Boost Your Child's Confidence

Building confidence

17 Tips for Raising a Confident Child

1. Appreciate effort no matter if they win or lose

Whenyou're growing up, the journey is more important than the destination. Sowhether your child makes the winning goal for his team or accidentally kicks itout of bounds, applaud their effort, Pickhardt says. They should never feelembarrassed for trying. "Over the long haul, consistently trying hardbuilds more confidence than intermittently doing well," he explains.

2. Encourage practice tobuild competence

Encourageyour child to practice whatever it is they're interested in - but do so withoutputting too much pressure on them. Harmony Shu, a piano prodigy, told EllenDeGeneres that she started practicing when she was just 3 years old."Practice invests effort in the confident expectation that improvementwill follow," Pickhardt explains.

3. Let them figure outproblems by themselves

Ifyou do the hard work for your children, then they'll never develop theabilities or the confidence to figure out problems on their own. "Parentalhelp can prevent confidence derived from self-help and figuring out on thechild's own," Pickhardt explains. In other words, better that your childgets a few B's and C's rather than straight A's, so long as they are actuallylearning how to solve the problems and do the work.

4. Let them act theirage

Don'texpect your child to act like an adult. "When a child feels that onlyperforming as well as parents is good enough, that unrealistic standard maydiscourage effort," he says. "Striving to meet advanced ageexpectations can reduce confidence."

5. Encourage curiosity

Sometimesa child's endless stream of questions can be tiresome, but it should beencouraged.

PaulHarris of Harvard University told The Guardian that asking questions is ahelpful exercise for a child's development because it means they realize that"there are things they don't know ... that there are invisible worlds ofknowledge they have never visited."

Whenchildren start school, those from households that encouraged curious questionshave an edge over the rest of their classmates because they've had practice takingin information from their parents, The Guardian reported, and that translatesto taking in information from their teacher. In other words, they know how tolearn better and faster.

6. Give them newchallenges

Showyour child that they can make and accomplish small goals to reach a bigaccomplishment - like riding a bike without training wheels. "Parents cannurture confidence by increasing responsibilities that must be met,"Pickhardt explains.

7. Avoid creating shortcuts or making exceptions for your child

Specialtreatment can communicate a lack of confidence, Pickhardt says."Entitlement is no substitute for confidence."

8. Never criticize theirperformance

Nothingwill discourage your child more than criticizing his or her efforts. Givinguseful feedback and making suggestions is fine - but never tell them they'redoing a bad job. If your kid is scared to fail because they worry you'll beangry or disappointed, they'll never try new things. "More often than not,parental criticism reduces the child's self-valuing and motivation," saysPickhardt.

9. Treat mistakes asbuilding blocks for learning

"Learningfrom mistakes builds confidence," he says. But this only happens when you,as a parent, treat mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow. Don't beover-protective of your child. Allow them to mess up every now and then, andhelp them understand how they can better approach the task next time.

Pickhardtsays parents should see "uh-oh" moments as an opportunity to teachtheir kids not to fear failure.

10. Open the door to newexperiences

Pickhardtsays you, as a parent, have a responsibility to "increase life exposuresand experiences so the child can develop confidence in coping with a largerworld." Exposing children to new things teaches them that no matter howscary and different something seems, they can conquer it.

11. Teach them what youknow how to do

Youare your child's hero - at least until they're a teenager.

Usethat power to teach them what you know about how to think, act, and speak. Seta good example, and be a role model. Pickhardt says watching you succeed willhelp your child be more confident that they can do the same.

12. Don't tell them whenyou're worried about them

Parentalworry can often be interpreted by the child as a vote of no confidence, hesays. "Expressing parental confidence engenders the child'sconfidence."

13. Praise them whenthey deal with adversity

Lifeis not fair. It's hard, and every child will have to learn that at some point.When they do encounter hardships, Pickhardt says parents should point out howenduring these challenges will increase their resilience. It's important toremind your child that every road to success is filled with setbacks, he adds.

14. Offer your help andsupport, but not too much of it

Givingtoo much assistance too soon can reduce the child's ability for self-help, saysPickhardt.

"Makingparental help contingent on the child's self-help first can buildconfidence."

15. Applaud theircourage to try something new

Whetherit's trying out for the travel basketball team or going on their first rollercoaster, Pickhardt says parents should praise their kids for trying new things.He suggests saying something as simple as, "You are brave to trythis!" "Comfort comes from sticking to the familiar; courage isrequired to dare the new and different," he says.

16. Celebrate theexcitement of learning

Kidslook to their parents for how they should react to things. So if you getexcited about them learning how to swim, or speaking a new language, thenthey'll be excited about those things too. "Learning is hard work and,when accomplished, creates confidence to learn more, so celebrate thiswillingness to grow," Pickhardt advises.

17. Be authoritative,but not too forceful or strict

Whenparents are too strict or demanding, the child's confidence to self-direct canbe reduced.

"Dependenceon being told can keep the child from acting bold," he says.