How Confidence Develops
For most children school means spending more time on learning and less on 'play'. It also means more expectations of them – from parents, carers, teaching staff and also of themselves. Children typically start out with high expectations. When they see how well they do things compared to others, their view of their own abilities often changes. They learn that they are good at some things and not so good at others. They also see how others respond to what they do. These things influence their confidence in their abilities, and influence how willing they are to have a go in situations where they feel unsure.
How Parents and Carers Can Help
Confidence improves through building on small successes. Parents, carers (and teaching staff) can help by:
- explaining that skills develop with practice
- encouraging persistence when outcomes aren't achieved straight away
- praising effort, persistence and improvement
- making sure that goals are achievable by breaking down large tasks or responsibilities into small steps
- being ready to help when necessary, without taking over
- encouraging children to have a go and valuing individual improvement
Confident ThinkingSelf-esteem is an important part of confidence. Having good self-esteem means accepting and feeling positive about yourself. Confidence is not just feeling good but also knowing you are good at something. Remember: How I think affects how I feel.
Particular ways of thinking are very important for building confidence. Helpful ways of thinking include:
enjoying learning for its own sake by competing with your own performance rather than that of others.
- believing that, if you try, you can succeed
- finding positive ways to cope with failure and being prepared to give it another go
Dealing with DisappointmentEverybody fails to achieve their goals sometimes. Parents and carers (and teaching staff) can help children manage emotions by:
- Acknowledging feelings, and respond sympathetically and with encouragement e.g. “You sound disappointed, but at least you had a go."
- Helping their young people focus on what they can change to make things better, rather than thinking that the situation is unchangeable or that there is something wrong with them, e.g., “What can you try that might make that work better next time?"
- Challenging words like 'I can't' or 'I'm a failure', and letting them know that 'giving up' may not help them reach their goal.
- Ensuring the young person knows you believe in them and remind them of what they have achieved.
Adapted from : www.kidsmatter.edu.au
- Wendy Harris-Gallichan, Guidance Officer