Having a good level of self-confidence is essential if our children are to tackle the challenges that will appear throughout their lives. Of course, we would all like our children to have a good dose of self-confidence. However, having confidence in oneself is not something that is passed on through our genes; it is a question of education and the environment the child has grown up in. But how can we tell if our child has a high or low level of self-confidence?
Children with low self-confidence have a low opinion of themselves and more difficulty finding solutions to problems. For them, the challenges and changes that force them out of their comfort zone can cause anxiety and frustration. Their immediate response to a new challenge is usually ‘I can’t’.
These young people might have self-critical thoughts along the lines of ‘I don’t know how to do anything well’, or ‘I’m not good enough’ and usually react with passivity and indifference, but there are others who seem sad and withdrawn.
On the other hand, boys and girls who feel secure in themselves are able to manage their emotions well; they know how to deal with conflict and are able to put up with pressure before an exam or competition better. They are also usually optimistic and enthusiastic kids who smile a lot.
There is a close association between self-confidence and intellectual and physical abilities and interpersonal relationships. However, security is also connected to feelings and the knowledge that they are loved. A child who gets good marks but who does not feel loved can end up lacking self-confidence. But in the same way, another child who feels loved and supported by the family but who gets bad marks and has doubts about his or her abilities can also feel insecure.
As parents, we can help boost our children’s self-confidence by:
- Avoiding being overprotective
- Showing them we trust them by giving them the chance to decide for themselves
- Encouraging them to try new things and experiences
- Believing in their abilities and making sure they know we do
- Showing our recognition when they make an effort and do something well (whether this is with school work, or is arts or sports-related)
- Letting them make mistakes and sort out their problems by themselves (this does not mean abandoning them, but helping them to find solutions and suggest options)
- Keeping a positive attitude as regards their decisions
- Setting aside quality time for them. By spending more time with them in activities they like doing will give them our recognition and help them develop their interests and talents