We all want our kids to develop into strong, confident individuals but what happens when as a parent, you’re not quite as confident as you’d like to be?
The good news is that there are ways to encourage your child’s confidence, while working on your own.
Think about yourself.
Before you even think about teaching your child how to develop their confidence, you’ll have to work on your own, says Dr. Belinda Akins a Sydney based Psychologist. “It won’t happen immediately and we shouldn’t expect it to, but thinking about body language, the way we talk while our children are watching us can all assist you in coming across as a more confident person”. She recommends practicing in the mirror; stand with your feet facing the person that you are talking to, meet their eyes and smile where appropriate."
When you’re faced with uncomfortable situations, take a minute to breathe. When we are anxious, we tend to rush through our words, often stumbling or stuttering. Slowing down your speech will automatically make you appear more confident to others.
“A common fault for a lot of women who are anxious is that they place inflections at the end of sentences. That’s when your voice goes slightly higher, almost as if you’re asking a question,” says Belinda. “Try and keep your speech neutral and believe in what you are saying.”
It’s normal as parents to want to protect your child from getting hurt, especially if you yourself experience anxiety in certain situations but try and avoid hovering over your kids. Belinda says, “We are actually doing more harm than good if we shield our children from normal emotions. Part of growing up and gaining confidence in ourselves is to experience natural emotions like disappointment, sadness or anger. We then learn to regulate ourselves and are better prepared next time we experience a similar situation.” Dealing with our emotions builds self esteem because we learn to overcome challenges and negotiate our own way through.
Allow your kids to make their own decisions
Belinda says that you can work on building confidence in a child from a young age, simply by allowing them to make age appropriate decisions. This could be small things like what they include in a lunchbox, or what they wear during the day but independence fosters confidence simply because children see they are able to achieve things for themselves and can be proud of their accomplishments.