Do you notice your child showing signs of insecurity, being down on themselves often, or not wanting to try new things? It can be challenging to encourage self-assurance in kids, but with some help, you can learn how to build your child’s confidence one day at a time.
Addressing my daughter’s confidence issues, was like holding up a mirror to my failure as a mom.
When I noticed my daughter didn’t have confidence in herself, I immediately realized that I was not helping at all.
As a matter of fact, she could have developed a sense of insecurity because of an insecure mom – me. Maybe she wasn’t confident, because she witnessed the most important woman in her life, not being confident ever.
Is it too late?
Once you notice this characteristic in your child, they most likely have already developed a habit of not being confident. So if you have little ones at home, building their confidence should start now.
If your kids are older, I won’t lie to you – it will be more challenging. This is where I am right now, and it has been a gradual and rocky progression.
My heart broke for my daughter when this started happening. It all began with kids making fun of her scars on her legs. When we first moved to the island where we live, mosquitos bit her legs all over. Then she was insecure about her size.
I did this.
When all this started to happen to her, thoughts of my toxic speech was magnified in my mind. I openly spoke about my insecurity without giving a second thought that my kids were listening. If it didn’t cause her to lack confidence, it surely enabled that feeling or didn’t help the situation in the slightest. (Although, I know if I were confident my kids would be positively affected by that.)
So what do we do?
Building your child’s confidence takes intentionality. it is best to start when your child is young.
Since my daughter is already a pre-teen, I had to start from scratch for a child who had probably been lacking confidence for years without me even knowing.
She went from a happy girl full of joy, who took Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Boxing to a child who didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere.
These are the steps I am intentionally taking to help build up my daughter’s confidence (I hope they can help you if you need to do the same.):
No matter how busy our lives get, I make time for us to spend quality time together. I am committed and don’t want to look back and regret not making time. Our days with our children go by so quickly.
Develop improvements on perceived weaknesses.
If they want to play an instrument, find a way for them to do so. We reached out to our family, who all chipped in to buy my daughter a ukulele when we couldn’t afford one.
It was something she did for herself. It was something she loved and took her mind away from anxiety. That ukulele was worth every penny.
My daughter was insecure about not being able to speak the native language where we now live. So, we made sacrifices to get her Tongan language lessons. We have found that encouraging skills development has given our kids a focus on building their interests and improving on their weaknesses. Confidence follows.
Praise kids when they try their best.
For me, days of punishing my kids for making mistakes, or getting a less than the desired result on tasks, are looong gone. I just want my kids to try their best.
As their mom, I praise their effort and point it out every time I notice. I don’t want a day to go by without them knowing I appreciate them.
Build critical thinking skills.
A mind that tries to solve problems and tries to find alternative ways to get answers, is a mind that is not shattered by the wrong answers or rejection.
Point them to Christ.
This may be a given, but studying God’s Word in spite of the world around us provides a perspective beyond the worldly expectations.
It wasn’t until I read my Bible and knew Christ that I realized I needed no man’s approval – I only needed God’s approval and that was freeing. Teaching God’s Word to kids will do the same.
They can diminish their lateral view of acceptance from people to a vertical view of justification and salvation in Christ.
Watch what I say.
I had to dig deep and pray that my words would be few when it came to how I felt about myself, especially in front of my kids.
I prayed through depression in front of my kids and I am now purposeful to say things are beneficial to them. Saying negative things about myself in front of my kids is damaging to them and me.
If you have little ones, I highly recommend you start immediately in building their confidence. I do not, in any way, mean you should encourage a false sense of self in them. Be true to them every step of the way. Don’t give them rewards just for participating, don’t give them everything they want, don’t tell them they are right when they are wrong, and don’t allow them to do whatever they want.
However, do build their confidence in positive ways and point them to Christ.
Here are a few ways to build confidence in your child – even if they are young learners.
1. Give lots of hugs.
This shows your little ones that they don’t have to earn your hugs and affection. They will not lack love. Your intentional affection will show them God’s unmerited affection towards us all.
2. Let kids express their feelings productively.
From a young age, you can ask kids to draw how they are feeling. Putting their feelings on paper, allows them to take a step back and discuss feelings as if they are speaking about feeling sin the third party which they are more comfortable with.
You will be shocked at what you can ask your kids about the feelings they draw on a paper (whether it be scribbles or an angry face). Kids may not tell you how they feel, but they can explain why they drew with only black and red colors or why they drew a sad face. Here is a resource to help you, help your kids with their emotions:
3. Be purposeful about having your kids point out good things in each other.
We can tell our kids they did a great job until we are blue in the face, but hearing it from a sibling is different – and it will form bonds between them.
Get your kids in the habit of pointing out the good that the other does. Build them up, and help them to build each other up.
4. Tackle their fears.
Many children are afraid, and we “rescue” them from their fears. At some point (using discernment), help them face their fears, even from a young age. This requires that we be an involved parent. Pay attention to opportunities to help your kids overcome their fear and let them know that fear is OK.
Even share that fear is the beginning of wisdom as it says in God’s Word. Fear brings about discernment, wisdom, and faith.
5. Give age-appropriate chores.
Chores allow kids to understand they can contribute to the family because they are an essential part of it. Here are some resources to help:
6. Speak life into your kids.
I am as far away from prosperity-gospel Christianity as you can get. However, speaking words of affirmation to our kids does make a difference. Don’t ever lie to your kids, but speak words that edify and that are useful for the hearer.
We all know that words are powerful. They have lasting effects on us. We probably still remember insults told to us as kids.
Why then can’t we speak words that encourage our children and point out what we notice about their character worth praising.
Here are a few words of affirmation that I feel are incredibly productive for kids:
Tell them these affirmations:
- God knew you before you were in my womb.
- Before you were born, God knew you had to be in this world.
- I loved you first.
- You are important to me.
- God’s mercies are new every morning.
- I trust you.
- You matter.
- What choice do you want to make?
- You are never alone.
- The world would not be the same without you.
Teach them to say these affirmations to themselves when they are feeling down:
- I matter.
- God has every hair on my hair numbered.
- I am loved.
- Jesus died on the cross for me.
- I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
- There is no one else like me, I am unique.
Check out some resources to help you build your child’s confidence:
Help Your Child be Their Most Confident Self (FREE Guide) | Smiley for Life
10 Ways to Raise Confident Kids and FREE Printable | The Realistic Mama
Social Emotional Learning Improving Self-Confidence Activity Book (Print-N-Go) | Counseling with HEART
List of 101 Positive Affirmations for Kids and Young Adults | Pathway2Success
52 Trust and Confidence Affirmations FREE eBook | Parents Enlight
+ 15 Self-Esteem ACTIVITIES / GAMES for kids and teens | Very Special Tales
Self Worth “I Am” Posters and Writing with Editable Text | Little Miss Counselor
Growth Mindset Pack – Unique Strengths, Goals, and more | The Kitchen Table Classroom
Activities That Boost Children’s Self-Esteem | Kiddie Matters
Growth Mindset Statements FREE Printable | Big Life Journal
How do you know if your child needs a boost in confidence?
Pay attention to these things in your children and take action to combat them:
- Giving up right away or even before they start.
- Not accepting or believing any compliments towards them.
- Negative self-talk.
- Comparing themselves to others.
- Overemphasis on body image.
- Overly concerned about what others think.
Confidence is not fearing failure as much as you want to tackle something challenging, or out of your comfort zone. It is believing that one could handle a situation but not fearing the failure that may come along with trying.
Confidence is working to improve yourself and standing on your abilities, or the capability to achieve and accomplish skills.
Help your children not to shy away from all challenges but to face them regardless of any fears they may have. They are worth every moment we spend in encouraging them to be confident in this very tough world.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!