5 simple questions to ask yourself in trying to raise an “I can kid”
There are few qualities that are more important for success and happiness in life than confidence. Having confidence in our abilities and ourselves makes it easier to make friends, reach goals and even take necessary risks. The development of confidence starts amazingly enough, during infancy and develops throughout a child’s life.
Over the years, self-confidence has become more and more a buzz word in parenting. I think many parents think of self-confidence as an empty balloon in their child that they must inflate until their child is ready to conquer the adult world. Trying to build self-confidence in your child is impossible, your child must build his or her own. As parents, we can provide opportunities for our child to help in the process, but building self-confidence is the responsibility of our child.
Some children have a temperament that results in that self-confidence blossoming early, other children work on their self-confidence for a much longer time. No matter what your child’s personality or temperament is, there are several parenting tips to raising the “I can kid” that most of us want for our child.
Five questions to ask yourself:
1. Do I provide opportunities that are challenging for my child?
We should not be afraid to give our child opportunities to be challenged. We don’t want to set our child up to fail, but we do not want to hand life to him or her on a silver platter. When a child tackles a challenge, no matter what the outcome, the embracing of a challenge fosters growth in confidence.
2. Does my child have ample time for free play?
Our children are over scheduled. I see it everyday. Children move from one organized activity to the next with no time to discover what they truly are moved by in life. Children learn best by discovering on their own, by playing freely and not having a planned activity every waking moment. By discovering who they are and their niche in life, a child’s self-esteem will begin to form.
3. Do I allow my child to try to accomplish tasks and allow my child to fail?
One of the most difficult things for a parent to allow is their child to try something and not succeed. If we step in and complete a challenging task for a child, we remove the satisfaction of succeeding or the lesson learned in failing. The fear of failing often prevents children from giving their full effort. Without their full effort, there is an excuse for the failure. Parents need to explain that failure is an important part of the process of success. We learn new ways to attempt challenges. The process is more important than the end result.
4. Are the opportunities I provide age and developmentally appropriate?
As parents we must remember that the experiences, games, and toys we provide for our child should be age and developmentally correct. If we encourage activities that are too easy, our child will be successful but not challenged. It is the challenge that helps build self-esteem. If we provide activities that are too difficult, our child could become overly frustrated and give up and never complete the activity. Continual frustration breaks down a child’s self-esteem or confidence.
5. How do I respond when my child does not meet my expectations? Do I provide unconditional love?
What you think of your child will result in what your child will think of himself. Children get plenty of criticism and adversity in life—that is why our love and confidence in them is so important to them. Love them unconditionally. Your child must know that his or her failures or mistakes will not change the unconditional support and love you have for him. That knowledge will encourage your child to take a risk and try challenges.
These 5 questions are the basis for you providing the opportunity for your child to build a healthy self-esteem and confidence. So take the pressure off of yourself, you don’t have to keep pumping up that balloon of self-confidence in your child. That is your child’s job and your child will do just fine if you provide the love and support along the way, so quit pumping!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.