Tools for building self-confidence in your kidsMar 12, 2021
Helping your child build self-confidence...
Does your child have self-confidence issues? There are simple things that you can do as a parent to help your child build confidence. As parents, our voices can become our child’s inner voice and we help shape their identity and how they see themselves. Just becoming aware of this can help you parent more consciously so you can help your child build confidence.
I faced this with my daughter when she was going into second grade. She was really upset because she wasn’t going to be in the same class as any of her friends. Have you had a similar situation where your child comes to you with a problem and they want you to fix it? As parents, we want the road to be easy for our children… However, that is not what helps them develop confidence and resilience.
I know that it’s hard as a parent to see your child struggle, but there are things that you can do to support your child as they work through difficult situations. This is one of the tools in the Conscious Parenting Toolbox. It’s easy and prepares you so you know exactly what to do next time your child comes to you with a problem.
It starts with understanding how our brains work. Our brains are one of the most powerful problem solving tools available to us, but they are also very literal and have no sense of humor. So when we say “I can’t” or some version of “I don’t know how”, we shut down our brains from working on any solutions because we have already stated that we don’t know how.
The first step is to simply catch the thought.
Start training your own brain to notice when your child says “I can’t” or “I don’t know”. You could also make it a game with your children. Let them know that you are going to try to catch when their brain tries to tell them they don’t know how and have them try to catch when you say “I don’t know” too. You may be surprised at how often your brain offers you that thought too!
In my case, my daughter came to me and said “I don’t have any friends in my class”. The underlying theme was that she didn’t know how she was going to make new friends.
The second step is to connect with your child and address what they are feeling.
Unknown situations can be uncomfortable, and our brain wants to make us afraid of them. A quick hug and confirmation that what they are feeling is normal and okay helps comfort them, and helps get them to a place where they are more receptive to the next steps.
When it was my daughter, I gave her a hug and told her that I knew that she was really disappointed because she wanted to be in the same class as her friends and that it was okay to be disappointed.
The third step is to challenge the thought and reinforce their ability to figure it out.
Look for past examples when your child learned how to do something new or figured out how to solve a problem. You want to offer their brain past proof that it has learned how to do new things so you open the door to the possibility that they can find a solution and you help build their identity as a problem solver.
You can simply tell them that they are really good at learning new things and figuring things out and giving them past examples of new things that they learned how to do and problems that they solved. You are not always going to be with them, so you want them to be able to talk themselves through problems when you’re not there. Your voice becomes the voice in their head. You want them to start thinking of themselves as someone that is good at solving problems and figuring things out. Continually reinforcing that they are good at it and giving them examples will help build their confidence and identity.
With my daughter, after I had comforted her I reminded her that she was really good at making new friends. I gave her the example of a good friend that she had made the year before. She didn’t know her friend before the school year started, and she had developed a wonderful friendship with her over the school year.
The final step is to ask your child questions that will get their brain working on a solution.
Remember, our brains are very literal and will shut down when we think that they can’t or don’t know how. Alternatively, our brains will start working on any questions that we ask of it, so it’s a great time to reaffirm that your child is really good at figuring things out and ask them where they might start.
This is what that might look like:
Hmmm… I know that you’re really good at figuring things out and learning new things.
How do you think we can do this together?
As they get older, you want to get their brains working on possible solutions.
What is one thing that you might be able to do to get started?
What is one new thing that you could learn that would help you do this?
I asked my daughter how she had made new friends in the past, and what was one thing that she could think of that she would do when she got to school.
Reinforcing your child’s identity, having them think of themselves as someone that is good at solving problems, and teaching them how to tap into their own brains for ideas will help make them so much more confident and open to learning new things. This will have a huge positive impact on how they approach the challenges that they will face throughout their life.
As parents, we can teach our children how to work with their brains to get it to support them and help them solve their problems. If we help our children learn how to access their own brains to solve problems, they will be more confident that they can handle the challenges that will come their way in life if they have the attitude that they can figure it out.
In my daughter’s case, we used this a number of years in a row as she ended up in classes without close friends all through elementary school. By the time she got to 5th grade, she was actually telling me it was no big deal and had already picked out the girl that she was going to get to know better before school started. My daughter is now 17 and literally tells me that she is the most socially confident teen that she knows. Looking back, I desperately wanted to rearrange things for her so she could be in a class with a friend… but I am so glad that I didn’t. She ended up building so much more confidence and resilience, and developed the identity of someone that is very comfortable socially and makes friends easily.
This is just one of the tools in the Conscious Parenting Toolbox, and I hope that you found it helpful and easy to implement. If you need more help or want more information, please reach out to me and line up a call… I’m here to help!
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