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Take a leap into the future. See your child ten, fifteen, perhaps twenty years from now. What kind of person would you want her or him to be? Most parents would answer that they hope and dream that the children they love will be happy, successful, confident and well-equipped to deal with life's challenges.
So, this begets the question…how do we get our children to that place of confidence and happiness then? Well, the answer does not lie in high academic grades, having money to buy the latest gadgets or branded clothes…or even in their physical appearance! Sure, some of these might give them a momentary sense of happiness, but that quickly runs out!
The answer lies in investing in your child’s positive social and emotional growth. Research has proven that children with strong social and emotional life skills are academically more motivated, well-rounded, successful, have better inter-personal relationship skills and a deeper sense of self-worth.
As parents, here are THREE tried and tested methods you can impact your child’s confidence:
1. Give them responsibilities - as parents, we often ‘show’ our love by constantly ‘doing’ things for our children, whether it be feeding our five-year old, packing our eight-year olds’ school bag or picking up after our 13-year old! Though your intent may be good, in the long run you are doing them a disservice! Instead, make them responsible for things around the home. From hanging up their uniforms, feeding the pet, sharpening pencils for school and yes even putting their dirty plates in the sink!
2. Ask their opinion - many of grew up hearing ‘children are meant to be seen and not heard’, well, that’s a sure way to break a child’s confidence! I would highly recommend that you involve your children in family decisions. For the younger ones it could start with simple things like asking them where to eat and what to order from the menu. As they grow older involve them in planning the family vacation-for example where to go and which hotel to stay at [of course within a given budget!]. This sends them a message that what they have to say is valued. When they know they are being heard by an adult, it enhances their sense of self-worth.
3. Create a ‘feel good’ factor – Just like for us adults, when a child does something that they are good at and get recognition for it, it gives them an ‘emotional high’. Help your child identify their strengths and create opportunities to showcase them. Whether it is a music recital at a family functions or being the official family vacation photographer! By creating this ‘feel good’ factor, a child’s sense of meaningful contribution is reinforced, and this helps them take risks to expand their curiosity to experiment and try new things.
So Parents, in this New Year- 2015- start implementing these simple, yet proven strategies to enhance your child’s self-confidence…laying one more stone in the foundation of your child’s future success.