He turned his melty brown eyes to look at me as he confessed the saddest moment of his day. A kid in his class had done the unthinkable. They had called him a baby.
I tried to pull off a brave-but-concerned look. “Is that true?” I asked. “Are you a baby?”
“No,” he said grinning. “I juss idnored him.”
I want confident kids. You want confident kids. We want those kids who are sure of themselves and march through life smelling of certainty.
Self-assured kids aren’t always the first ones to speak or the most aggressive. Sometimes it looks more modest and reserved.
For some of the kids in my family, bold assurance comes easier. For some, it may be a backbreaker of a struggle.
But for every single one of my kids and yours, no matter their temperament, confidence can be theirs.
Here are our families FOUR favorite ways to INSPIRE CONFIDENCE in our kids:
1. Talk to them.
And expect them to answer. From the time they warble their first dada, have conversations. Ask questions and wait for answers.
Toss in a big word here and there.
Ask them their opinions on adult-size problems.
Discuss the biggest emotion of their day.
Don’t answer for them when others ask them questions. Don’t let them shrug or snub.
Having conversations with parents from the time they are tiny, empowers kids to share their thoughts and ideas with friends and other adults.
And just like that, we have set our kids up to be confident in conversations.
2. Let them fail.
The thought of failing can seem scary to kids. When they fail, they get to experience the worst case scenario, which is usually much less horrible than they anticipated. It just might dawn on them that failure doesn’t bring the world to an end. And they will probably try again.
Don’t rescue them. That is good advice 95% of the time.
Example: A careless failing of a high school math class is not part of the 5% rescue time. Retaking the class the next year with a younger sister is a great fail.
(Hypothetically speaking, of course.)
As is leaving their library book out in the rain, losing every game of Bohnanza and spending their birthday money on an armful of crap from the dollar store.
Give them time to process alone before interjecting your adult questions and solutions.
Don’t hyperventilate over spilled milk; let small failures stay small failures.
And our kids will be more confident to try new things.
3. Let them practice independence.
They might not be moving out of the house this Saturday, but every week they are getting closer. At least that is what I encourage myself with on rotten days.
Let your kids order their own food at restaurants as soon as they can talk.
Let them dress themselves as soon as they can pull up a pair of backwards pants.
Let them stand up for themselves. When kids complain about a sibling or a friend offending them, give them the tools to confront and work through the problem themselves.
I just realized that my preteen can put her own pee in a cup. Who knows how long she could have been doing this solo?
Our sixteen year old is driving himself to the doctor’s office for a shot next month. Hallelujah.
Realizing they are powerful gives kids confidence.
4. Let them know their Identity.
Every truly confident kid knows who they are.
Those first three tips whisper to our kids that they are valuable and competent and powerful.
But I think they need us to shout those words too.
Tell them that they are completely and fully loved. And created to do good things and heard and fearless. Our kids will probably believe us when we tell them the amazing things God says about them.
(For more on teaching your kids about their identity, check out this post, which includes a downloadable Scripture list and our family’s Identity Declaration.)
May our kids be bold, certain and downright confident.
Idnoring the haters of preschool and big school.
And may a good bit of that courage splash on to us parents. Lord knows we need it too.
Photo copyright of 123rf photos and Sergey Nivens.