As parents, it is our duty to help our kids develop and flourish. We teach them right from wrong, share our beliefs about the world and how it works. We try to give them all the knowledge that they need to be strong, successful, capable and caring human beings. Part of helping our children develop, is aiding them in the development of their confidence and self-esteem. Here are a few ways, that parents can help build a good self-image for their child and ensure they have all the confidence that they need to take on the world.
- Don’t Talk Down – When talking to your child don’t talk down to them. Treat them like a human being and treat them like you would anyone else. Don’t be disparaging or tell them to “shut up”, “go away” or “stop bothering me”. Ensure that you are kind and positive with them. The things that we say to our children become their inner voice. When we say rude or harsh things, we break down their self-esteem and confidence, but when we are kind and treat them with respect, we help to build them up and create a positive inner voice. You don’t want your child to carry the emotional baggage you place on them throughout their life. Think about the things you remember from your life. The bad things don’t just get erased. Sometimes they can be even more memorable than the good. We all have our days where we get frustrated and tired. We are only human beings. Do yourself and your child a favor and only treat them like you would treat someone else. This will do them and their mental health a world of good. If you are getting upset with your children, take that as a cue to deal with your own self-care needs. It is your issue, so don’t put it onto them.
- Positive Reinforcement – When your child does something good or makes you proud tell them. Your child will love it. Kids like knowing that they have made their parents happy. Using positive reinforcement helps to ensure that your child not only continues the good behavior but also makes them feel good. When they hear how good they have done at something, it builds their confidence and makes them feel capable. Positive reinforcement has been shown in studies to be just as, if not more effective, then negative reinforcement (punishment), in getting a desired behaviour to occur. It is important not to give out praise for things that truly don’t deserve it though. This could send mixed messages and cause your child to lower their standards or beliefs about what is acceptable.
- Find Success – Find tasks and activities that you know your child is capable of achieving, even if it takes some practice, and get them to do it. When they successfully accomplish the task, give them lots of positive reinforcement. If your child fails along the way, that is okay too. It will help them learn how to cope when they don’t get something right all the time. Kids needs to understand that failure is a part of learning and a normal part of life. When your child does see success, it will help boost your child’s confidence and give them the courage to try new things or more complicated tasks in the future.
- Encourage Them– When your child tries something new, needs help or fails at something, give them encouragement. Be understanding and allow them forgiveness when they don’t do something correctly. Letting them know that you believe in them, and that you think they are capable will help them gain confidence to try again or keep going. Don’t be scared to give a pep talk, or remind them of the things they are good at. Everyone needs a little reminder and a bit of a push to keep going sometimes. When they start thinking negatively be their cheerleader. This will help to change their own inner dialogue for the better, resulting in increased confidence and self-esteem.
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