It has been said that we spend the last 50 years of our lives recovering from the first 18. Our childhood experiences heavily influence our level of confidence and self-esteem. While these qualities can be increased later in life, it’s much easier to get our children off on the right foot. Avoiding damage is easier than repairing it.
Give your children a big head start:
1. Show your children that you love them 100% of the time. Let your child know they’re adequate exactly as they are. Withholding love because of a poor performance is among the worst options a parent can choose. It’s important for a child to know they’re fully supported at all times.
2. Give your child control. Let your child choose their clothes for the day from several options you provide. They feel a greater level of control when they can make a few choices for themselves.
3. Help your child to set goals and be successful. Whether the goal is growing a pumpkin or making the tennis team, help them be successful. Show your child that they can influence their life by making a decision and working hard.
* It’s just as important to help them deal with disappointment when things don’t work out according to plan.
4. Teach your child to do new things. The more capable we become, the more confidence and self-esteem we possess. Help your child to feel more capable by teaching new skills.
* Younger children might need to learn how to tie their shoes, tell time, and make a sandwich. Older children might need help preparing a class presentation, studying for finals, or changing the oil in the car.
5. Compliment and praise your child frequently. We all stand a little taller when we hear something positive about ourselves. Address the things your child does well. Give praise freely.
6. Give your child a few chores. Require your child to do a few age-appropriate chores around the house. This will teach your child discipline and self-soothing skills.
7. Avoid shaming your child. There’s no value in making anyone feel bad about themselves. You only create an enemy. Teach your child that their behavior is incorrect. That’s very different than suggesting that they’re a bad person.
8. Include your child when addressing family issues. Listen to your child’s opinion. You might find that your little one sometimes has the best solutions. At the very least, you’ll boost your child’s confidence and sense of importance.
9. Set a good example. Take care of your own needs. Be kind and patient with yourself. Treat yourself the way you’d like your kids to treat themselves. Show them how to set limits and say “no” to unreasonable requests. Even if your kids aren’t listening, you can be certain they’re watching. Show them what confidence and self-esteem look like.
10. Give your child attention. When you ignore your child, you send the message that they don’t matter. Turn off the TV or put down the magazine while your child is trying to speak to you. Make time to pray with your child. If you truly don’t have time, ensure your child understands the situation.
* Be encouraging. Children need a lot of support and encouragement. This isn’t the place to be stingy.
Many child behavioral issues are tied to poor self-image and a lack of self-confidence. Giving your child the self-confidence and self-esteem needed to be happy and successful might be the greatest gift you can provide. It’s never too early to start preparing your child for the future.