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Building Your Child's Confidence

Published:Tuesday | October 20, 2015 | 12:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence

Not every child is a lightening bolt of energy or an outspoken little treasure. Some are quiet little stars and shy little candles waiting to catch a flame. However, parents can socialise and nurture their child's attitudes in a way that will encourage or boost their child's confidence.

Child psychologist Doneisha Burke gave us a few tips on how to encourage a healthy self-esteem in your child.


Start early

When you are trying to boost a child's confidence, you are actually targeting their self-esteem. You need to start early by encouraging independence. Allowing them to choose their outfit (for example). This will help them to build confidence in themselves, which is usually what is lacking in a person who has low self-esteem.


Live by Example

Exude the kind of attitude that you want the child to emulate. If you want the child to be confident, display confidence for them to emulate.


Do not overpraise

While you want your child to develop a good attitude and a confident persona, when you overpraise an achievement, you might be doing them an injustice. One tends to be more partial to their own children and some of the praise in a wider arena might be unwarranted. Thus the child might do the same thing in public and when the praise is not forthcoming, they might be torn down emotional.


Do not withhold praise

But in the same breath, when the child does something that is good and warrants praise, then the parent should not withhold it. Encouragement is the best motivator.


Take risks

Encourage your child to take risks - healthy and guided risks. For example, allow them to pour their own cereal, they will make a mess, but at the end of the day it will help develop independence. Besides, confidence is developed through trial and error. When they have made a mistake, encourage them to try again. Do not break them down. Also do not be too rigid in your corrections, not because it is not your way means that it is the wrong way.


Give them chores

Contributing to household chores gives children a sense of value. So having them help you with dinner, etc, motivates them.


Encourage them in their interests

Where you see that they have an interest, whether it be in sports or the arts, encourage them. They will be more confident doing something that they love.


Love them unconditionally

Love them irrespective of your differences and even if they choose a path different from what you want. Ensure that they know that your love for them is not tied to anything.