Contributed by Brittany Mershon, MA
One of the questions I am frequently asked as a therapist is, “How can I help my child to be more confident?” Confidence is a multifaceted concept to address. First, confidence is not a feeling, it’s a commitment. Confidence is not the absence of fear, but rather a commitment to seeing a decision through in spite of fear. Raising confident children can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Here is a list of tips to help you through the process:
- Model Confidence. Children mimic behavior they observe from those around them, especially their parents. Parents who show confidence, even in the face of fear, will help their children learn to do the same.
- Embrace Failures. It sounds counter-intuitive, but children who fear failure are more likely to fail. Children and adults alike who are successful learn to overcome failure early in life. They learn that fearing failure causes one to act more cautiously and fear taking risks that might cause unsuccessful results. Celebrating their best effort and modeling mistakes can be learning experiences that will help confidence to grow.
- Embrace Success. Fear of success is a common fear that can cause children to focus on the negative aspects of doing well. Success could mean more responsibility or increased expectations. It is important to share with children the benefits of success.
- Embrace Change. Many children are creatures of habit. Much like many adults, the threat of change can be intimidating. Even if the ‘change’ is positive, children often fear the unknown. Seek to understand what it is that is ultimately holding your child back from embracing change, and then work to help them overcome or work around it.