4 ways to raise a confident & competent child

Learn how to train children to be confident and trust in their abilities. Train them to be able to make choices that lead to success. Train them to defeat failure. Children can be taught to develop skill and determination. Come learn how.

The dilemmas parents face in raising kids, cannot be described in mere words. Creating that perfect balance between giving independence and providing protection, to children, is not easily achieved. As a parent, you do not want to smother your child with your overprotective ways, nor do you want to give him the independence that you think he cannot handle. It is these factors that make parenting the challenge that it is. Deciding on the 'appropriateness' of how much independence to allow and how much protection is fine, is the key. This is where you need to differentiate between good parenting and bad parenting and their effects on children.

There are four key attributes that parents can adopt to create the right balance. Each one of these elements is linked to the other. Your job as a parent is to provide the right dose of support as explained below.

Failures aren't the key to success

Let me begin by discussing failure. The old adage says "failure is the key to success". But, is failure really good for your child. The common belief is that failures toughen children and bring out the best in them. This is true of only some children. Commonly, a child, who repeatedly fails in what he does, begins to lose confidence. There is no way that child would grow up to be a fighter or a survivor. Not on his own. Not unless he has someone prompting him, from the wings, goading him to rise and perform. As a parent, you must know the techniques and skills involved in raising confident children.

That someone in the wings is you. It is not failure that teaches a child to fight or win. It is you who shows the child his prowess. It is you who teaches the child that failure is just one part of the scene. The next part is about getting up and trying again, and again if need be until success is achieved.

Failure without motivation will result in more failure. Your role as a parent is to be that coach who stands on the fence and plays the game from the outside. Guide and lead your child without playing the game for him. When you do that the child learns to cope with failures and develops self-confidence. He sees failure as just another phase and not as the end of the road.

He then learns to take failures in his stride, because he recognizes his own strength and that he can use it to overcome the failures. When you arm your child with the skills to fight and survive you can rest assured that you have a winner in your child.

Provide emotional support

Failures can lead to dejection, but emotional support, at the right time, can pep up the most disillusioned child. Overcoming challenges is yet another key to learning. A child learns best when he experiences success because it becomes a catalyst that builds inner strength. Success brings in a feeling of accomplishment, it builds confidence and it motivates. A child, who tastes success, learns to chase it because it can be the most gratifying thing. The child learns a valuable lesson that challenges can be overcome - it sets a cycle.

So, pave the way for your child's success, by providing support. Let the child know that you believe in him, even when he does not. Emotional support is the foundation on which a child builds his success story. Emotional support is 'therapeutic' in a way – as it reinforces the core. It acts as positive stimuli that help build up resolve and determination. It brings out the best in a child.

Resort to positive feedback and cut out all the negativism. Doubts and insecurities vanish when a child is surrounded with positivity. The child begins to view challenges with optimism. It is crucial to impart important lessons to children.

Don't overprotect

As parents, we want to protect our children. We are scared for them; of them getting hurt or facing rejections. So, we shelter them from forces we think can bring them down. We end up sending wrong messages, through our words and actions. This over protectiveness needs to stop.

Defeat and failures are life's reality, as much as successes and wins are. Children should be taught to take these in their stride. You shouldn't let your anxieties hamper your child's growth. By being overprotective you essentially take away from them the pleasure of learning to handle things which, is like shutting avenues that could help with confidence building. A child who has his parents do everything for him will not put to test his power of perseverance and creative imagination etc.

Stop being a helicopter parent, always hovering around. Stand on the sidelines and watch your prodigy make decisions and choices. Some may be wrong, others right, but you got to respect them. You will be surprised at the level of resourcefulness and grit your child exhibits when left alone. Your over-protectiveness only prevents the child's, real self, emerge – well, because you are always present to make things work.

Your adolescent might become difficult to handle. You will need skill and the right parenting techniques to handle preadolescences behavior.

Let them spread their wings

To protect our children is a natural instinct, present in every parent. But, protection should be within limits, being overprotective has its own problems. The more you keep them wrapped under your wings the more dependent on you they become.

Good parenting allows children to spread their wings too. If you want your kid to be confident and competent then you have to let him do things on his own. The more practice your child gets in managing himself and his life, the better he gets at overcoming hurdles and meeting set goals. It is the perfect recipe to foster competence and skill, and poise and self-assurance in your children.

Teach the right lessons

Your child has so much to learn from you. The right values for instance. Teach them how not to be part of socially mean groups. Talk to them about handling pressure and show them how cope with stress. There will be times when your child becomes edgy and unsure of himself. It is natural, but learn to recognise the signs of depression in your teen.


You do not have to become alienated. You remain a part of your child's life, by choosing the right ways to connect. A daughter must be brought up with the same freedom as sons, as this helps instil confidence in daughters. Here is a lowdown on some of the things that you can do. I'll discuss them at length in my follow-up article. Meanwhile, ponder over these points –

  • Assign (let them take on) achievable challenges
  • Remember perfection is not the objective
  • Allow the child to try new things
  • Be a guide not a control freak
  • Discuss instead of judging
  • Focus on strengths
  • Inspire and encourage
  • Speak positively

Take a lead from these cues to make a difference in your child's life. Good luck! And if you want to share your holistic parenting tips, I'd love to read them.

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.

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Author: Natarajan08 Sep 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 10

Excellent article that would be useful to growing families wondering how to bring up their kids. One of the greatness of Indian culture is that parents do remarkable things to ensure that our children get the best we can offer (schooling, clothes, gadgets, sports). We are here now, thanks to the tireless efforts our parents have put in to get us to this stage.

But things have changed.

1.Lack of safe environment: I remember, as a child, playing in the street and neighborhood without my parents worrying till late dinner time. I have walked back from school without the fear whether the people on the streets would harm me. I don't think this can happen now in many major cities.

2.Increasing Peer pressure: Apart from feeling a little down seeing someone coming in a car or bringing in a full cricket kit or someone owning the entire set of Tintin comics, most of us have had a good time growing up as kids. Now there is whole lot of factors (social,emotional, personality) pressure that current kids are exposed to.

3. Extensive coaching: I'm sure many of us have never been for tuition but now the trend of tuition for individual subjects, expensive coaching for 8-10 hours on Saturdays and Sundays etc is making it hard for children to have some good family time. The pressure to perform academically is so intense that some children take the extreme step when the fail in exams. This saddens me as I don't remember reading about children ending their lives after failing in 10th or pre-university exams at our times.

4. Easy access to money,gadgets and vices: As kids, we would be fortunate to get a few rupees of father's hard earned money, many of us have grown watching television in our neighbor's house. Now affordability has increased but at a cost of exposing kids too many vices.

I love the overprotective part. Those of us who have been to the West on a holiday or on job would have seen parents looking but not rushing to help when a small child slips to a minor fall from a bike or at a park but if it were one of us we would have rushed and picked up the child anxiously. Although debated, there are many reports that indicate that children (cotton-wool kids) of overprotective parents do not do that well as the rest of the kids.

Author: Juana18 Aug 2018 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 6

Thank you for the appreciation.

I agree with you, times have definitely changed. Things are not what they used to be. But, that’s the story with each generation. I remember my grandparents and parents talking about life in their days.

Children, in general, are resilient and take to the changes easily. It is adults who make comparisons between the then and now. Today’s child will probably not want to play on the streets or want to walk home from school.

Peer group and peer pressures will always exist. It is a fundamental human characteristic, and children are most vulnerable – they feel the pressure because they want to fit in.

Only the duds went for tuition and now the trend has reversed. Parents are to blame; they push their children and live their dreams through their kids.

With both parents working, double-incomes make it easier to ‘spoil’ kids. I got pocket money as a kid, and I learnt to be responsible with the money.

Parents need to spend time inculcating the right values to their kids. There is a great responsibility for the role of being a parent. Parenting is not about keeping up with the Joneses.

And yes, Indian parents mollycoddle their kids too much. Kids end up being totally dependent on their parents. The job of a parent is to ready the child for the world, for there will come a time when the child will be on his own, facing the challenges. Parents need to teach their kids to be responsible.

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