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Expert, Science-backed Guidelines on raising a Confident Child

Jarin Tasnim Diba and Sadia Mahjabeen | February 26, 2022 00:00:00

As a school psychologist when I deal with children and their parents, I frequently find that the majority of parents are quite anxious about their children not being engaged enough in the classroom or that they lack the confidence to pursue any challenge or hobby.

Some parents report regularly hearing phrases like 'I can't do this' or 'I'm not good enough.'

This mostly happens when children aren't confident in their own abilities. They are usually afraid of disappointing their parents or others. Just like adults, children are also haunted by the fear of "What people will think if I fail!"

If your child frequently thinks and talks in a way that suggests a lack of self-confidence, you should take notice.


Give your kids age-appropriate tasks

Giving your child simple responsibilities, such as helping you while cooking, cleaning rooms, picking up toys, making bed, watching over their younger siblings etc, shows them that you trust their abilities to take care of things. This gives them a sense of feeling valued and helps them to become more confident.

However, make sure that the task you assign to your child is appropriate for their age and ability level.

Encouragement is key

Everyone needs encouragement, and kids are no different. Giving your child encouragement not only keeps him motivated and excited, but it also helps him create an inner voice that will help him stay focused throughout life. Teach your child self-affirming thoughts and phases like - "If I don't succeed, I can try again!" and "I think I can, I think I can!".

Don't worry about the outcome, focus on the effort

Give positive feedback about specific things that your child has control over. Tell your child how much you value all of his or her effort, hard work and dedication, instead of focusing on just the end result. Perfection should never be the end goal, rather teaching kids to put effort and improving on their own is what really matters.

Let them decide and always try to ask for their opinion

As parents, we want the best for our kids and often end up deciding everything for them. When we decide everything on behalf of our children, we deprive them of the opportunity to develop their own decision making abilities. Making choices, giving opinions help kids learn how to take up the responsibility for their actions and decisions and grow into more confident adults.

Let them learn from mistakes

Make it clear that your child has the freedom to make errors without fear of being judged or criticized. Learning from mistakes and errors is an important part of child and adolescent development. In addition, it serves as a basis for self-assurance.

Be a good example for your children

Since your children are always watching and learning from you, don't forget to show them how confident you are. If your children overhear you saying that you are not capable enough or that you are unable to take on new problems on your own, they will likely adopt this attitude. You need to show them that you're willing to go the additional mile, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone.


Constantly giving Negative feedback and criticism

It is extremely typical for parents and relatives, and occasionally even neighbours, to harshly criticize or offer negative feedback to children (such as "You are worthless", "What is wrong with you?", "You can't achieve anything in life" and so on). These harsh comments have a profound and long-term effect on the minds of children, shattering their confidence level. Avoid using such harsh judgements and criticisms.

Comparing youngsters to their peers and siblings

"Look at your sister, she's doing so well in school!" or "Wow! Your brother is amazing in sports. Try to learn something from him" or "why can't you obtain a 95% in math like your friend?"

Comparisons as such does nothing to encourage a child. It doesn't matter if the comparisons are deliberate or inadvertent; all children feel crushed when compared to classmates or siblings. Refrain from comparisons.

Putting the pressure of unreasonable expectations

A study published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology determined that children who receive criticism for poor performance or feel like parents are disappointed in them feel even worse about themselves. The outcome? Performance pressure and criticism may wreak havoc on even the strongest sense of self-worth.


Confidence is the belief in one's abilities, qualities and judgment. It is not a question of how much you know, but how well you think you can do.

It is important for parents to teach kids the importance of self-confidence and create an environment that nurtures the development of it, so that kids can reach their full potential and thrive in life.

Sadia Mahjabeen ([email protected]) is the Principal and Jarin Tasnim Diba ([email protected]) works as a Program Expert at iAmMotherly.

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