There is no one right way to raise children; if there was, parenting wouldn’t be as scary, exhausting, and rewarding as it is. But one thing most of us agree on is that it’s important to help our kiddos build confidence, empowering them to feel more capable as they navigate the world around them.
That’s why we’re breaking down tried-and-true steps that you can take as a parent to help instill confidence and self-assuredness in your child.
6 tips for raising confident kids
Pick them up when they make mistakes. Remember how you felt the last time you forgot a work deadline or dropped an entire bag of groceries in public? It probably felt pretty terrible, right? Making mistakes is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean they sting any less. The next time your little one experiences a misstep, try comforting them and offering up some reassuring talk like, “I see how hard you’re trying and I’m proud of you” or “I see that you’re struggling and I want you to know that I’m here for you.” Maybe even tell them about a time that you made a mistake and share how you got through it. By letting them know that your love is unwavering, even when they mess up, you’re helping to build confidence.
Empower them to solve problems. As a parent, it’s tempting to want to jump in and save your child from anything that may hurt or frustrate them. But by letting your child do difficult things (like learn how to walk without holding a hand or solve a particularly tough math problem), you’re encouraging them to establish their independence so that they can begin to believe in their own abilities. Instead of preventing challenges from happening, try to simply be there to encourage and guide your child so that they have the opportunity to build persistence and resilience.
Lead by example. It’s not always going to look perfect, but try modeling self-care by treating yourself well both in front of and outside of the time with your child. By prioritizing your needs and well-being, when possible, you’ll have the opportunity to show your child the value of healthy self-esteem. This may look like taking a mental health day from work, or carving out time to get outside for a walk — whatever helps you to feel fueled up and centered. Take a spin through our Parenting SOS Collection if you need a little support.
Practice mindfulness and connection. Try teaching kids to take a minute to ground themselves. Find a time when they’ll be most receptive, maybe after school or at the dinner table, to have them reflect on their day. Ask them how events made them feel in the moment and how they feel about them now. The point is to help them slow down and take time to reflect on their experiences. We even have a Collection, full of tips and tools to build a family mindfulness practice.
Give them responsibilities. Assigning your child tasks that are age-appropriate, whether that be taking out the trash or feeding a pet, will help them to feel like a valued, integral part of the household.
Encourage them to make decisions. It’s easy to forget that being a kid can be quite frustrating and stressful. From school pressure to a lack of control over your own day, kids can sometimes feel powerless. By giving your child choices — like what clothes they’ll wear or what after school activity they’ll participate in — you’re allowing them to form their own opinions and practice healthy self-esteem.
We know that parenting is a tough job, especially because kids are always watching how we handle the inevitable challenges that come our way. By being good to yourself, you’re teaching your child the value of confidence and self-compassion.
That being said, it’s not going to look perfect and it’s okay to mess up. In fact, it’s important that little ones see us struggle sometimes. Normalizing mistakes creates a safe place for the whole family to try new things and discover themselves. Try the tips that feel right for you and remember that we’ll be here cheering you on.
By Kaitlyn Pfiester
As a teen, Kaitlyn Pfiester began her writing journey in the fiction world, immersing herself in J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Once adulthood hit, the world of mental health opened her eyes to a hurting world. Over time (and months of continuing therapy), her passion shifted from baking Lembas bread and speaking elvish to learning more about trauma and how it affects everyday life. Now she is committed to bringing light to these struggles through her writing. You can see more of her work on her website.