Ever wonder what it takes to raise happy, resilient kids? These secrets will help your child build mental muscle and become truly confident!
Our kids are growing up in a world filled with anxiety, fear, and doubt. Yet, there are still kids who confidently move from one day to the next, expanding their limits and making decisions based on their inner moral compass, not what the world is telling them to do.
What’s their secret? And how can you build that inner-confidence in your own kids?
Luckily, it doesn’t require complicated training for you or expensive opportunities for your children. It does, however, require making intentional choices, and even letting go of a few limiting beliefs.
And learning the secrets of a truly confident child is a great place to start.
THE 12 SECRETS OF A CONFIDENT CHILD
Confident kids come in countless varieties. But there are a few things they have in common:
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1. THEIR PARENTS MAKE CHOICES BASED ON THEIR VALUES, NOT GUILT OR FEAR.
You know your child best.
It’s tempting to give in to what other families are doing or whatever the latest parenting advice or fad is promoting. But going against your parental gut isn’t going to bring you the results you’re looking for. It takes a confident parent to raise a confident child and that sometimes means making difficult choices – even ones your child doesn’t like or understand.
So the next time you feel pressured to parent out of guilt, ask yourself: “Does this align with what I want for my family?” If not, don’t give in. Saying no is certainly uncomfortable, but it’s tolerable.
2. THEY AREN’T SHIELDED FROM DISCOMFORT.
When kids are in pain, parents want to follow their instincts and rush to the rescue. But what about when kids are rejected, feeling left out, or discouraged? Or when they experience failure, face the results of mistakes, or discover how hard work can sometimes be?
These and many other uncomfortable experiences are just a part of life, and it’s easy for kids to fall into a victim mentality, especially when parents habitually intervene. But discomfort is one of the many building blocks of a confident child, and one of life’s greatest teachers.
So before rushing in to “fix” the situation, help your child understand that they have the inner strength to face difficulty. And that while you can’t shield them from the experience, you are still there to support them.
3. THEY KNOW THEY DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT.
Dr. Carol Dweck, the author of Mindset, defines two different types of perfectionists: Those who push themselves because they are intrinsically motivated to succeed, and those who strive for perfection to avoid judgment or appearing imperfect.
A confident child knows that their value isn’t based on what they can achieve. Rather, they aim to become the best version of themselves.
When you help your child understand the difference between excellence and perfection, use encouragement instead of criticism, and model how to work through your own imperfections, you will be creating a safe home environment for your child to learn (and make mistakes) in a way that promotes a growth mindset over fear.
4. THEY KNOW THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN EMOTIONS
Parents often feel that it is their responsibility to manage their child’s emotions. But in reality, as long as the child’s basic needs are met, a parent’s only responsibility is to accept and acknowledge the emotions.
Does offering empathy and support – rather than just making the emotions “go away” – take more time and patience? Most of the time.
But doing so will allow you to build a confident child who has the emotional strength and maturity to ride her emotional roller-coaster in a healthy way. A child who has the skills to manage her own emotions, rather than waiting for others to do it for her.
5. THEY KNOW THEY DON’T HAVE POWER OVER THEIR PARENTS
Many parents feel uncomfortable setting boundaries. But being a child without boundaries can be just as scary as walking over a high, wobbly bridge with no protective barriers!
A confident child isn’t one who dictates the routine, the rules, or the dinner menu. Rather, he is given the chance to practice making decisions within the safety net of his parents’ guidance. He also feels secure, knowing that in the end, his parents are in control.
6. THEY KNOW HOW TO FOCUS ON SOLUTIONS, NOT PROBLEMS
Kids who are taught problem-solving skills are empowered to take life into their own hands. They actually can “look on the bright side,” because they know how to take positive action, despite difficult circumstances. They understand they are not victims.
A confident child knows that disappointment is real, and chooses to be optimistic anyway.
You can build this mindset in your kids by helping them identify the things they have control over. From there, they can begin to form plans and work toward solutions, either alone or with your support.
7. THEY ARE GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY
Choosing to give your kids responsibility can be as hard as it is rewarding. It requires untold amounts of patience on your part and makes everything go slower…at first. But with consistency, they will get faster, more efficient, and gain the necessary skills to become responsible adults.
A confident child is given the chance to try, fail, and try again through age-appropriate responsibilities that require him to contribute to the family unit. He also has a chance to be in charge of his schoolwork and extracurricular efforts, even when it’s hard for his parents to relinquish that control.
8. THEIR PARENTS FOCUS ON DISCIPLINE, NOT PUNISHMENT
Over the years, punishment and discipline have become synonymous – but they are not the same thing. Punishment focuses on causing suffering for something that already happened, and discipline focuses on teaching skills for the future.
One creates fear and resentment, and the other promotes self-discipline.
Parents who understand this distinction still use consequences, at times. But even then, they strive to build a confident child who is empowered to make better choices in the future.
9. THEY KNOW HOW TO WORK HARD
It’s natural for many kids to want to shy away from hard work. After all, it’s challenging, and uncomfortable!
But even timid children can find the confidence to take on the types of challenges that help them grow. With support from their parents, they can learn how to break down difficult tasks into manageable steps.
A confident child understands that even professionals have to set goals, take baby steps, and work consistently to get what they want. It’s hard work, but focusing on one step at a time can make anything possible.
10. THEY KNOW HOW TO BE GENEROUS
Each time a child is given the opportunity to help or contribute, he becomes more confident.
You can foster this confidence by teaching your children to recognize what they can offer the world around them, and then encouraging them to share their gifts. The more often they serve, the less focused they will become on what they feel entitled to, and the more they will begin to recognize ways they can be kind and generous, especially when service becomes a family habit.
11. THEY KNOW THEIR STRENGTHS
There are many ways to help kids develop emotional grit. But few are more powerful than being able to recognize inner-strength. A confident child knows that she is unique. She understands what she is good at, and she can call on her individual strengths when things get tough.
A simple way to begin building confidence in your own children is to introduce them to the power of positive self-talk, either through daily affirmations they can say to themselves or through fun activities you can do as a family.
12. THEY KNOW THEIR PARENTS ARE 100% ON THEIR SIDE
As a parent, you are your child’s biggest support. You are their cheerleader, their coach, and their mentor. And when your kids truly understand that you are there for them no matter what – and that you lovingly accept them (imperfections and all) – they will be well on their way to becoming the confident children you hope they can be.
OTHER HELPFUL POSTS:
- From Helpless To Hopeful: How To Raise Resilient Kids
- 180+ Positive Affirmations For Kids To Boost Motivation And Confidence
- Dream Big: How To Help Kids Set Goals (In 4 Easy Steps)
- Helping Kids Gain The Confidence To Try New Things
- How To Help Your Kids Handle Peer Pressure
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