Wouldn't it be nice if we could all raise kids with the confidence, spunk and compassion of Little Orphan Annie? Sure, most children won't have to befriend and care for fellow orphans, outsmart a cold-hearted orphanage matron, or survive life on the streets. But all children face some hard knocks, and it's important to equip them with enough confidence to not only survive, but thrive. Self-confidence comes from a sense of competence. A confident child needs a positive and realistic perception of his or her abilities. Here are 10 tips to help build self-confidence in your child:
1. Love your child. This seems obvious, even if you do it imperfectly - and who doesn't? Always dole out plenty of love. Unconditional love builds a strong foundation for confidence.
2. Give praise where praise is due. It's important to give your child praise and positive feedback. Reassure your child that it's OK not to be able to do everything perfectly. It's OK to move on after you've done your best.
3. Help your child set realistic goals. Guide your child to set reasonable goals to help avoid feelings of failure. If the goal is a stretch, discuss some reachable short-term steps along the path.
4. Model self-love and positive self-talk. You must love yourself before you can teach your child to love him or herself. You can model this behavior by rewarding and praising yourself when you do well.
5. Teach resilience. No one succeeds at everything all the time. If your child does poorly on a test, don't smother him with pity or tell him that he'll never be a good reader. Instead, talk about steps to do better.
6. Instill independence and adventure. Self-confident children are willing to try new things without fear of failure. With younger children, you will need to supervise from the sidelines.
7. Encourage sports or other physical activities. Sports help girls and boys build confidence. They learn that they can practice, improve and achieve goals.
8. Support their pursuit of a passion. Everyone excels at something, and it's great when your child discovers that something. As a parent, respect and encourage your child's interests, even if they don't interest you.
9. Set rules and be consistent. Children are more confident when they know who is in charge and what to expect. Even if your child thinks your rules are too strict, set and enforce them consistently.
10. Coach relationship skills. The most important initial relationship is the loving parent-child relationship. But as your child's social circle expands, you'll help her see how her actions affect others, and help her learn to maintain an inner core of confidence when someone else's actions affect her.