When a child feels valued, there’s a good chance that he’s going to want to be the best version of himself. This is precisely why you should help your child feel encouraged, capable and confident says Richa Shukla, content expert, Sesame Workshop, India
Rahul desperately tried to get the ball through the hoop. He kept missing and finally cried out in frustration, his face damp with sweat and tears. He threw away the ball and looked around despondently. His mother ran towards him and embraced him. She told him to keep trying because eventually, he would be able to sink the ball through the hoop. She reminded him of the days when he was unable to write his name. Rahul recalled that even though it was tiring, he was persistent in his efforts and he was eventually able to write his name.
Such encouragement and positivity are essential building blocks for a child’s confidence. Children’s perceptions of themselves and the world are formulated at a young age. How a child thinks, what they see, what they hear, and how they respond to their surroundings, are all components of what ultimately constitutes their selfimage. If a child begins to imbibe feelings of anxiousness, stress, discontentment and fear, they tend to become jittery, hesitent, shy and unsure of themselves. A growing body of research shows that more and more children, in their early years, are in the grips of toxic stress and anxiety. Adverse childhood experiences lead to an increase in negative health outcomes that can be carried into adulthood.
There could be multiple factors that could lead to the child being stressed and anxious, whether it’s from facing adversity or finding any task difficult to complete. Children tend to develop multiple stressors when they are unable to comprehend or complete their school and tuition work. They stumble through the work and get scared at times as they are not able to perform and excel at something that their peers are finding easy. This makes them lose their confidence.
A child’s low morale can be easily misunderstood as shyness or quietness. Parents need to identify the signs and act upon through strategies which can help the child deal with the problem at hand and boost his morale. The role of the parent is also essential in ensuring that the house has a friendly atmosphere so that the child feels secure, and allows him to express himself freely without any fear of being reprimanded.
There are several techniques that can be adopted to boost a child’s morale and empower them to work hard towards achieving their goals. They are:
Establishing a communication channel
Children begin to develop social skills in infancy with their earliest bonds and interactions with family members. Establish an effective communication path with the child. Be supportive, spontaneous and affectionate. It will help build the relationship and make him more confident about opening up.
Allow them to make choices
It is extremely crucial for parents to help children makes choices; parents can present them with options and situations, but let the choice rest with them. This is a great way to build confidence as they become more capable of making decisions and understanding what choices may lead to pleasure or discomfort.
Praise and reward
Let your children know you love him for who he is and for what he does. Let him know that he is special. Parents should tell their children that every person is unique and blessed with distinguished abilities and talents. Create positive memories for your child and praise his successes through small gestures. Reward him with a little treat— a sticker, a cookie or a trinket— for motivation once in a while. Avoid talking down when he fails to meet expectations. Try to encourage him to perform better the next time.
Comparing a child’s abilities with other children is the worst thing to do. All children have very intense emotions and the act of comparison between the child and his peer group, creates a sense of inferiority. Comparing your child with an apparent paragon of virtue can trigger pangs of extreme jealousy, and it can become unhealthy for him.
Children feel confident when they accomplish a task that has been given to them. They also get a boost when they start doing their routine jobs themselves. Take, for example, when Elmo on Sesame Street attempted to tie his shoelaces. He kept failing inspite of repeated trials. He began to feel restless and hopeless. His parents encouraged him to keep trying and not give up because eventually, he would be able to do it. Such examples need to be given or shown to children. This will motivate them to be determined towards achieving their goal.
Talk to the teachers
It is crucial for parents to understand their child’s attitude towards his peers and teachers and gain an insight into the social life of their child. It is also necessary to be aware of how their child is behaving in the external environment. For example, if they are exuding confidence at home, are they also being able to do so in school? It helps parents understand if their child is facing any learning or attention issues. Talking to the child’s teachers and friends also help identify his interests.
Use of imaginative play
Through imaginative play, children transform into people, objects, and situations around them. They envision imaginative situations and construct and act out their roles and functions. Such play allows them to dream big and be whatever they want to be; they paint the world the way they see it. By participating in such play, parents get a sneak peek into the child’s imaginations and an opportunity to motivate them to dream confidently.
Remember, trust is key in
establishing a healthy and strong relationship with your child. It’s also the driving force behind that much-needed boost to a child’s confidence. Love your child, build and nurture a strong connect; let the child know that you are there to help whenever his morale is low. This open and honest communication will motivate him to openly seek your help when he’s faced with a tough situation and isn’t confident enough to handle all on his own. This will also make him listen and respect your advice. Your support will help broaden his understanding of what it means to be confident. It is your guidance that will help him develop his opinions based on evidence, help him to speak up around his peers and enable him to listen and respect another’s opinion while still putting his point across.
It is important for children to find an identity and voice in the midst of stronger influences. There will be setbacks and failures, criticism and pain in life. Your support will help your child handle situations constructively, and take this critical learning into adulthood.|MB