Parents who want kids who know their strengths and play to them do these five things.
From the moment a baby is born, they start learning. They learn how to cry, eat, sleep, they poop. They start to walk and grasp their hands and, as they become little capable children who can build blocks and read short words and go on the real potty, they start to become confident beings. But that sense of confidence needs to be fostered as little kids become big kids and encounter more complex challenges and are tasked with overcoming more intense challenges. So how do parents make sure their kids have a healthy sense of confidence? We spoke to Dr. Roseanne Lesack, a certified child psychologist and director of the Unicorn Children’s Foundation Clinic at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, about five things that parents can do to instill confidence in their kids.
They Tie Their Kid’s Work Ethic To Their Success
Parents should always compliment their kids work ethic, even if they don’t get an A on their math test or win the soccer game. By making sure that parents compliment their kids on their efforts alone, kids will get a healthy sense of confidence that is tied to their own sense of being a hard working person, not on the results of those efforts. “Kids should be able to say: I’m confident in these areas, because I’ve worked hard. I’ve practiced a lot. I really want to get good at this. That’s a good thing,” says Lesack. If parents don’t stress this, kids might forget their worth if they fail at a math test despite their best efforts, which can lead to a crisis of confidence in their own self.
They Compliment Themselves In Front Of Their Kids
Confident kids come from confident parents. So don’t be shy about talking about personal qualities, skills, and successes.“Parents should talk about their own accomplishments: ‘I put in a lot of effort at this project at work, and I did a nice job because I spent time on it,’” Lesack says.When parents model positive self-talk, kids absorb that sense of self-confidence.
They Compliment Their Kids On Their Skills
Parents who want to raise kids who have a healthy sense of confidence don’t just shout “Great game!” at them until their kid knows they’re awesome. They compliment them on specific things that they did well, like, “When you made that goal in the second quarter, you had some really great footwork,” or, “At the end of the game, you played really great defense against number four.” By complimenting their kids on specific moments, they don’t give their kids an outsized sense of confidence that they’re a star for the entire game. They also, per Lesack, give their kids the tools to talk about their own strengths with specificity.
They Are Honest With Their Kids About Their Weaknesses
Parents who want to raise confident kids (who don’t become arrogant jerks) don’t lie to their kids about where they need to work harder. Now, it’s not like parents should walk around and say “You’re bad at math!” That could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But parents might be able to say: “Some people need to practice more and work harder at math than the person next to them, and that’s okay.” Kids who know that they might have to put in more effort than their peers also continue to tie their self-worth to their work ethic, and don’t have an unearned sense of confidence. “Kids also need to know what they don’t know. You don’t always want your kid to be confident. In fact, you want the opposite. Because you don’t want them to be cocky,” says Lesack.
They Tie Success Back to Teamwork
Parents also don’t let their kids think that they and they alone were the reason they won the baseball or basketball game. When complimenting their kids all-star moments, they also mention their friends and say how good they did, too, and can even encourage their kids to compliment their friends on their efforts. According to Dr. Lesack, parents need to make sure that kids know that their own success didn’t occur in a vacuum — and that without the help of other, hardworking friends or study buddies, they might not have won the game or aced the test.