Self-confidence - or faith in oneself - is needed to achieve in school and in life. Parents have a tremendous influence over their children's level of self-confidence.
The importance of self-confidence cannot be overstated. Two aspects of self-confidence - the belief in our capabilities to be successful and an understanding of how our actions determine our rewards - are critically important in career development. Our belief in our own abilities determines how we feel, think, motivate ourselves, and behave. Without self-confidence, we avoid challenges and commitment. We feel greater anxiety and stress in new or difficult situations. We have lower aspirations. When we don't succeed, we focus on our personal deficiencies.
What can I do to help my child become more self-confident?
The more experiences children have, the more confidence they will have in their abilities to do many different activities. Create opportunities for both success and challenge. In challenging situations, support perseverance and sustained effort.
Provide positive reinforcement:
- Reward and praise your child's achievements. You do not have to point out a child's weaknesses - the child knows them. Focus on strengths.
- Take part in your child's activities. Attend plays, recitals, school activities, and sporting events. Drive your child and his or her friends to movies, concerts, and other outings.
- Be active in you child's school. Your child will take their school more seriously knowing that you are attending teacher parent conferences, career nights, and other parent events.
- Encourage your child to explore his or her dreams, try new things, and become more independent.
- Create situations in which your child can succeed. Avoid prematurely placing him or her in situations in which failure is likely.
- Keep an open mind and be positive about your child's choices. Your open-mindedness will, in turn, help your child be open to your concerns should one of his or her choices be unreasonable or unacceptable.
- Help your child become increasingly more self-reliant. Children need to learn to take care of themselves as they get older. Self-reliance empowers them!
- Talk about how your child sees success. Is it through creative expression, fulfillment of a personal goal, financial independence, career or educational achievements, social standing, or community involvement?
- Help your child look at decisions in terms of his or her definition of success.