Given the current high-stress and competitive landscape where we’re constantly striving to get ahead of another, it is common to see parents sign their children up for multiple enrichment classes from the time they are toddlers. After all, we know that the formative years are crucial to the development of a child’s cognitive abilities.
While it is important to develop our children’s intelligence and ability to do well academically, it is also important to start building their confidence and self-esteem from a young age.
1Research has shown that children tend to grow into more confident and resilient youths when they have supportive, consistent, caring and attentive parents. When children feel loved, accepted and appreciated, they tend to develop a healthier level of self-esteem and are more confident of themselves even after facing setbacks. On the other hand, those who are constantly criticised or judged tend to develop a lower self-esteem.
Parents play a huge role in developing their children’s confidence and resilience. According to Maureen Healy, award-winning expert in children’s emotional health, confidence is built upon the ability to begin seeing oneself as skilled. A child’s confidence is accelerated when parents or adults place their trust and belief in a child. A child will then mirror internally those beliefs and gradually develop his or her own self-confidence.
How then can parents go about instilling confidence and developing a healthy self-esteem in their children? TOUCH Family Life shares the 6 As to effective parenting for confident kids.
Giving unconditional love helps your child to develop a sense of security and self-worth. Refrain from imposing your dreams and expectations on your child and love your child for the person that he/she is becoming as you provide support and guidance.
Providing sincere praise and affirmation helps your child develop a sense of significance. Remember to praise your child’s effort, not just the results. For example, ‘You tried that puzzle piece in lots of different spots and you finally got it right. Well done!’
Using caring words and displaying caring actions help your child develop a sense of loveability. Saying “I love you” every night before bedtime or packing your child’s favourite food for his/her lunchtime in school shows your child that he/she is loved.
Making time for your child lets him/her know that he/she is important. Even though you may be busy, refrain from saying things like “don’t disturb me” or even frowning or sighing when your child approaches you for something. All parents feel frustrated and tired sometimes. But if parents send the message that they feel like this about their children all the time, children get the message that they’re a nuisance which is detrimental to their self-esteem.
If you made a promise to your child, try your best to keep to your word. If you set a rule about having no mobile devices at mealtimes, model it for your child and keep to that rule too. By being accountable to your child, you in turn teach him/her to be accountable for his/her actions too. That develops a sense of self-discipline and self-control.
As a parent, you would want your child to be happy but when boundaries are crossed, you need to be consistent with the rules that you’ve set and assert your authority. Show that you are in control and avoid getting into a yelling competition with your child. When administered with love, your authority provides your child with boundaries for making the right choices. That helps your child to develop a sense of self-decisiveness.
Now that you know the 6 As to raising confident kids, start putting them into practice!
Want to know more about parenting or any family-related support? Contact TOUCH Family Life at 6709 8400 or click here to find out more.
TOUCH Integrated Family Group (TIFG) is TOUCH’s newest service group, set up in January 2020. TIFG focuses on Family Resources to help families cope with different stressors along their life course, transition of roles in Family Transitions, Relationships & Growth, and building Family Resilience.
With TOUCH’s multi-service experience in meeting the needs of disadvantaged children, youth-at-risk and vulnerable families since 1992, TIFG aims to equip families with resources and enable them to build resilience. This is done through an integrated suite of services to support the family as a unit, with emphasis on education, intervention and advocacy.