Raising Confident Children
It takes confidence to be a kid. Whether going to a new school or stepping up to bat for the first time, children face a lot of uncharted territory.
Naturally, parents want to instill a can-do attitude in their children so that they will bravely take on new challenges and, over time, believe in themselves. While each child is a little different, parents can follow some general guidelines to build children's' confidence.
Self-confidence rises out of a sense of competence. In other words, children develop confidence not because parents tell them they are great, but because of their achievements, big and small. Sure, it is good to hear encouraging words from mom and dad. But words of praise mean more when they refer to a child's specific efforts or new abilities.
When children achieve something, whether it is brushing their own teeth or riding a bike, they get a sense of themselves as able and capable, and tap into that high-octane fuel of confidence.
Building self-confidence can begin very early. When babies learn to turn the pages of a book or toddlers learn to walk, they are getting the idea "I can do it!" With each new skill and milestone, children can develop increasing confidence.
Parents can help by giving children lots of opportunities to practice and master their skills, letting children make mistakes and being there to boost their spirits so they keep trying. Respond with interest and excitement when children show off a new skill, and reward them with praise when they achieve a goal or make a good effort.
With plentiful opportunities, good instruction, and lots of patience from parents, children can master basic skills - like tying their shoes and making the bed. Then, when other important challenges present themselves, children can approach them knowing that they have already been successful in other areas.
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