Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How to Build Your Child's Self-Confidence

The holidays can be tough for adults, but don’t forget that the holiday season can also be difficult for children and young adults. They encounter challenging situations in everyday life at school, with peers, and with parents. With the new year, learn how to become an even more effective parent and help build your child’s self confidence! Help them start the year out right following these easy tips!

The Early Years:

Be a Good Role Model - Do as I do and as I say! Be very careful what you do around your developing child because he is developing cognitively, socially, and emotionally every day. Your child uses you as the template on how to act in a variety of situations.

Encourage Your Child - Confidence comes from successfully experiencing new things. These tasks do not need to be difficult. Even the simplest things can build confidence.

Do Not Over Praise - Children do not need to be praised for each and every thing they complete, especially those behaviors that are expected. Praising in this way can cause it to lose its meaning and effectiveness.

Do Not Underestimate Your Child’s Ability - Try not to always say “Let me do that for you.” Allow your child to try tasks for himself. If he struggles, show him tips regarding how he can work on it and eventually successfully complete the task.

Socialize - Find ways to have your child meet new friends and participate in organized activities (such as sports). Children build confidence from those around them and socializing provides them with an opportunity to showcase their talents and receive feedback (from someone other than their parents!).

The Teen Years:

Celebrate Strengths- When the going gets tough, we tend to focus on the negative far more than the positive. If you find that you are constantly pointing out your teen’s negatives, pick two positives for each negative comment. Try to do this each day.

Encourage Them to Do What They Love -…and support them! Encourage your teen to play sports, be in the school play, etc., if that is what he is passionate about. Support him when he is doing well and encourage him to do his best when things do not go so well.

Help Them Go Easy on Themselves- Let your teen know that she does not have to be perfect all the time and that it is normal to feel insecure. Encourage her to face her fears and be confident in her ability to do so. Give her tips from your own experiences to show her you understand.

Be There- Sometimes teens do not want advice, they just want someone to listen and empathize. They will let you know when they want your opinions.

Helpful Resources:

Building Self-Esteem in Teenagers, by Estela Kennen:

Child Self Confidence Tips:

Self-Confidence Boosters for Your Child: Tips for Parents, By Silvania Clark:

Self-Confidence for Kids: 4 Tips to Help Your Child Gain Self Confidence, By Pinkie McBanon:

Weekly Parenting Tips: Building Self- Confidence, By Jennifer Shakeel:

Dr. Elise Abromson is a Licensed Psychologist who works with children, teens, and families. She can be reached through email at or at (301) 712-9015 ext. 1018. For more information about Dr. Elise’s services please visit her website at

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