When was the last time you encountered a confident 12-year-old, 15-year-old, or 18-year-old? Not arrogant, but confident? It doesn’t happen much these days. Self-esteem is at an all-time low and most kids are leaving the nest with severe deficiencies in this area. In many ways, it’s up to us as fathers to address this problem.
5 Tips for Raising Confident Kids
Happiness is the pinnacle of our human pursuit. While we might have different labels or expectations, it’s happiness that we’re all pursuing at a fundamental level. And if you speak with psychologists and other experts in the field of human understanding, you’ll discover that unshakeable confidence is one of the foundational pillars of happiness.
The question is, how do you cultivate confidence in children?
While there’s no singular answer to this confounding question, there’s plenty of evidence to point to a number of key principles.
1. Build Early Self-Esteem
Most parents fail to understand the ramifications of building self-esteem in babies and toddlers – but this is where it starts. If you want to set your kids up to be confident people, you must begin when they’re very young. For example:
Allow your baby to get into their own positions (standing, sitting, walking, etc.), rather than constantly putting them in positions.
Provide a healthy amount of routine and structure so that your baby has a sense of what comes next.
Don’t place unreasonable expectations on your child’s development. If you notice serious issues, seek professional support. But don’t become so worried about meeting specific milestones that you put unreasonable pressure on your little one.
2. Use Positive Reinforcement
Kids are fragile little beings. Even from a very young age, they have an innate desire to succeed and be “good” at things. Unfortunately, their little minds and bodies take a while to acclimate to the world around them. Thus, failure becomes an everyday occurrence. Thankfully, these failures are relatively small and insignificant – like falling when learning to walk. The key is to use positive reinforcement and encourage your child to keep trying.
3. Invest in Healthy Communication
Confidence and communication go hand in hand. Teach your children how to communicate their feelings, expectations, worries, and fears. In doing so, you give them powerful tools that can be deployed to better understand who they are, what they want, and how they fit into the larger context of your family and society.
4. Mirror Your Expectations
You’ll often hear parents say things like, “Do as I say, not as I do.” And though it’s typically said in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, it’s highly misleading. You can’t expect your kids to do anything that you don’t do. If you want confidence to become part of their DNA, you must mirror it in your own life.
This speaks to a much larger idea: Cultivating and/or restoring confidence in yourself. One of the ways you do this is by staying healthy and fit. This starts with making smart choices related to diet and exercise, but also extends into other areas – such as appearance. If you’re experiencing premature hair loss – which millions of men do in their 30s and 40s – you’d be wise to find a hair loss treatment option. If you’re unhappy with your fashion and style, meeting with a stylist could provide a fresh injection of confidence.
Confidence is contagious. When you embrace your own self-confidence, it’ll rub off on your children and increase their chances of becoming stable, happy beings.
5. Encourage Risk and Be Okay With Failure
Life is full of risk. And while you might think you’re being a good dad by insulating your kids from risk, you’re ultimately doing them a disservice. Encourage reasonable risk and let your kids know that failure is okay.
Kids need to know that life doesn’t always go as planned. However, it’s their response to unpredictable events that will ultimately shape who they are. Praise perseverance and encourage your children to pick themselves back up and try again.
Give Your Children a Solid Footing
You can’t bully your children into being confident. And no matter how hard you may try to instill a sense of certainty and stability in your kids, there are always outside forces pushing and pulling at them. Having said that, you have a lot more influence than you realize. Wield this power wisely and you’ll give your children a strong foundation to build upon when they enter into adulthood.
This content is sponsored by Larry Alton.
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