20 Ways to Build Lifelong Confidence in Kids

Confident Children

Our sixth grade daughter is currently writing her Tropicana Speech for her ELA class. Her title?

It’s Hard Being the Best One

Yes, you read that correctly. She’s writing her speech about being the best of our four kids. Her opening paragraph reads, “Do you have siblings? I have three siblings – two sisters and a brother. If you have siblings, you know what it’s like to constantly fight over who is the favorite child. Not me. It’s easy for me to be the favorite child.”

The confidence level in this one is through the roof, and I am not complaining. On the flip side, our twins are who I want to be when I grow up. They are eight, and they sail through life assuming everyone loves them, thinks they’re fantastic, and lovely. And they are, but it never even crosses their minds that people don’t find them absolutely fabulous.

They are confident, and it’s beautiful. Our oldest daughter’s quiet confidence mimics my husband. She’s kind, intelligent, beautiful, delightfully sarcastic and funny, and she is so confident in herself. She does her own thing, and she is naturally good at all things.

The confidence in our house is impressive, though our middle schooler suffered for many years. There were times we never thought she’d see how beautiful and capable, intelligent and funny, lovely and special she is.

Her story is her own to tell – I won’t share it with anyone without her express permission, but she wasn’t always. Seeing her now compared to her two years ago is a sharp contrast, and it paints a very important picture about confidence. Building lifelong confidence in kids is an everyday activity, but it’s not nearly as difficult as it sounds.

Confident Children

1. Model Confidence For Your Children

Do as I say, not as I do might work in some instances – such as when you pour yourself a glass of wine to enjoy with dinner while simultaneously telling your kids imbibing is bad.

When it comes to confidence, however, you have to model it. It’s an inherent trait your kids learn through your behavior. They’re likely to model what they see, so make sure they’re seeing confident parents who build themselves up.

Confident Children

2. Embrace Failure

Failure, my friends, is not a bad thing. I’ve had millions of them. Millions – and I’m not exaggerating. Failure is part of life, and it’s an important part of life. Without my millions of failures, I never would have experienced my millions of achievements. Teaching your kids to view failure as a teaching tool is a great way to build their confidence.

Confident Children

3. Learn From Your Mistakes

You can embrace failure all you want, but it doesn’t matter if you’re not learning from your mistakes. Make each failure into a lesson, and you’re golden. Teaching your kids to do the same is the most invaluable tool they’ll use everyday for the rest of their lives. Rather than becoming angry or lashing out when they mess up, they’ll learn a lesson, do better, and be all right.

Confident Children

4. Take Responsibility for Your Actions

We have a rule in our home – if you make a mistake, you take responsibility for it. You’re going to be in a lot less trouble if you own up to what you did than if you lie, stretch the truth, or blame someone else for your own mistakes. Kids who learn to take responsibility for their actions are more honest, they learn how to handle uncomfortable situations quickly and efficiently, and they become confident in themselves.

Confident Children

5. Do Not Dwell On Mistakes and Failures

You can make mistakes, and you can fail. Learn your lesson, do better, and move on. Teaching kids to move on from their mistakes once they see the lesson in them is the best way to instill lifelong confidence. Everyone makes mistakes, but dwelling on them doesn’t change the outcome.

Confident Children

6. Encourage Your Children to Try New Things

No one ever succeeded by doing the same thing over and over again without trying anything new. In fact, I’m almost certain that’s the definition of insanity. Trying new things helps your kids learn where their strengths and weaknesses lie, which is how they learn to become more confident.

Confident Children

7. Teach Your Children Perseverance

No one is going to get everything right on the first try. This is when perseverance comes into play. Not only does this teach your kids patience – such a virtue – it also teaches them to become more confident in themselves.

Confident Children

8. Praise Kids When They Make Good Choices

Good choices are always worth praise. On the flip side of things, don’t focus on the poor choices further than learning lessons from them. When you praise your kids for doing well and you don’t dwell on the things they don’t do well, you inspire confidence that lasts a lifetime.

Confident Children

9. Teach Kids to Set Goals

But teach them to set them the correct way. Choose a big goal, and then break that big goal down into smaller goals. For example, if the goal is to make the Varsity cheer squad during tryouts, break that goal down into smaller goals that help your daughter achieve her big goal.

Perhaps joining a tumble class to learn her tumbling skills is a small goal. Working out and gaining muscle strength is another small goal. Those small goals make her stronger, teach her valuable skills, and help her reach her larger goal. When kids know how to make goals and reach them, they’re more likely to become confident in knowing they can do all things.

Confident Children

10. Make Sure You’re Celebrating the Effort

My husband and I have learned through parenting four very different children that effort is worth celebrating. Some things come naturally for some kids, and other things do not. Our oldest and youngest daughters are naturally good at all things.

Our middle daughter and son are intelligent, wonderful, successful children, but they have to work a little harder for that. We know that celebrating effort is the best way to teach them confidence. As long as your kids are trying, doing their best, and always putting forth the effort, the outcome is not as important.

Confident Children

11. Learn to Love Your Imperfections

Newsflash – we’ve all got them. No one is perfect. We are all imperfect, and that’s what makes us great. Rather than focusing on our imperfections, though, why not embrace them, and then focus on what we love about ourselves?

I can’t cook, but I don’t focus on that. Why? Because my husband can cook, and I’m good at things like setting the table and choosing fresh flowers and chopping veggies for salads while he is cooking. No one is perfect.

Confident Children

12. Celebrate Differences

Our differences are what make us so unique and amazing, and learning to celebrate those differences is where we become confident. I know, for example, that my husband isn’t like most husbands.

He’s a diaper changer, he cooks, he cleans, he bathes the kids, he doesn’t consider being alone with the kids babysitting. Some dads give him a hard time about things like that, but we celebrate it.

Why? It makes all of our lives easier, happier, and better. It also sets a lovely example for our son about how to be a wonderful husband, and an example of what our daughters will look for in a husband one day.

Confident Children

13. Speak Kindly To Yourself and Others

Speaking kindly is underrated. Teaching your kids the art of lifelong confidence is all about teaching them this trick. By speaking kindly to yourself about yourself, you teach them to do the same.

Don’t call yourself stupid, fat, ugly, no good, or whatever other ugly thoughts you’re having. Say kind things to yourself, and they’ll learn to speak kindly to themselves. No one can be confident if someone is repeatedly telling them they are no good.

Confident Children

14. Always Show Your Love

Love and affection are important. When children know they are loved, they are more confident. Think about how good you feel when you are with people who tell you they love and make it known through their actions. You feel confident, good, and happy. Do that for your kids.

Confident Children

15. Set Expectations

No one learns confidence without understanding expectations. Set them. Kids thrive on structure, so knowing what you expect of them in various aspects of life is what brings them the kind of joy and confidence they need to grow into confident adults.

Confident Children

16. Have Fun

The single most important thing you’ll do with your kids is have fun. Having fun, making memories, and enjoying the time you spend together is the number one way to build confidence. Enjoying life is a lovely thing, and teaching your kids to enjoy life is a gift.

Confident Children

17. Make Sure Your Kids are Set Up for Success

A big one, and a good one – do not set your kids up for failure. For example, your husband has always dreamed of having a son who plays football and goes to college on a football scholarship like he did.

That’s a great dream, but forcing a child who is not naturally good at or does not love football is setting them up for failure. Perhaps he’s better at tennis. Sign him up for tennis where he’ll thrive and succeed. A fish can’t fly, so forcing him to do so is going to cause him to feel like a failure, after all.

Confident Children

18. Spend Quality Time With Your Kids

Quality time is paramount. Your kids need time in your presence that is filled with quality over quantity, and that allows them to form a bond with you. This time should be spent without distractions. No cell phones, iPads, or anything that might detract from the time you’re having together.

Confident Children

19. Provide a Happy Life

A happy life is easy to create when you focus on the good things. There is no singular rule that states you have to do things one way or the other to create a happy life. It’s done by raising your children in a home filled with respect, rules, routine, love, and understanding. It’s a good way to grow up. When your kids are happy, confidence is easy to come by.

Confident Children

20. Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Confident children learn their confidence in many ways, but having a parent they can come to openly when need be is one of the most effective. When your kids know they can come to you without fear of judgment or harsh punishment, they are more confident. They tend to make better decisions in life, and they are typically the kind of children who are more likely to focus on the good.

Confident Children

Confidence is So Important

There are so many reasons to teach your kids how to be confident. Some kids naturally find it easier than others, but every child can become confident when they are raised in a happy, loving home with adults who model confidence for their children. On that note, understanding why confidence is so important is key.

Kids who are confident tend to make better grades and perform well at school and in sports. They make stronger friendships, better decisions, and they tend to excel. These kids grow into confident adults who do well in their careers. They also become better parents who are more likely to raise their own confident children.

Raising a confident child is the best way to ensure a successful future for your kids. Children who are not raised to be confident struggle. They struggle at school, in sports, in relationships with their peers, friends, authority figures, and romantic partners. They tend to be less successful, and they tend to have more depressive episodes than those who have confidence. What you’re doing with your kids right now is more important than you know.

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