The confident child is self assured, doesn’t suffer from self-doubt or anxiety, and believes in themselves. This child doesn’t second guess themselves, or allow anxiety to take over when faced with difficult decisions.
Self assured children are not afraid to say how they feel, are assertive, confident in expressing themselves, believe in their values, beliefs or opinions, and know who they are. The confident child does not depend on the approval of other children, does not need everybody to like them, is not an approval seeker, and has the confidence to show discernment when choosing friends.
Parents can assist their children with their confidence by being supportive of their child, and by acknowledging that their child is a little person seperate from themselves. Children should be free to explore their surroundings, and to make mistakes, without their parent’s responding to their independence with over protective, oppressive, or controlling behaviour.
Confidence as arrogance
Confidence should never be mistaken for as arrogance. Arrogance is a false sense of confidence, which masks deep seated insecurities, and other problems. Children who mistake arrogance as confidence, often mirror arrogance in their parents, and expect that this arrogance will be seen by the outside world as confidence. Confidence is not nasty, condescending, or down putting of other people. That instead, is problematic, and will cause problems later down the track for the arrogant child in their personal relationships.
How do we encourage confidence in our children?
Encouraging children in their journey towards confidence does not mean that we need to overpraise them. Too many compliments may put the child in a position where they learn to depend on praise for their confidence.
Establishing a secure bond with your child from birth by using the attachment parenting method establishes an everlasting bond with the parent, where the child feels safe; so safe in fact that they will feel free to explore the world around them. Once the child feels bonded to the parent, they will begin to explore their own space, to do things for themselves, and will slowly become independent from the parent to a degree.
The child with a strong bond to their parent knows that the parent trusts them enough to allow them to step away from the parent more and more as they get older.
Children who have a good attachment to their parents are confident, dependent, and strong. They know that they can come to and from their parents for advice and guidance without judgement.
Acceptance, and the feeling of being loved unconditionally develops a secure foundation for children. Children in this position know that if they make a mistake, they are still loved. Parents who love their children unconditionally do not with -hold love when their child disappoints them, do not put into place harsh over the top punishments, and will accept their child’s different opinions, or beliefs. Children who feel attached to their parents, secure within the parent/ child relationship, and completely accepted by their parents, tend to be quite confident.
Children learn to overcome the obstacles in front of them by developing the skills to deal with the obstacle head on, not by their parent or caregiver taking the obstacle away from them. Its all in trial and error.
Confident children make mistakes, accept that it was a mistake, deal with the mistake, handle it as best they can, and than move on from the mistake.
If parents try to stop every mistake that their child is about to make, from happening, than the child will begin to feel nervous and anxious about making mistakes.
If a parent makes a mistake, and handles this well, than their child will follow their lead, and mirror their parent’s behaviour.
Confident children negotiate with their parents, and the other children in their circle. They learn through trial and error about how to get what it is that they want and need. For example; a confident child will access the skills they have learned, such as assertiveness, kind words, give and take, sharing, and inner strength, to obtain what they are in need of; whether that be an item, friendship, food, water, a fair outcome, or a more positive result.
For example; a child who wants their barbie doll back from another child may;
Guidance from parents to help their children to resolve problems in positive ways by speaking up, by asserting their needs, or through negotiation, will also enhance the child’s confidence.
Teaching your child to acknowledge their feelings, and to accept their feelings, teaches them that feelings are ok to have as long as they are handled properly. Teaching children strong emotional regulation skills forms a solid foundation for good confidence. When parents help their children to work through these feelings without judging the child, this too, will enhance their confidence.
Listening to your child when they express themselves tells your child that they are important enough to be heard by you. When they go out into the world, they will feel important and confident enough to say how they feel, without feeling embarrassed or shameful for expressing their feelings.
Talking about feelings is very important for children.Children must never feel as though they are not allowed to have their feelings, as though it is not safe to express themselves, or as though they cannot share their opinion in regard to events which have invoked strong feelings. Confident children feel important enough to have their feelings listened to and validated.