3 Tips to Build Self-Confidence in Your Child
Do you notice your child making self-deprecating statements, such as “I’m stupid,” “I’m fat,” “I’m ugly,” or “I can’t do it”? You’re not alone. I hear clients making these comments frequently…and at a seemingly increasing rate. How do you change the trajectory and build healthy self-confidence in your child that will follow him/her into adulthood? Here are three helpful suggestions to encourage, rather than discourage, your children, as well as to give them the voice they need to share their feelings appropriately.
Model positive self-talk. Monkey see, monkey do. Watch your words: Both what you say to your child and about yourself. Kids are quite impressionable. If they see YOU looking in the mirror with disgust, they too may learn to look at themselves with disgust. The more you encourage yourself and speak positivity about yourself and your family, the more your child will learn to do the same.
Let them figure it out! When your children come to you and cannot do something, let them figure it out. Don’t take the reigns and rescue them; try not to do the task for them. Cheer them on as they do it themselves. Use phrases like: “You’re determined to figure it out!” “You’re a problem solver!” “You can do it!” This builds self-efficacy, the belief of “I can do it.”
Reflect their feelings. The age-old counseling technique that works at home just as much as it works within the therapeutic setting. By simply stating, “You don’t like the way you look” or “You feel discouraged about doing that” you are validating your child’s experience. Don’t immediately shut them down. Be curious. Use words like: “I wonder why you don’t like the way you look…” This will open up conversation. You want your child to feel open to share with you, not judged. If they feel judged, they will be less likely to share both now, and in the future.
You may be thinking – “HELP! I don’t do any of this!” But rest assured -- It’s not too late! Start now! Remember, kids’ brains are malleable, meaning they can still learn new patterns. There is hope for increased self-confidence and self-efficacy for your child.