How to Raise Optimistic and Confident Kids

What does your child say to themselves when they look into the mirror? Do they praise themselves and feel confident or are they critical and questioning of themselves?

Confidence is how we feel about ourselves.

Research has shown some key differences between individuals with low and high self-esteem.

Individuals who are low on confidence will often focus on not making mistakes, be cautious, avoid challenges, and may be critical of themselves.

In contrast, confident people have a growth mindset, i.e. being open to challenges and coping well with change.

1.     Reinforcement 

Reinforcement of the efforts than just the output is essential. Expressing your praise in the form of a high-five, praise, clap or a reward can help the child feel valued and improve their self-worth.

Make sure to frame your praises to mention specifics of what the child did that you like. Example. Instead of saying “you are so smart” for finishing a drawing, you can say “I like how you shaded the figures”

Praise based on inborn skills can make them risk-averse. Thus, praising effort and hard work will be more effective

2.     Acceptance

Every child is unique and has some special abilities, skills and interests. Complete acceptance of who your child is vital for the development of their confidence.

When they feel accepted, they will be more comfortable in their own skin, feel like valued beings

3.     ‘I am mindful’

What happens around the child has a strong impact on their emotions and behaviour. The concept of observational learning highlights how children observe and imbibe a lot of things from people whom they value the most. Thus, be mindful of your own reactions during periods of stress.

Use more positive statements, be more accepting of new challenges. While you speak to your child, instead of saying “My work is so difficult, I can’t do it!” , you can try saying “My work is difficult and challenge, I am still trying to get it done”

Reminding yourself of this one statement ‘I am mindful’ can help you orient as to what you say and express.

4.     Safe space – with you 

Creating an emotionally safe space with your child is essential to build a close bond where the child feels free to express, make mistakes, apologize, seek apology, and try again…

How to do it?

a.      Not pick out differences, enjoy the uniqueness

b.     Monitor Tensions and stressors in family, as it affects children easily

c.      Understanding that every child is different, even siblings are different from each other 

d.     Identify your child’s unique capabilities and reinforce it 

5.     Encourage mistakes

It aids in the development of a growth mindset. Help them see mistakes as stepping stones to learning and development. As parents, we can turn mistakes into opportunities by how we respond to mistakes. Being encouraging and compassionate in the face of failures can help children develop a growth mindset. They will be less likely to give up in the face of difficulty because they enjoy the activity and not fear failure

(Remember the acronym ‘RAISE’)

“If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach them to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence…”

                                                                              Carol S. Dweck

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