I'm by no means a child psychiatrist, but I am a mother who, like most mothers, loves her daughter and wants to ensure I help build her self-confidence. As an adult, I look back at my teenage years and realize how hard my mom worked to build my confidence. I remember the days I came home crying because I thought the girls in my class were prettier, smarter, and more athletic than I was. I remember having a crush on this handsome boy in my class. He had perfect skin and was just a tad bit taller than I was at that time. However, he decided to date a different girl. I was in tears, not because he didn’t choose me, but because I didn't think I would find another guy at the school that was the same height as me. As a child, I was concerned about my height. It’s quite amusing when I reminisce. Oh my, how sensitive our confidence can be at such an early age. Most of all, I remember dealing with confidence challenges with my daughter and felt really sorry for putting my parents through all my drama. Here are a few tips to help you build your child's confidence.
Show your children that you love them 100% of the time. Let your child know they’re perfect as they are. Withholding love because of a poor performance is among the worst options a parent can choose. Make it a practice to never go to bed angry. It’s important for a child to know they’re fully supported at all times.
Give your child attention. When you ignore your child, you send the message that they don’t matter. I was speaking with a friend, and he shared with me that whenever his children walk in the room, he stops, stands up, and greets them as if nothing else is important. Turn off the TV or put down the magazine while your child is trying to speak to you.
Pray with your children. God provides us a great deal of strength through prayer. As much as we would like to always be there for our children, we know that they will be required to make decisions independent of us. They need to know that God is there for them at all times. God gives us direction that offers strength and increases confidence. Knowing God is there will give your child the strength and ability to stand up to anything that comes against them. I know it's because of God that I'm still here.
Compliment and praise your child frequently. We all stand a little taller when we hear something positive about ourselves. Address the things your child does well. Give praise freely. I overheard my daughter tell her cousin, "My mom won't let me have low self-esteem." Her cousin asked, "What do you mean?" My daughter said, "She compliments me all the time." Of course, I was a proud mom at that moment.
Stay tuned for the next section... In the meantime, share your stories and tips on how to build your child’s confidence.
By Sheles Wallace
Certified John C. Maxwell Coach, Keynote Speaker and Trainer