One of the greatest legacies that we can give to our children is confidence. 

Having confidence will assist your children in their schooling, help them develop meaningful relationships, assist them in making better decisions as teenagers and be a great starting point for a successful career. 

So what are a few ways we can assist our kids in developing confidence?

Encourage them regularly:  This seems obvious, but research suggests that for every positive statement that children hear, there are up to 16 negative ones.  This is an astounding number that all parents need to be conscious of. 

Children do need boundaries and need to be disciplined when they do the wrong thing, but there needs to be a balance.  There are two techniques that can help us do this more intentionally, the Machine Gun approach and the Sniper approach.

The Machine Gun approach could also be named random acts of kindness.  It’s when we look for any possible opportunity to say something nice to your children.  Constantly and consistently expressing your love and pride to your children is a terrific culture to create in your household.  You don’t need a reason, just do it regularly.

The Sniper approach is when you deliberately and specifically commend your child for things that they have done well and that they feel good about. 

The weakness of only using the machine gun approach is that children learn that no matter what they do they will receive encouragement and it will lose its impact.  The weakness of only using the sniper approach is that you will only praise your child for something that they have done to meet a certain standard, which may on occasions prove to be elusive.  As you can see, a balanced approach to encouragement is important and you can never praise your child too much.

Help them to find their strengths:  One of the most effective ways of raising the confidence in children is to help them find what they are naturally good at. 

Whilst we would like our children to be well-rounded and balanced, the reality is that there will be some things that they have a natural propensity for.  It may be a subject at school, a hobby, an art-form or a specific sport, but giving them the chance to do what they are good and can be successful in can really boost their self-esteem and confidence.

Teach them how to speak with adults.  Many parents find this a challenge and as a result many kids are either disrespectful of adults or unable to converse with them.  If your child can look adults in the eye and hold a conversation with them, that is a great sign that they are feeling comfortable in their own skin and their confidence is increasing.

One of the best tips that I heard regarding this is to teach your child from a young age to shake hands and say their name when they meet someone for the first time.  Most adults respond really well to this and the ensuing conversation can assist your child in feeling confident in social situations.

Ease them into new experiences.  This is especially true of young children who rely on their parents for reassurance and security.  Just dropping children off to a new experience without seeing how they adjust has the potential for damaging side-effects with children feeling abandoned and alone, limiting their ability to feel confident. 

When your child starts something new, try to be there at the start (even if they protest), just to make sure they are OK.  It may seem inconvenient at the start, but the long-term benefits in an increased sense of well-being from your child will be worth it.

Be confident yourself:  You can’t give away what you don’t have.  This is especially true when it comes to confidence.  If you are unable to role-model confidence, your children won’t be able to learn this important skill.

You wouldn’t expect them to learn how to fish if you didn’t know how to do it yourself and the same is true of life skills like confidence.

I’ll be posting more about confidence in the future, but in the mean-time, please keep in mind that you can’t pass the buck on this one.  If you want confident children, you need to take responsibility for developing confidence in yourself first.

If you’re a parent, I hope that you would agree with me that one of the greatest legacies you can give your children is to teach them how to be confident.  I hope that these tips help you on your parenting journey and am aware that there are many other things that we can do to increase the confidence levels of our children.

Do you have any tips that you would like to share?

Previous post – Inspirational People – Winston Churchill

Next post – An Attitude of Gratitude