Confidence is something that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. You might have one kid that’s extremely confident and outgoing and another that has a hard time trying new things or feeling sure about the things they do. There might even be some of you parents reading this who are still struggling with confidence.
We went to our Dad Community for their top tips on how to boost a kid’s confidence – and any parents, too. Here’s their advice:
1. Model the behavior. This is a through-line in many of the Lead Dad Library entries, but it doesn’t hurt to repeat it: kids are always watching (like, always). We’re their first teachers. In order for us to help them with their confidence, we need to be showing them what it looks like in the first place.
2. Normalize mistakes. A lot of self doubt and nervousness with kids can come from a fear of making mistakes. For those type A parents out there, we know it can be hard to let go and allow them to make their own mistakes. It’s something we struggle with when it comes to our own lives. But it’s a good learning experience for you and your children. Spill something? Let it go. Miss a goal? Let it go. In the grand scheme of things, most of the mistakes we make don’t have a huge impact on our lives.
3. Understand failure happens. No one likes failing, but it’s in those moments that the most growth happens. Mistakes and failure aren’t what define us as people, it’s what we do after those mistakes that shape who we are. Remember the old “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” adage (or maybe a modernized sneaker version for today’s youth).
4. Encourage new things. The biggest tip we heard from Dads was to encourage your kids to try new things and help find what they love doing. Once they’ve found something they’re passionate about, they worked at it and in turn their confidence grew as their skill level rose.
5. Celebrate effort. We know we’re going to get some eye rolls on this one and the participation trophy police, but stay with us. If your kid is nervous to try something new and they get out there and do it, it’s worth celebrating. Continue that encouragement and slowly build confidence from there.
There’s no shortcut. Building confidence takes time. The more you model the behavior you want to see, the more likely your children are to emulate what you’re doing.
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