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10 Tips To Boost Your Child’s Confidence (And Not Their Arrogance)

10 Tips To Boost Your Child’s Confidence (And Not Their Arrogance)

A recent study by The Ohio State University suggests that increasing narcissistic development in children may be attributed to parents’ over-valuation of their child’s abilities and achievements, consistently over time. That is, parents believing that their children are more deserving and special compared to others. The findings also suggest that the development of narcissistic traits stem partially from socialization experiences, and in the case of children, how their parents interact with them. There is a difference in the way “narcissism” is defined, and how it is different from a person who has high or healthy “self-esteem” though.

For starters, the study defines narcissistic individuals as those who “feel superior to others, fantasize about personal successes, and believe they deserve special treatment.” On the other hand, “confidence”, may be simply referred to as “a measure of one’s belief in one’s own abilities…”, according to Kansas State University professor, Candice Shoemaker. Based on anecdotal evidence and empirical studies, it would also appear that individuals who’ve a healthy degree of confidence in their abilities also tend to perform better in their chosen areas of application.

In a nutshell, the confident person has realistic beliefs in his/her own capabilities and enjoys higher chances to succeed, whilst the other holds an inflated belief that they better than the rest, often feel entitled to receive a (positive) result, but tend to perform poorer than the former.

Whilst it is natural for many of us to think the world of our flesh and blood, and go the extra mile to support them during their formative years, praising them to the high-heavens doesn’t help. In fact, over-praising was found to be the largest predictor of narcissism in children – and that had no effect on the self-esteem levels (i.e. self-respect and confidence in their abilities).

How can parents and caregivers help nurture confidence in children and minimize the risk of arrogance then?

Here are ten tips to help you to do so:

1. Allow them to fall (and be there for them when it happens)

I’m starting with probably the biggest and hardest point to swallow – how to let them fall.

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Falling and failing hurts. It’s a natural way our mind alerts us to danger… and motivates us to do better. Pain is a survival instinct that reminds us that we need to skill up and adapt to our environment.

When our children fall, parents feel the pain twofold – one because they can relate to the pain their children are going through.

Two, when they see their baby cry – and out of love and concern, they become all too eager to put a smile back on their children’s faces.

Sometimes, the pressures of the world also mean that some parents want to “fix things”, stop the crying and move on as well. Unfortunately, we won’t be with our children forever, so it’s better for us to teach our kids how to pick themselves up after a fall and recognize areas for improvement rather than to dismiss it or blame others for it.

I learned a great way to teach kids how to pick themselves up from losing, from seeing my nephews and nieces playing with board games.

Games being games, there’s going to be a winner and losers. Yes, plural. Seeing them attempting and playing together starting at the tender age of three showed me the best and worst (then) sights of child. The periods of competition, victory, joy, disappointment, gloating – the good and bad – became teachable moments for these young minds, and parents want to be there reinforce positive traits and guide them through negative behavior when that happens.

As the adage goes, “when one hits rock bottom, the only way is up.” Funnily enough, when we’ve become experienced enough with our initial fears and difficulties, we learn to handle them better – and with that comes a deeper sense of confidence.

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2. Teach them to be accountable for their actions

By teaching our children to be accountable for their actions, they begin to appreciate the power of their choices and develop greater sensitivity to the consequences of those choices. Our children begin to learn and see that life is what they make of it, and not merely subjected to the actions of other people – parents, society etc. Naturally, there will always be things beyond our control, but that’s what all of us are subjected to in this world. Some of the world’s richest and most accomplished individuals are shining examples of how they struck gold when they strove to make “lemonade from the lemons” they were given.

Some famous names that come to mind are, Richard BransonSteve Jobs and Chris Gardner. Teaching our children to be accountable for their actions helps them learn about the power that’s in their hands. It’s the power to shape and chart their future in spite of the environment and competition surrounding them. It challenges them to see things in perspective, to see opportunities, their strengths, and potential pitfalls. It’s a skill they will continue to learn and hone long after we’re gone.

3. Let them help around the house (and celebrate milestones)

A large part of confidence comes from having a sense of competence, and children also need opportunities to build and demonstrate their skill and competency levels as well, and a great place to do that is when they’re at home. Getting them to help, even when they’re to little to help with cooking, setting the table and making beds helps everybody see tangible results of their actions, and provides an avenue for them see and feel that their contribution is valuable.

Too often, many parents are afraid of the mess that might come about during the early days, and rush to rescue their children when they fall. Yet that “mess” is merely a small and temporary problem to a larger and longer-term solution

4. Challenge them

As our children make progress in the various aspects of their lives – be it setting the tables or making the soccer team, it’s not sufficient to merely validate their achievements. The nurturing role of the parent also requires them to challenge the children to push their boundaries and strive for the next challenge. This could mean our children graduating from making the bed they sleep in, to sweeping the bedroom floor (conquering their bedroom!) before moving into helping out the living room and finally into the kitchen.

Similarly, they may do well to make the soccer team as a striker or defender, and whilst we celebrate that achievement, we’ll be encouraging them to actually score a goal or keep a clean sheet.

After all, there’s only so much one can rave about and commend our kids for actually kicking the ball and encouraging them to become better also helps them keep their feet on the ground.

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5. Put your child in charge

Every so often, put your child in charge of family activity. This could be what the family might be having for dinner, movie, or where to go as a family. Putting your child in charge provides them with the opportunity to make decisions, not only for themselves but with their family (and others) in mind. It may be prudent to rotate this privilege between each member, so that more assertive siblings do not dominate

6. Encourage play and the pursuit of their passion

Like so many of the points above, inculcating a sense and desire to learn is not only a great way to build competency (and hence confidence in their skills), but also keep your child’s feet on the ground. Helping our children find and encouraging them to pursue their passion not only helps them nurture their love for learning, but also liberates them to explore freely and find their feet in the world.

Like many of the greatest discoveries of our world, many were found by accident. Who knows what talents they might unearth when they’re having fun?

7. Encourage them to express themselves

Encourage them to take part in discussion, be open and respectful to disagreement and be open to every member’s right to share their opinions and emotions about a particular matter. Sharing and challenging each members’ opinions help our children understand that more than one opinion has the right to exist in our world, and that there’s never a clear-cut solution to life’s sophistication.

In turn, showing respect for another’s opinion also shows our children how to be respectful towards others as well; and in certain instances, what it means to be assertive and passionate in one’s stand and perspective as well.

8. Listen and and help them relate to emotions

When your child is trying to tell you something, stop and listen to what he/she has to say, even if you don’t understand all his words. They need to know that their thoughts and feelings matter.

Help them recognize and get comfortable with their emotions by acknowledging them. You may say, “It sounds like you are sad because you have to say bye to your friends.”

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Doing so helps them recognize emotions such as sadness, frustration, anger, and shows that you are accepting their emotions without judgment. It shows that you validate their their emotions, and show that you value what they have to say.

Likewise, when you share your own feelings, like “I’m excited about going to your play”, they’ll gain confidence expressing their own.

9. Don’t be afraid of calling them out their strengths, values and negative emotions

Every so often your child might get frustrated because they can’t do things their friends can, like painting as well as Peter (for example). Empathize with their disappointment by saying, “I can see that you are feeling frustrated, and I’m glad to hear that you are determined to do better”.

You may also remind them they’re good at “building things / putting things together” (again, for example), something which Peter really isn’t good at. This can help your child learn that we all have unique strengths and limitations, that there are other values worth acknowledgement, and that they don’t have to be perfect to feel good about themselves.

10. Resist sweeping comparisons

When we make comments such as “Why can’t you be as hardworking like Alice?”, we are more often than not making our children feel bad about himself. For some, it’s a hope that shame inflicts enough pain for them to take action.

Interestingly, even positive comparisons, such as “You’re the best player in your team” could be damaging – not only because a child now has a skewed idea of reality without taking into account the contribution of others, it can also be hard to live up to this image.

Better it would, when we learn appreciate our children for the unique individuals they are rather than how they measure up against others generally.

In that way, it’s more likely that they will learn to value themselves too.

Featured photo credit: Petr Dodek via flickr.com

More by this author

13 Things You Need to Forget If You Want To Be Likable How to Set Up Your Child for Success in Life 10 Tips To Boost Your Child’s Confidence (And Not Their Arrogance)

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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