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How to raise a confident child ?

Raising confident children is every parent's dream. Check out this article to learn simple ways in which you can help your child become confident. Empower them, let them believe in their abilities and help your child grow confident.

Parents take the role of parenting so seriously that they forget the little things that count. Parenting is not about feeding and providing for your child. It is not about ensuring they get good grades or about disciplining them. Parenting is complex, it requires a tremendous amount of work. It is a full-time job.

I cannot stress enough on the challenges involved in parenting. The last few decades have witnessed a quantum change, in the immediate worlds that surround us. The abounding changes that we witness, call for a more committed parenting strategy. Parents have always had a major part to play in bringing up children. But, parents' today face more challenges. This pushes the need to understand the characteristics of good parenting Vs. bad parenting and their effects on children.

Parents want their children to be better versions of them – more successful than them. They aim for better health for their children and their safety is a priority. They also work at grooming them to be better versions of themselves, to be more successful than them and grow to be confident adults.

It is a cycle, our parents did the same for us, but the same job is a little more demanding for parents of today. A lot of it has today with the times we live in – there is more happening in our lives today that needs attention, so much so that maintaining the balancing act between our professional and personal lives, which includes our children, gets demanding. Coupled with all that is happening in our lives other factors that influence our children's development include peer pressure, media and social environment. It takes immense mental and physical fortitude to create a balance.

The following tips can assist you in maintaining that balance –

Adopt the right parenting style

How a child is raised affects the child's personality and all-round growth. Parents impact their children in more ways than we know. There are different parenting styles and they can broadly be characterized as the following –

  • Authoritarian – The idiom 'spare the rod and spoil the child', was an perhaps coined for authoritarian parents. They are strict disciplinarians and do not hesitate to resort to corporal punishment and other aggressive methods to discipline their children
  • Authoritative – Such parents strike a balance between disciplining and affection. They rely on positive reinforcement through dialogue rather than being retributive
  • Permissive – These parents set no rules and are often over indulgent
  • Uninvolved – They are non-demanding and unapproachable. They offer no emotional support and lack warmth

It is common for parents to adopt of a combination of parenting styles, and not everybody falls into one broad category. However, good parenting involves changing of parenting style depending on the age of the child. A young child would do well under parents who help and act as guides. Older children will benefit from parenting styles that include them in the decision-making – such as setting of rules of how long, when and with whom etc. instead of being told what to do.

Spend quality time with your child

Engage in one to one activities with your child. Your presence in your child's life is very important. You're just being there is important, but more important than that is the actual time you spend with your child. It helps in building a strong bond that encourages them to share everything with you.

  • Conversations – Chat with your kids as this encourages them to open up with you. Conversations do not mean probing questions, like what did you do and where did you go or did you complete your homework etc. Have conversations, like you would with a friend, about things the child likes to do. Give full attention and enjoy the time you spend with your child. Talk about your childhood too, of things you used to do, of your time with your siblings, parents, cousins etc. Conversations bring people closer
  • Play games – Spend evenings playing a sport together, in the park or in a club. Stay at home and play board games or just full around with your child. It is fun and it lightens the atmosphere and creates a healthy bond
  • Plan outings – Keep an evening or the weekend free doing things together. Catch a movie or go for a picnic. Have dinner at your favorite place and watch the atmosphere lighten up

I have had parents tell me that they do not know what goes on in their child's life. The problem is not so much the child, but the adult, who does not allow the relationship to grow. It is important to impart the right lessons to children early on in life, so they build a rapport with you. Today parents need to adopt a holistic parenting style.

Treat them with respect

If you want your kids to be confident you need to encourage confidence in them. You cannot do that by undermining them. You need to take their opinions and their feelings as seriously, as that of an adult. When you listen to them, you give them a sense of importance and that helps build a positive personality.

Encourage your kids to give their opinions instead of deciding everything for them or shushing them. Provide them with alternatives and let them decide. This small act can be very empowering.

When was the last time you asked for your child's opinion on something that impacted everyone in the house? I don't mean decisions, but small everyday things – like rearranging the setting in the hall or letting them select the plants for your balcony or letting them pick tomatoes at the grocery store.

Imagine a situation where a child is shown how to select nice firm tomatoes and then being allowed to pick them and another child who is told to not do so, because he does not know how to. Which of these two do you think will make them feel more confident? The way we treat our kids can boost or deplete their confidence.

Avoid reproach and comparisons applaud strengths instead

Comparisons and criticism should be the last thing you want to subject your child to. They amount to shaming and rarely have a positive effect. Your child has his own set of talent and abilities. Help him tap those. When you do that you enhance the child's confidence and make him a willing participant in the challenges you throw at him.

Work on your child's strengths, encourage and applaud as this does a world of good to the self-esteem. Provide positive reinforcement while focusing on the child's skills. Use discussions as a tool to guide your child. These are subtle ways of making the child improve in areas where they lack. Positive feedback coupled with support can help the child overcome weaknesses and get more confident.

Punishment is never a solution

Hitting a child or yelling at him is no way of disciplining or getting a child to do what you want. These are forms of intimidation and all they do is make the child nervous and fearful. It can also result in the child becoming hostile.

Try the other mentions in the article to emphasis the need for better behavior. Parents who are patient with their children and explain things to them actually help shape their personalities as compared to parents who are constantly howling.

Don't shame the child

It is never a good idea to throw guilt at a child and make him feel responsible when things go wrong. Do not take your frustration and anger out on your child. Many parents play the 'blame game' where they hold the child responsible for things. Your seemingly harmless comments can actually be detrimental. Telling your child that you have a lot on your hands and the child is not helping out or that you have to do everything for the child – is in point of fact showing resentment. You might not see it as a resentful act, but your child will.

Such interactions are unhealthy and can result in the development of negative feelings in a child. Making him feel he is at fault for everything that goes wrong in the house. It also shrinks positive feelings of self-worth.

Remember, it is never the child's fault – you are the adult in the equation, find a way out to handle things or better still teach the child to be responsible through good parenting.

Be a role model

Children learn to be obnoxious from us, adults. They watch and they learn. They just mimic our behavior. A family friend's young boy is always getting into fights with other kids and the parents are worried about his aggressive behavior. I recently learnt that the couple has been having bitter fights. The child is mirroring behavior he sees at home.

If your child shows aggression, it's time to take stock of the situation at home. Could you be exposing your child to violent behavior? Is your child is witnessing fights at home? Children observe and do what adults do. So, set good examples for your children to follow.

Final word

Confidence is not something that can be developed overnight. It is a result of a number of processes that constantly permeate into a child's psyche. Parents need to create a healthy environment at home where a child feels completely secure.

A child develops confidence from being loved and respected. Self-assurance comes from being appreciated and from being allowed to be your own person. A child who is taught to be fearless is naturally disposed to being confident. A child brought up without being constantly admonished develops confidence. A child exhibits self-assurance when he is allowed independence and the freedom to voice opinions. Confidence comes easily to a child who is unfettered. Handling a preadolescent is an art that can be mastered.

In the end, it is your parenting style, and what you do right (or wrong) that actually shapes your child. Also, address subjects such as social meanness and bullying in school with the child. Teenage depression is also an issue that parents neglect. Learn strategies to to help your teen overcome depression. Stress is also part of a child's life and it is crucial that you help your child fight stress. Children can be molded into who we want them to become. All we need to do it provide the right stimulation and watch them bloom into confident young people.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

Follow Juana or read 609 articles authored by Juana

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