How do you build confidence into your kids?

Some kids seem to come already loaded with plenty of confidence and gusto, so let’s focus for a moment on the kids that don’t seem to have that particular App built into their systems.

It is helpful to view the word “confidence” as a feeling word, as in, “I feel confident.” We know that our feelings are the result of how we think about things (including ourselves), so if a child is not feeling confident, it is because he is not thinking confidently about himself or his ability to handle his current circumstances.

So, how can you positively impact your child’s thoughts about him/herself?

Here are two ideas:

1) Speak positively and confidently. One of the ways your kids learn how to think confidently is by listening to you. Your words are your child’s glimpse into your brain, so make them count. When your child is faced with a problem, speak confidently about his ability to handle it, or to find a good solution. Regularly point out your child’s positive behaviors and character traits. Remind your child that you love him and are proud of him. If you are a person of faith (as I am), remind your child of the wonderful way that God has created him.

· “Hey pal, I know we can find a good way to handle this.”

· “Sweetie, that was very brave. “

· “Hey, you’re really good at this game.”

· “You worked really hard on that homework. I’m proud of you.”

· “God sure gave you a great sense of humor.”

2) Help your child find areas of success. Nothing breeds confidence like success. All kids are different and will have different natural interests and abilities. Don’t let your kids simply sit around and play video games as their major life activity and ambition. While video games can be a fun activity, require your kids to try other individual/group sports, clubs, lesson, and activities. They don’t have to excel in everything—in fact, they won’t. We just want them to try different things, even for a short time, to explore activities and skills that they may really enjoy and do well in.

For example, for several years, my son, Jake, enjoyed much success in Shotokan karate at local and national tournaments. He really enjoyed it and spent many hours practicing. How did it start? He and Lora signed up for a parent-child karate class at the local park district center.

In my book, Project Dad, I used the analogy of your child being like a cereal box, with many great prizes hidden inside. You don’t know what those prizes (or hidden talents, abilities, and characteristics) are, but you know they are there.

Your job is to help your kids find them.

When your child is thinking confidently about himself and experiencing areas of success, the feeling of confidence won’t be far behind.

How have you helped your kids develop confidence?

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