Helping a child build a solid sense of self has three simple, common-sense steps. Just remember ABC.
Raising confident, self-assured children takes more than love and praise. Telling a child how wonderful and special he or she is can result in a child who is either arrogant or insecure (“Why am I so special?”). Helping a child build a solid sense of self has three simple, common-sense steps. Just remember ABC.
Accept your child for who he is instead of trying to make him into who you want him to be. If you wanted the star quarterback and you got the science nerd, you’ll both be happier and emotionally healthier if you learn to accept him as he is.
Parent the child you have, not the one you wish you’d gotten. We all long to be accepted for ourselves and loved just as we are. And when you accept her as she is, it allows her to be the best she can be. Give that gift to your child.
Humans have an innate drive to be part of a larger social group. Make sure your child feels she’s an important part of your family. Studies have repeatedly shown that teens with the strongest bonds with their parents are least likely to smoke, use drugs or alcohol, have sex at an early age, or get pregnant.
Having reasonable rules and chores, as well as allowing her to participate in appropriate decisions (such as what movie to watch or what color to paint her room), build a sense of belonging. Establishing family rituals and reinforcing good memories are important, too.
Give your child many opportunities to discover what he’s good at and then build on those discoveries. With some children this is easy, and with others, it’s more challenging. Don’t give up!
Everyone needs to fail or be bad at something in order to learn the value of the joy of doing something you didn’t think you could do. So, don’t allow your child to participate only in those activities that are easy for him. On the other hand, know your child and don’t make her stay in something that is truly painful for her just to “teach her a lesson.” Seeing your child involved in something that she loves and is good at is a wonderful thing.
Acceptance, Belonging, Competence. Focus on these areas, and your child can develop a strong sense of confidence in who he is and what he can do and become.