10 Good Parenting Ways to Nurture Confident Kids
More than the academics and more than excelling in school plays, sports, and their dance recitals, I had a dream of raising and nurturing confident kids before I even planned to have any children. I always knew that children need a strong sense of self and an attitude that they are more than capable for them to become successful later on in their life. But, knowing this is only a healthy start to a long journey to cultivating a next generation that is self-assured and capable of persevering through this thing called life. This week, I really want to share some strategies to nurture confidence in kids, because I think that we, as parents, know we need to coach our kids to become self-reliant and self-confident but we’re unsure of HOW to do it. Here are my 10 tips and mindsets that helped me foster confidence and independence in my teen girls.
Let kids be kids
A child’s confidence comes from their imaginative play – let your kids initiate play because that can actually increase their self-worth. You kids will gain confidence knowing that mom and dad will follow their lead, especially in something that they have interest in. Be careful: the sure way to thwart their creativity in play is to take over! By allowing your child guide the play and going along with it, you are doing some good parenting! Allowing their creative minds to go, go, go builds their individuality and self-confidence.
Celebrate the little wins
Let them problem solve on their own
The term helicopter parent, or now the more prominent bubble wrap parent is very common amongst our current generation of parents. We naturally have the best good parenting intentions, but is it worth it at the expense of raising overly-dependent and incapable children? Whenever my kids ask me to help them with simple problems that I know for sure that they can figure out on their own, I sing them this little phrase that I once heard somewhere, “try to solve the problem yourself, and you’ll feel prouuud.”
When your kids drill you with endless questions at rapid speed, it can be overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to find a parking spot and they just won’t take a hint to let you be until you’re available. However, it is of the utmost good parenting importance not to discourage their questions and their curiosity. Questions are so crucial in a child’s cognitive development, they enable our children to learn better and faster in the long run. If your child asks more than one question at a time, simply ask “Which question would you like me to answer first?” It works, every time!
Praise their efforts no matter how small
Praising our children’s’ talents stunts their hunger to work hard and develop a work ethic to try their very best. They feel that they may be smart enough, or brilliant enough that they can forgo the hard work of becoming better. Hence, they make it a habit of doing everything based off of their natural gifts instead of challenging themselves to improve. It is a vital part of good parenting that we praise their efforts when our kids are young and teach them that the fact is that hard work will prevail when talent doesn't.
Challenge them often
Confident kids need challenges in their lives to keep their confidence up. The thrill of overcoming a problem gives a child a sense of accomplishment, which helps them self-validate and increase their self-worth. How can you do that? Give them a difficult task or problem to solve on their own. Don’t help them with it. It may take days, weeks, or months to figure out. These are the challenges that keep all of us interested and our minds sharp. If you child grows frustrated, encourage them by sharing a problem that took you years to solve...think about it. We all have one or two!
Teach them that failures are opportunities to learn
Helping our children to avoid defeat is one of the biggest good parenting struggles I see in kids today. When mom and dad try to create a “perfect” façade for their kids, the child loses their self-image and wonder why they are never good enough for their parents to love them as they are. Failures allow kids to thrive in their independence and maturity; it also helps them see failures as opportunities to learn. When kids fear failure, they are more likely not to challenge themselves to be better in their adult years.
“Be careful” could inhibit their sense of adventure
I understand this because as a mother, we are always stressing with the anxiety that your child may get hurt, regardless of how good our parenting may be. I learned to say “Oh, that behavior is making me nervous” rather than “Be careful.” It’s not perfect, I know but at least I placed my anxiety where it belonged...on me! I realize now how crucial it is to exhibit good parenting by setting my kids free to chase after their adventures without my worry on their shoulders!
Avoid creating shortcuts or making it easier for your kids
As parents, we hope that we have good parenting skills to help our kids turn out okay. Sometimes, when we see our kids going through something complicated, it is tempting for us to step in and ease their pain or struggles. When we create shortcuts or we help our kids avoid conflict, we are enabling them to become more dependent on us in the future. Understandably, we can assist our children on their journey depending on their skills and their age, but just remember to think logically through the consequences of your actions before you do.
Expose them to peers of all ages
Getting your kids around different people of different age groups and ethnic backgrounds is such a confidence boost for your children. It is a good parenting exercise to allow your kids to get in touch with learning about their own culture and who they are when they are exposed to and learn to accept others in their world. I have always made it a habit to get my kids to introduce themselves by making eye-contact, shaking hands with, and saying “nice to meet you” to people older than them. You can see the excitement and the glimmer in their eyes as the adult lights up at being greeted. Do you want some guidance on trying out some of these tips? I’d love to chat with you on any of these and more tips.