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6 Keys to Building Confidence in Your Kids
What Are The Keys to Building Confidence?
Confidence is hard to come by. Even as adults, we tend to fake confidence to get a job done or make a good impression when we sometimes are just not feeling "it". It's fine to live that way periodically, but I know that I want my children to grow up being confident despite the challenges that they will inevitably face.
Let's dive into some ways in which confidence can be grown and built in your kids!
Independence is a good thing. As much as some of us might like that our kids still need us for things, we also know the importance of having kids that can take care of tasks or problems on their own.
I recently met with a security and self-defense team that described the right times and ways to teach kids how to do simple tasks that might include some possible danger, such as answering the door or checking the mailbox. This team highly encouraged walking through these tasks with your children and also, setting boundaries and communicating with parents. Just saying, "No, you can't answer the door. Ever.", is not a good way to encourage independence in your kids and it can even limit the confidence your kids have in their own "gut feeling". So let them have the opportunities to take on assignments, tasks, and projects on their own.
Allow Mistakes and Failures
This one is tough. I know that I don't want my daughter to have to make mistakes to find her way. I want her to just listen to me and always do what I advise in every situation, but that's not realistic. So along with encouraging independence, comes allowing your kids to inevitably fail or make a mistake. For example, your son decides to offer his services as a pool skimmer for the summer. He sets his prices and begins to bring in some profit from skimming pools in your neighborhood. You could hold all of his money and regulate how he spends it and where. He may save some money, but he doesn't learn much about money management in the process. OR you can advise him on a budget and savings and ultimately, let him make the choices. He may follow your advice or he may spend it all in one place and then probably regret it later. Yeah, that was a mistake and he may feel a little like he failed at his business, but we have to learn to redefine failure. Failure doesn't have to be the end. It can be a learning opportunity and chance to find courage and confidence. Check out this incredible video of Spanx CEO, Sara Blakely, who talks about how her dad taught her the positive aspects of failure.
Creativity is intelligence having fun. - Albert Einstein
How many times have you been working on a project or craft with your child and you want it done one way, but your little has a totally different idea as to how they want it to go? This happens with my daughter and me constantly. There is usually no right or wrong in these instances, but sometimes I forget what a huge role creativity can play in how kids see themselves and the world. Creativity can open up so many possibilities and keep their brains moving and growing.
Inspire to do the Scary Things
Fear is not of God. The Bible is very clear on that, but it's still hard sometimes to know what to do when fear and panic take over. As adults, we know that fear doesn't go anywhere. Usually, we just learn to hide it or hopefully, overcome it. We have the tools to help our kids overcome their fears, but it requires us being able to let go of the reigns a little and do some nudging (ok, sometimes A LOT of nudging!)
As a piano and voice teacher, my studio presents at least one recital every year and every one of my students is HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to perform. I tell them three things. 1. This is a safe place for mistakes, 2. There is no such thing as "perfect" and 3. You don't ever stop being afraid or nervous, you just get better at performing through it!
Most of the time, it just takes doing the things we are afraid of to help us deal with and overcome fear. It never just goes away. But overcoming our biggest fears, time and time again, can truly build confidence.
Encourage Work Ethic and/or Entrepreneurship
I once heard that you never forget the first pair of shoes you buy with your own money. This is so true for me because I searched online and in stores for weeks to make sure that I got the best deal on a pair of cool shoes that I paid for with my very own money. This may not be true for you, but you might remember what you bought with your first paycheck or how you put back money to save for a specific need or want. There is just something about working hard, bringing in a paycheck, and being able to provide for yourself that boosts your self-esteem and confidence. Kids may not be able to find a job where they "provide" for themselves, but they can still feel the confidence that comes from making a little bit of money because they had to put in the time, effort, and maybe even sweat. Also, the knowledge of business and a work atmosphere builds confidence for jobs they will have in the future.
Provide Opportunities for Problem Solving
These opportunities will probably come to you in the form of an argument your child is having with a friend or maybe even a problem with a teacher. Sometimes our first response can be to confront the friend or teacher ourselves to settle the score, but most always, that is not the best response. Our children have the capabilities to work out problems with their friends themselves, and usually in their own time. They can even meet with their teachers to talk it out and find solutions to struggles and misunderstandings. Provide encouragement to work things out on their own in a manner that glorifies God and prioritizes the utmost respect. The skills gained from solving problems on their own will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Confidence can be found and refined in solving problems on our own.
What actions do you think are important to help your kids have confidence?