How to Boost Your Kid’s Confidence

Use this mom-approved tip to ditch the comparisons with others and find the stuff that matters in ourselves.

We all want to raise emotionally resilient, confident and compassionate children. Still, it’s difficult to watch when they struggle, when they say “I’m just not good at….”  or “I’ll never be as good as …..”.

We shower them with “that’s not true, you are great at basketball!” Or “Well, she’s had a lot more practice than you…”

And that may work. 

For a bit.

Until the next thing comes along they aren’t “as good at.”

How many times do we say those types of things to ourselves, too? “I’m just not good at presenting in front of people,” “I’m not good enough for the next promotion,” “I’m not as skinny/beautiful as…,” “I’m definitely not as patient as that mom I just saw on IG.”

Objectively, we (and our kids) may not be “as good” at something as another person, but that doesn’t mean all is lost. There will always be someone better/faster/more talented in a certain thing.

The more I sink into a more overall fulfilling and less rushed life, I’ve come to believe that comparison is the thief of joy. The antidote is self-confidence.

Instead of comparison, we can grow confidence in what we do have to offer. And we can also teach our kids how to do the same thing.

Mom-tested tip to try 

Confidence is not something you have, it’s something you create and grow. Same for your kids. While you can’t grow it for them, you can help them grow it themselves. 

Here’s how to teach the skill of growing confidence: Help them focus on the good, instead of just the “not good enough.”

For example, my daughter wanted to play soccer. But when she got to the field and saw all of the people and other players, she became overwhelmed and scared — and wouldn’t even step foot on the field.  

So, in following what I teach in the Motherhood Balanced Program for my clients, I bought her a journal and titled it her “Brave Book.”  

We started writing very small examples of when she had to be brave (essentially doing something she was scared to do). One example was going to swimming class with a new instructor, which made her nervous. But she did it. We celebrated by writing it in her “Brave Book.”

I helped her keep looking for those “brave” examples. It creates clear evidence (for herself) of all the ways she’s brave and she pulls from those examples when she needs to believe it to try something new. 

So, help your child find and build evidence for themselves. Help them by prompting them to write down or draw all the ways they are already good at something or identify a particular quality (kind, smart, a great teammate or good at math) even if they aren’t “as good” as someone else.

Once they can start finding their own evidence, their confidence will grow, bit by bit. And that’s a skill they can use for a lifetime.

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