Confidence is the ability to love and have faith in yourself independent of what is going on around you. If we can guide children to be secure in themselves, no matter how different or unpopular they feel. If we can teach them the skills to stand firm in who they are, to show up and be seen as their awesome selves. Then we are creating a foundation that they can build on to grow into confident adults.
As a parent guide and therapist, I have helped many families and what I’ve come to find is that parents want to ensure that they are raising happy and confident children. They worry their child doesn’t feel good about themselves. They worry their child is overly perfectionistic or quits easily. They worry about peer pressure and that their child goes along with the crowd. At the end of most of my first meetings with families, a parent will inevitably ask, “How can I help my child have higher self-esteem and be more confident?”
So, here are 6 things that confident kids do differently…
They feel their feelings.
Confident kids have learned to recognize their feelings as a natural part of life. They know that the goal isn’t to avoid their feelings, but rather to get the support to feel them until they pass. They can sit with any uncomfortable-ness (for younger kids with support.)
Confident kids have learned to read the messages of their feelings so that when they pass, they can determine what their plan is for moving forward. For example, anxiety warns us of potential danger and anger alerts us to a problem.
They voice their needs.
Confident kids know what they desire and they can express their needs to other people. They have learned that the reason we express our needs is to voice our true selves and not simply so people do what we want.
They have learned to accept that sometimes everyone is told no and this is not a reason to avoid voicing our needs. Confident kids have been taught that healthy relationships are rooted in the ability to express our feelings and needs independent of the potential outcome.
They take very little personally.
Confident kids have learned to separate out the events of life, the stories we make up about what happens to us, from who we are in our core.
For example, he may have gotten an F on a test and he is still a smart guy. The F on the test is a fact, it happened, but it is not evidence that he is stupid.
They practice self-compassion.
They view mistakes and problems as “mistakes and problems” (with little m’s and p’s) and not MISTAKES and PROBLEMS (Yikes!).
Struggles are part of life, all people have them and confident kids know that they will experience them, too. They embrace that even during difficulties, they are still and always, loved, loveable, worthy and valued. Confident kids create this type of inner dialogue.
They look for the opportunity in situations.
Confident kids see situations where they were not successful, or painful events as opportunities. They have learned that dedication and hard work are more likely to create the results they desire. One perceived failure is not a signal to quit.
Confident kids avoid defaulting to a victim mindset (blaming others and the world) and instead live in a growth mindset. They are able to acknowledge their feelings about the situation and they ask, “What can I learn here?”
They express gratitude.
Confident kids take moments to let the good stuff sink into their emotional memory. They recognize that one perceived “bad’ thing does not eliminate all the good things. Confident kids express gratitude each day whether through prayer, gratitude lists or simply in conversation.
In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you struggle with instilling confidence in your child? How have you dealt with this?