Building Self-Confidence Starts At Home

Ask any parent what he wants most for his child, and the answer you’ll mostly get is, “I want my child to be happy and successful.” A big part of happiness and success is self-confidence, which is one’s belief in himself and his abilities.

There are a number of environments, people, and ways that can influence how your child develops confidence. But one important factor is the home environment, particularly the parent’s role in his child’s life.

Here are some ideas that may help you boost your child’s confidence:

1. Pay attention and listen well.

Take time off your busy schedule to give your child undivided attention. This does wonders for your child’s feelings of importance because it sends the message that you think he’s valuable. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. It just means taking moment to direct your attention away from your mobile phone when he’s trying to tell a story. Making eye contact tells your child that you’re listening and responding to his stories tells him that you’re interested in his feelings and opinions.


2. Celebrate the positive.

Everyone, be it a child or an adult, responds well to encouragement, so make an effort to acknowledge the good things your child does every day. Be it the little things like cleaning up after himself after a snack or getting a good grade on a project he has worked hard for. Your child longs for the moment that you acknowledge his achievements since he looks up to you. Allow him to bask in the glow of your praise by acknowledging him and his effort.


3. Experiment and let mistakes happen.

Encourage your child to explore something new, such as trying a new sport or being part of a children’s group like a choir. This allows your child to build a world of choices and to be open to the idea of experiencing something new. Though there’s always the possibility of making mistakes in experimenting, explain to him the lessons that can be learned and the steps that need to be taken in order for him to reach his goal. Allow your child to explore and learn things on his own and resist the urge to intervene and save him at all times. This allows him to decide and reflect on his own what he would need to do and avoid next time.


4. Provide encouragement.

Every child needs the kind of support from family that signals. “I believe in you. I see your effort. Keep going!” Encouragement means acknowledging progress and effort – not just rewarding achievement. This allows you to transfer your belief in your child to his belief in himself. Seeing that you have not given up and continue to believe, allows him to believe in the same thing since he looks up to you as a role model. Your child will end up feeling good about himself since he knows that every bit of effort, along with the result, was acknowledged.


There are still a number of other strategies that can be employed so that you can bring out and develop your child’s confidence. Just always remember that your child looks up to you since you’re his guide in his journey. Project the kind of confidence you would want your child to have and act in accordance with it. Seeing a confident person in action will further motivate your child to act, at all times, with the just-right level of confidence.


Kumon is the world's leading after-school enrichment program. We offer two subjects: Math and Reading in more than 300 Kumon Centers nationwide.

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