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Linda Cerulli
CENTURY 21 New Millennium

How to Help Your Kids Build Confidence

Children gain confidence by exploring the world around them, trying new things, and learning how to process both successes and failures. The way you interact with your kids on a daily basis can have a profound effect on how confident they feel as they grow up.

Provide Love and Support
The most important ingredient that helps children build confidence is unconditional love from parents. That doesn’t mean that you should agree with everything your children say and let them do whatever they want, but rather, it means that your kids should always know that you have their backs and that you’ll love them even if they make mistakes.

Encourage Your Kids to Try New Things, but Set Limits
Whether you introduce your kids to foods from other cultures or different genres of music, or take them to museums, plays or foreign countries, help them see the richness and beauty of the world around them. If a child expresses an interest in playing a new sport or musical instrument, let him or her try, even if the idea seems to come out of the blue and you think it’s just a passing fancy. Your kids may surprise you by sticking with an interest you’ve never heard them express aloud before.

Letting your children try new things doesn’t mean that you should let them try everything. Kids need rules to protect them, although the rules can change as they get older. Knowing where boundaries lie provides children with a sense of security.

Help Children Succeed and Learn From Failure
Kids will be confident if they know that they’re capable. That doesn’t mean that they’ll do everything perfectly, but everyone has talents, so help your kids find theirs. Encourage them to try things they might enjoy and to keep trying, even if they have a hard time at first. Instead of letting kids set lofty goals that will leave them disappointed, teach them to set realistic, incremental goals. With each accomplishment, their confidence will grow. Offer assistance, constructive criticism and praise whenever appropriate.

A large part of gaining confidence is learning from failure. When your kids are unable to do something, reassure them that everyone fails along the way—and encourage them to try again. They might need to devote more time and attention to a task, slow down, or try an entirely new approach. Frame failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Give Your Kids the Support and Freedom They Need
Parents can help children learn to be confident by allowing them to explore while enforcing rules for their safety. Kids gain confidence by knowing that with hard work and determination they can succeed, and that even if they don’t, their parents will love them just the same.