraged to keep trying, they can learn how to be competent and resilient. So let your child go through challenges so they can build inner strength.

Promote Positive Self-Talk

Positive self-talk empowers us to master challenging tasks. But many of us make self-disparaging comments instead. And if your child hears you put yourself or them down, they will model that behaviour and develop the habit of putting themselves down.

So, make an effort to stop yourself before you say anything negative about either yourself or your child. And only say positive things instead so your child will learn positive self-talk to keep them empowered to take on life’s challenges.

Encourage Curiosity

If your child asks a lot of questions, that’s a good thing since it helps their development and understanding that there are many things they don’t know and a whole world of knowledge they can learn.

So instead of discouraging your child when they ask questions, encourage them. It will only help them to learn more and develop a better understanding of the world so they can be confident.

Confidence can be hindered by discouragement and fear. So to raise confident children, help them with encouragement, positive behaviours, and unconditional love.

When your child is confident, they will be better able to take on the world without fear of failure and live their best life.