Everyone’s parenting style is a little different. Some prefer the more hands-off approach, where free-range parenting gives kids room to make mistakes, get a few skinned knees, and come out the other side a stronger and more independent human. Other parents champion a more hands-on approach, helping coach and guide their children through difficult situations while providing guidance and encouragement.
Both styles have their pros and cons, and there really is no right answer as to what parenting style is best. And even though every parent will swear by their own personal parenting style, everyone can agree that whatever road you take, you hope that self-confidence will be one of the key traits you pass to your children.
Self-confident children can take on anything. They can overcome bullies, peer pressure, stress, and whatever else gets in their way of living a happy life. It’s a big responsibility as a parent—but you got this. Here are six tips for raising self-confident kids so they can become successful, amazing adults.
Fake it ‘til you make it
Young children learn by watching. They watch you walk, speak, and eat—and then mimic it themselves. And if the adults in their lives have high self-confidence and self-esteem, they’ll see that too. Since daycare-age children are more influenced by what they see instead of by what they hear, you want to make sure you’re a good example of how you want your child to act.
Now, not everyone is a shining example of strength and confidence all the time. We all have our insecurities and weaknesses. But if they see you tackling difficult situations head-on instead of avoiding them, it will help them see they can also do hard things. Show your kids that your value does not have to do with success or failure. Show them that it’s ok to be wrong, and it’s ok to apologize. Also take a stand when you need to. It can be hard sometimes, but raising a self-confident kid starts with developing that confidence in yourself.
Cultivate healthy relationship attachments
It’s common for young children to experience separation anxiety. Whether it’s because of a mental health issue, the death of a family member, or other external factors, it can sometimes be hard for kids to feel comfortable when away from their parents.
While separation anxiety is a normal part of development, helping them overcome it will help them gain self-confidence and make it easier for them to do things themselves. When you drop them off at daycare, a play date, or at the babysitter’s house, make sure they know you’ll be back for them so they don’t feel abandoned. Helping them get excited about class activities and playing with friends will help them forget about their separation anxiety and make them more independent over time.
Let them make their own decisions
Sometimes when you’re running late in the morning, it’s easier to pick out your kid’s clothes and whip up a quick breakfast by yourself. Involving your kids will just get in the way and take time. But little kids learn by doing, and giving them opportunities to make their own decisions, can help them feel capable and confident.
Let them pick out their own clothing in the morning, or give them choices on what to eat for breakfast and what snacks to pack for lunch. Little choices like those may make the mornings go a little slower, but it can go a long way in helping them become independent and feel more confident in their decision-making skills.
Show unconditional love
As an adult, your child will most likely go through difficult relationships, experiences, and emotions. When those rough moments in their lives happen, it’s comforting to know you’ll always have your family to fall back on and make you feel loved. Showing your child that your love as a parent is unconditional and will never stop can keep them going during the difficult patches.
One thing is for sure: your kid will make mistakes. When those mistakes happen, you can’t take out your anger on them or withdraw your affection. That only kills their confidence and makes them scared to make that mistake again. Don’t withhold love. Don’t blame them, criticize them, or undermine their self-esteem. Frame them as a learning moment and let them know you will always be there when they make mistakes as an adult.
Let their creativity shine
Kids are naturally more creative than adults since they aren’t encumbered by internal and external criticisms yet. Encouraging and cultivating that natural creativity from a young age will help them become more confident and creative adults.
Hang their preschool artwork around the house, tell them you loved the mismatched outfit they picked out themselves, or work on an arts and crafts project together. Helping them feel comfortable in the creativity and feel free to express themselves will do wonders for their self-confidence.
Try not to worry too much.
Raising a child is hard. It can sometimes feel overwhelming and like you’re doing everything wrong and setting your child up for failure as an adult. But children are more resilient than you think. Just because you snapped at them last week or they scrapped their knee when you looked away at the park doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent or ruined their self-confidence. It’s a lifelong process. And most likely, your child will turn out great no matter what.