Becoming an Empowered Parent

Looking to Build your child’s Self-Confidence? 

Aug 10, 2023

Can you remember the times you felt your self-confidence grow? 

Was it was when you pushed through something hard?  Did something you didn’t really feel completely comfortable doing, but were successful at?  Did something you didn’t think you could do, but did it?  Maybe even after failing several times? 

So many parents want to build self confidence in their kids by telling them they are smart, good at sports, kind to animals, etc.  

And this is good!  Still do this - but really evaluate if it is helping them to feel good about themselves and if that feeling is fleeting or lasts. 

Even if it’s fleeting - it’s still worth it to do - do it to make them feel good in the moment and you will feel good too!  There's nothing wrong with that.  But be realistic.  Switch your expectations with it.  Know that you are doing it to help them feel good in the moment but that that might not be enough to build their self- confidence.  

If they need more help and their self-confidence is struggling, look for the areas you could let them struggle a bit, and have a breakthrough with.  

Maybe they struggle with peers. 

What about looking for one friend you feel like they could be successful with and then structuring a play date - set them up for success.  Maybe keep it short and simple, so it can be positive the whole time and a time when you can be close by for coaching if needed.  

Maybe they struggle with a chore to help out the family. 

What about breaking the chore down into really small stages and doing it with them until they feel ready to do it on their own.  

Maybe they struggle walking into school on their own.  What about looking for strategies?  Listening, validating, simplifying if needed.  Sometimes doing this for a couple of weeks, instead of fighting to get them inside, just listening and validating might be all that is needed. 

If you are in the classroom with a struggling child, look for areas you can help them grow.  Instead of making them the class helper (which is great - but might only help them for the day) - look for the areas they struggle with and see if you can break it down to smaller steps.  

Maybe they struggle with quiet independent work time - could you pair a student with them that could be helpful? Or have them do that work with a classroom helper and gradually wean them off of the 1-1 help? 

Maybe they struggle with recess - Could they do only 5 min of recess with the other kids and then before they get overwhelmed and it goes negative, maybe switch to something less overwhelming for the rest of the recess time?  

Breaking things down into small manageable steps to reach your (their) goals is the way to go!  

Another way to build self confidence is to let them set goals.  Don’t stress if they don’t get it the first time - let them fail until they get it!  Share stories with them of when YOUR self confidence grew and maybe some failures you had while you were trying hard new things. .  

For those of you starting to journal, this might be a good thing to journal out your thoughts.  When did YOUR self-confidence grow the most?  What do you do to build your self-confidence?  When other people tell you you are smart or pretty, or kind, or thoughtful, does that build your self-confidence or does it make you feel a different feeling?  When was the last time you took on something hard and stuck to the daily tasks required to meet that goal?  How did you feel after?  Did your confidence grow? How could you help your child have those same experiences?