Bethan O'Riordan

How to boost a child’s confidence

There’s a few simple steps that you can take to increase your child’s confidence, so let’s break it down into three simple areas to support them.  But before we do that, let’s take a moment to understand what lacking in confidence really is.  

I meet many parents who are worried about a part of their children’s lives – I am a Mum of three so I get this.  What’s important is that we manage to keep this worry in proportion.  So keep note of whether the lack of confidence is across your child’s life, or certain parts of their day.  Breaking this huge area down to something tangible and specific will help you and your child make a realistic plan to support any change.

Remember that children need adults to help them find the words for what’s hard in their lives.  Parents can think that by naming things it’s going to make them worse, but naming things is like opening a can of fizzy pop and takes the pressure off.

Here’s how you can practically help:

  1.  Use empathy – Empathy is your number one skill for supporting a child through any emotional difficulty.  Be their detective – if you know that there are parts of their day that they find difficult, name them.  But most important of all is that when you talk about this with your child, they must know and feel from you and you aren’t worried, critical or angry.  You must be in a neutral, “I am here to help” place within yourself.
  1. Be realistic – we all have parts of life that we are better at than others.  It’s ok to not feel confident about every part of life and infact nobody ever rocked up to do anything without a little self-doubt creeping in.  Parents putting pressure on children is so common and this comes from parents own fears about their children succeeding and fitting in with life.  If you do have fears and concerns, it’s probably you who needs some support in fleshing these out and not passing them to your child.  

Celebrate all of your child’s efforts and help them to tune into what they’d like to improve/what they find hard/what they may always find hard.  Remember that change happens over a long period of time.  Children’s brains and emotions are developing and this is individual to them all.

  1. Watch how you are around your child – I see it so often in the therapy room when supporting families that the parents are unwittingly supporting their child’s lack of confidence (which by early teen years so quickly can turn into a critical internal voice).  Become aware of what you say, your facial expressions and even how you feel about your child.  Because children know how you feel about them without having to say anything.

If anything in this blog resonates with you and you’d like support to create change, you’re welcome to book a free call with Bethan here to explore your support options. Make sure you download your free 5 Steps to Calmer Parenting and if you’re looking for immediate parenting support, you can start your free 7 day trial in the Calm Parenting Club.

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