Self-assured, alpha, cocky, successful, ultra-confident – these are just some of the traits associated with some of the notable figures we look up today. But did you know some of these inspiring people were not born naturally confident? Did you know that some of them were actually timid and super shy as children?
But somewhere along the way – with the help of their parents and teachers – they were able to hone their perception of self-worth and achieve tremendous success in the process.
A positive and empowering sense of self-worth is one of the best gifts you can give your growing child. As you probably already know, the world is inherently designed to downplay and intimidate our belief in our own abilities. It is your job, as a loving and responsible parent, to work to set up your son or daughter for future success by instilling a boost of self-esteem in them as early as possible. Here is a quick primer to that.
1. Cultivate the Culture of Entrusting Them with Simple Tasks on a Regular Basis
One of the best ways of developing a high self-esteem in your children is assigning them age-appropriate but somewhat challenging tasks regularly. This will subconsciously let them know that they are competent and dependable enough to be trusted with adult-like tasks.
It might be something as easy as letting him walk the dog or setting up the dinner table, but it is one of the more practical ways of bolstering their sense of responsibility and honing their problem-solving skills.
2. Praise the Actions and Not Necessarily Them
Let’s say your son performs exceptionally well in science class. The first impulse would be to gush something in the lines of, “Good boy! That’s wonderful, my son!” As much as this can pass as positive praise, you’re subconsciously imparting an unhealthy dose of self-confidence that can quickly gravitate to pride or a boastful ego.
And on the flipside, should they ever fail in class or any other endeavor, they might be quick to label themselves as unfit or unworthy. To avoid this, start complementing their accomplishments and actions rather than them specifically. Instead of the subjective, ‘ Good girl!’ , try something objective like ‘Excellent work!’. This will teach them very early on in life that your actions might fail to bear fruit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not good enough.
3. Don’t Call your Kids Name or Use Bitter Sarcasm to Drive your Point Home
Kids have a very fragile ego which can easily get bruised if you get into the habit of constantly belittling their feelings. So if you often go into a temper fit whenever your child errs, practice being a little more patient with them.
Similarly, always pause to evaluate what you say in the presence of your kids to avoid blurting out something that you might regret in future. It is extremely difficult for a child who is always exposed to negative criticism to develop a healthy sense of self, particularly when around his peers.
There are better and more positively empowering ways to discipline your kids. Insulting or dressing them down does more harm than good.
4. Let Them Make Personal Decisions Every Once in a While
The sense of competency stems from the knowledge you’re smart enough to make the right choices. That’s the reason children who are entrusted with leadership roles in class or sports go on to become very successful people later in life.
So let them decide every so often what to eat for lunch from a choice of 3 or 4 separate dishes or what to do after finishing their school assignment. In the process, take this chance to praise their wise decisions and offer constructive criticism to poor choices.
This is fundamental to a healthy upbringing that will play a significant role in their later lives.
5. Nurture their Special Interests and Talents
Encourage your kids to go after their dreams, ambitions and special interests regardless of how trivial they may look to you. Help them feel proud of their expertise and little hobbies especially if they are dedicating a lot of time and work towards it.
Remember to support them in little ways such as buying them the tools and availing the resources they might need to grow their talent. A subtle action, for instance, such as teaching your son balance a bike can really go a long way in instilling self-confidence and boldness in them.
Besides, this is a good way of letting them know (indirectly) that they got what it takes to conquer the world. And what’s a better way of boosting their self-esteem?