How To Help Your Child Develop Self-Confidence?

Table of Contents
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    How to help your child develop self-confidence? As a parent, you are probably concerned about raising your child in a way that will instil confidence. 

    You want them to have the skills they need to live, work and play. 

    The key is understanding what self-confidence looks like for children. It's not just about being successful at everything but also having the ability to recover from mistakes and failures. 

    While it takes time and effort on both sides of the relationship, parents can take concrete steps today.

    One of the core things we can all agree on as parents are that developing self-confidence in a child is essential. 

    It is one of the cornerstones of living a mentally healthy life. Building self-confidence in children allows them to be brave and reach out to try new things in life. 

    Without even knowing it, children develop a positive feeling of self-worth that subsequently helps them overcome failures in their lives.  

    But unfortunately, children today are prone to developing a lack of self-confidence more than ever. Yes! Many children in India are plagued by low self-confidence. 

    Like adults, children also have struggles of their own. Because children are growing rapidly, there are many adjustments and changes taking place in their lives. 

    Not only that but parents and teachers also tend to have very high expectations from their children. 

    It's tough for a child to absorb everything around them and healthily deal with them without guidance and support. 

    So, as a parent, how can you help build self-confidence in your child?

    Simply praising your child can do more harm than good. So here's a comprehensive guide on how to build self-confidence in a child.

    About Self-esteem

    Self-esteem is liking yourself, feeling worthwhile, believing in yourself and knowing what you do well.

    Self-esteem gives children the confidence to:

    • try new things and try again when things don't go as planned
    • do things that they might not enjoy or usually be good at
    • face challenges rather than avoid them.

    When children try new things, face challenges and bounce back, they learn and grow. This is why self-esteem can be an essential part of child development.

    Warm and loving relationships are the foundation of children's self-esteem because they make children feel valued and worthwhile. 

    Relationships are built on plenty of responsive, caring interactions with your child. Family rituals are important too because they develop your family relationships and give your child a sense of belonging.

    Sometimes it's easy to notice when kids seem to feel good about themselves — and when they don't. We often describe this idea of feeling good about ourselves as "self-esteem."

    Kids With Self-esteem

    • feel liked and accepted
    • feel confident
    • feel proud of what they can do
    • think good things about themselves
    • believe in themselves

    Kids With Low Self-esteem

    • are self-critical and hard on themselves
    • feel they're not as good as other kids
    • would you please think of the times they fail rather than when they succeed
    • lack confidence
    • I doubt they can do things well

    Why Self-esteem Matters

    Kids who feel good about themselves have the confidence to try new things. They are more likely to try their best. 

    They feel proud of what they can do. Self-esteem helps kids cope with mistakes. It helps kids try again, even if they fail at first. 

    As a result, self-esteem helps kids do better at school, at home, and with friends.

    Kids with low self-esteem feel unsure of themselves. If they think others won't accept them, they may not join in. 

    They may let others treat them poorly. They may have a hard time standing up for themselves. 

    They may give up easily or not try at all. Kids with low self-esteem find it hard to cope when they make mistakes, lose, or fail. As a result, they may not do as well as they could.

    How Self-esteem Develops


    Self-esteem can start as early as babyhood.

    It develops slowly over time. It can start just because a child feels safe, loved, and accepted. It can begin when a baby gets positive attention and loving care.

    As babies become toddlers and young children, they're able to do some things all by themselves. 

    They feel good about themselves when they can use their new skills. Their self-esteem grows when parents pay attention, let a child try, give smiles, and show they're proud.

    As kids grow, self-esteem can grow too. 

    Any time kids try things, do things, and learn things can be a chance for self-esteem to grow. This can happen when kids:

    • make progress toward a goal
    • learn things at school
    • make friends and get along
    • learn skills — music, sports, art, cooking, tech skills
    • practice favourite activities
    • help, give or be kind 
    • get praise for good behaviours
    • try hard at something
    • do things they're good at and enjoy
    • are included by others
    • feel understood and accepted
    • get a prize or a good grade they know they've earned

    When kids have self-esteem, they feel confident, capable, and accepted for who they are.

    How Parents Can Build Self-esteem

    Every child is different. 

    Self-esteem may come easier to some kids than others. And some kids face things that can lower their self-esteem. But even if a child's self-esteem is low, it can be raised.

    Here are things parents can do to help kids feel good about themselves: 

    Communication Does Matter

    Children understand and communicate things differently than adults do. Although you were also a child once, it can be difficult to recall just how it felt to be very young.

    Hence, learning exactly what to say to your child when having a bad day is essential. 

    Focus more on knowing how you can get through to your child, even when they refuse to listen. Be a nurturing parent and nurture a comfortable relationship with your child.

    Stop Pushing Them

    Many parents believe that if they push their children to become better people, they will excel beyond expectations. 

    You, as a parent, may hope that one day you might get to sit back and be proud of your child's accomplishments. 

    Sadly, your child may be unable to reach their full potential because of the type of parenting they were forced to endure.

    Hence, focus on learning how to retrain your child from making mistakes that will negatively affect them in the long run. 

    Have confidence in your child and encourage them to do better but do not force them.

    Keep A Positive Environment:

    Many children feel let down because their parents do not take the time to sit down and talk to them. 

    One thing that children do not like is a home full of tension and arguing.

    Too much negativity can cause children to develop problems later on, so it is essential to prevent them now. 

    Sit with your child, talk about how their day went, tell them about your day and try to build a rapport with them. 

    Spending quality time with your child can help build a trustworthy and supportive relationship.  

    Set A Role Model For Them

    Children look up to their parents and responsible people in their lives. Therefore, it is up to you as a parent to set a positive example and provide them with direction. 

    In the end, the goal is to make sure that they grow up to become successful individuals with a positive outlook on life and learn good morals.

    Stepping Back

    One of the main methods of building self-confidence in children includes giving them space and stepping back.

    Instead of praising them, you have to let the child take risks, make their own decisions, solve problems, and stick to whatever task they start.

    Avoid Overpraising Your Kids

    Excessive praise and showering your child with compliments can do more harm than good. Self-confidence comes from feeling secure and loved, and it develops competence as well.

    Over praising your children can be harmful because you may be setting a low bar for them. 

    For instance, if you keep telling them that they are doing a fantastic job at performing menial tasks, they won't see the need to push themselves. 

    You have to let your child try things on their own, fail, and try again. The key to building self-confidence in a child comes from practice and effort.

    Let Your Child Take Healthy Risks

    If you want to know how to build up confidence in a child, you must let them take healthy risks. 

    To help them build self-esteem and confidence, you must stand back and let your child take chances, make decisions, and start taking responsibility for their actions. 

    Avoid rescuing your kid from failures and let them solve their problems.

    Let Them Make Their Own Choices:

    As mentioned before, Letting your child make their own choices and decisions is essential for building self-confidence in children

    When kids make their choices, they feel confident and start considering the consequences of their decisions. 

    It can be simple tasks like choosing what outfits they want to wear to raise their self-confidence levels.

    Let Them Help Around The House

    When it comes to building self-confidence in a child, you have to provide them with opportunities to showcase their competence and allow them to feel that their contribution is valued in the house. 

    Kids can help with some household tasks like setting the table, cooking and making their beds.

    Let Them Pursue Their Interests

    When it comes to building up confidence in a child, encouraging them to pursue their interests helps boost their confidence. 

    Once you understand what they are interested in, you must ensure that they follow their interests to completion. 

    It can be anything like swimming laps or taking up a dance class, encouraging your child to pursue their passions and have fun. 

    Stick with them through their interests so that they feel a sense of accomplishment in the end.

    Tell Your Child That You Love Them Unconditionally

    Let your children know that you love them unconditionally; this will help in building self-confidence in children. 

    Support them even when they fail or make bad decisions. 

    Avoid praising them only when they perform well in academics or extracurricular because they will assume that you only love them during their peak moments and not during their failures.

    Help your child learn to do things. At every age, there are new things for kids to learn. 

    Even during babyhood, learning to hold a cup or take the first steps sparks a sense of mastery and delight. 

    As your child grows, things like learning to dress, read, or ride a bike are chances for self-esteem to grow.

    When teaching kids how to do things, show and help them at first. 

    Then let them do what they can, even if they make mistakes. Be sure your child gets a chance to learn, try, and feel proud. But, don't the other hand, don't make new challenges too easy — or too hard.

    Praise your child, but do it wisely. First, of course, it's good to praise kids. Your praise is a way to show that you're proud. But some forms of praising kids can backfire.

    Here's how to do it right:

    Don't Overpraise

    Praise that doesn't feel earned doesn't ring true. For example, telling a child, he played a great game when he knows he didn't feel hollow and fake. 

    It's better to say, "I know that wasn't your best game, but we all have off days. I'm proud of you for not giving up." Then, add a vote of confidence: "Tomorrow, you'll be back on your game."

    Praise Effort

    Avoid focusing praise only on results (such as getting an A) or fixed qualities (such as being smart or athletic).

    Instead, offer most of your praise for effort, progress, and attitude. 

    For example: "You're working hard on that project," "You're getting better and better at these spelling tests," or, "I'm proud of you for practising the piano — you've stuck with it." 

    With this kind of praise, kids put effort into things, work toward goals, and try. When kids do that, they're more likely to succeed.

    Be a Good Role Model


    When you put effort into everyday tasks (like raking the leaves, making a meal, cleaning up the dishes, or washing the car), you're setting a good example. 

    Your child learns to put effort into doing homework, cleaning up toys, or making the bed.

    Modelling the right attitude counts too. When you do tasks cheerfully (or at least without grumbling or complaining), you teach your child to do the same. 

    When you avoid rushing through chores and take pride in a job well done, you teach your child to do that too.

    Ban Harsh Criticism

    The messages kids hear about themselves from others easily translate into how they feel about themselves. 

    Harsh words ("You're so lazy!") are harmful, not motivating. When kids hear negative messages about themselves, it harms their self-esteem. 

    Correct kids with patience. Focus on what you want them to do next time. Then, when needed, show them how.

    Focus on Strengths. 

    Pay attention to what your child does well and enjoys. Then, make sure your child has chances to develop these strengths. 

    Focus more on strengths than weaknesses if you want to help kids feel good about themselves. This improves behaviour too.

    Let Kids Help and Give. 

    Self-esteem grows when kids get to see that what they do matters to others. For example, kids can help out at home, do a service project at school, or do a favour for a sibling. Helping and kind acts build self-esteem and other good feelings.

    Over-praising Kids Does More Harm Than Good

    Self-esteem comes from feeling loved and secure and from developing competence, and although parents often shower their kids with the first two ingredients, becoming good at things takes time and effort. 

    As much as we may want to, we can't praise our kids for competence. In fact, by over-praising kids, we're doing more harm than good. 

    We're lowering the bar for them. If you keep telling your child she is already doing a fantastic job; you're saying she no longer needs to push herself. 

    But confidence comes from doing, from trying and failing and trying again—from practice."

    Constant complimenting may also erode self-esteem. Either kids start thinking they're perfect, or they try to be perfect all the time—an impossible standard.

    And inaccurate praise confuses them. Plus, telling your child he's the best, the smartest, or the most talented is setting him up for some terrible news down the road. 

    You're creating an egomaniac who thinks his scribbles are Rothkos but, sooner or later, he'll discover he's not all that after all.

    Let Your Child Take Healthy Risks

    Start by forcing yourself to stand back while your child takes healthy risks. 

    To build confidence in the world, kids have to take chances, make choices and take responsibility for themselves. But, unfortunately, too many parents are trying to rescue their kids from failure all the time.

    Let Kids Make Their Own Choices

    When kids make their own age-appropriate choices, they feel more powerful. So kids as young as two can start considering the consequences of their decisions. 

    Always let your kids decide on their own whether to wear a coat, hat and mittens in winter. Once they knew the difference between warm and cold, it was up to them. 

    They should have control over their bodies and take responsibility for their choice.

    Let Them Help Around The House

    In building self-esteem, kids also need opportunities to demonstrate their competence and feel that their contribution is valuable. 

    At home, that means asking them, even when they're toddlers, to help with cooking, setting the table and making beds.

    Encourage Them To Pursue Their Interests (Fully)

    Another surefire way to boost confidence in kids is to encourage them to take on tasks they show interest in, then make sure they follow through to completion. 

    It doesn't matter what the task—it could be anything from swimming laps to beating levels in video games. 

    The point is for them to stick with what they start, so they feel that hit of accomplishment at the end.

    What To Do When Children Struggle Or Fail

    What if your child's self-esteem plummets when she gets cut from the gymnastics team or can't memorise multiplication tables?

    Don't Lose Sleep Over It.

    So many parents have it backward. They think struggles and failure will hurt their kids' self-esteem, but it's a golden opportunity to help build it.

    Make Sure Your Child's Goals Are Within Reach, At A Level Appropriate For His Ability

    That may mean suggesting he join the house league, where he can feel like a star rather than being the last one picked on the AA team. 

    Preschoolers And Self-esteem

    At this age, preschoolers often like to compare themselves with others and ask whether they're the biggest, fastest or best at whatever they're doing. 

    You can have a significant role in nurturing your child's self-esteem and helping your child value.

    Other ways to improve low self-esteem
    1. Recognise what you're good at. We're all good at something, whether it's cooking, singing, doing puzzles or being a friend. ...
    2. Build positive relationships. ...
    3. Be kind to yourself. ...
    4. Learn to be assertive. ...
    5. Start saying "no" ...
    6. Give yourself a challenge.
    A psychotherapist shares the 7 biggest parenting mistakes that destroy kids' confidence and self-esteem
    • Letting them escape responsibility. ...
    • Preventing them from making mistakes. ...
    • Protecting them from their emotions. ...
    • Condoning a victim mentality. ...
    • Being overprotective. ...
    • Expecting perfection. ...
    • Punishing, rather than disciplining.
    Signs of low self-esteem include:
    • saying negative things and being critical about yourself.
    • joking about yourself in a negative way.
    • focusing on your negatives and ignoring your achievements.
    • blaming yourself when things go wrong.
    • thinking other people are better than you.
    • thinking you don't deserve to have fun.
    Scroll to Top