Self-belief in children is crucial, as it determines what they think they can and can’t do. A lack of self-belief can limit the things they do or even try to do and it generally leads to poor results. Whereas children with a strong self-belief in themselves will be more empowered to take action and go on to produce better results.
In NLP there is a saying “Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t; you’ll be right”. When a child believes he can perform a task, he is more likely to succeed. And if he fails initially, he will try again and again till he gets it right.
Here are 5 things you must do to increase self-belief in Children.
1) Be a Good Role Model
To increase self-belief in children, we have to set an example first. So be a good role model. A positive, encouraging attitude will greatly benefit a child’s development. Help to nurture a ‘can do attitude’. Your child will then begin to emulate you and their self-belief will increase.
2) Focus on the positives
In life we generally get more of what we focus on. Focus your attention on the positive behaviour and you will get more of it. So rather than focusing on a child’s complaining or inability to share, focus on positive things like their kindness and the effort they put in to achieve something. If we can focus attention on the positive and ignore the negative behaviour we get more of the good stuff. When we acknowledge the positive with them, it will only help to increase their belief in themselves.
Children don’t always necessarily know when they are doing right in life, because typically we only tell them when they are doing things wrong and not when they are doing things right. The more positive feedback we give them, the more they will believe in themselves.
3) Be aware of your language
Children can be very sensitive to things people say about them. Labelling your child as ‘stupid’, ‘clumsy’ or ‘naughty’ is not very positive. Even if it is a panicked response to seeing your child walk out in front of a moving car. Overtime these labels may start to be accepted with a child as beliefs and they don’t tend to change once stuck. If you feel you really have to acknowledge unwanted behaviour, try responding to the action and not the child. “That was a stupid thing to do” rather than “you are so stupid”.
It is better to use praise with your child and the more you do the more they will believe in their abilities to do things. This will help your child to have a more positive attitude towards their studies, other people and other activities they get involved in. Specific and earned praise is a valuable self-belief builder and it’s the practice and the effort that should be the focus of praise. Don’t just say ‘well played’. Tell him it was great how he crossed the ball into the goalmouth to his teammate.
4) Create a powerful vision
Your child can increase their self-belief by developing their vision that they can do their math exam, play in the chess tournament, take the lead role in the play or whatever they need to believe they can do.
Get your child to sit down, close their eyes, and watch themselves behaving decisively, calmly and strongly. This powerful visualization exercise means that your child can learn from themselves, how to be confident, have self-belief, and behave in ways which increases chances of success. Have your child imagine they are viewing themselves on a TV screen. By seeing themselves on the screen will help show your child watching how to act with self-belief. The more your child does this, the more they will find that they will quite naturally start to become like the confident character in the movie.
5) Allow them space to succeed
Recently my friend Steve recalled a time when he noticed that his daughter Freya was reaching for the kitchen towels. It was just out of her reach, but as she was trying she could just manage to touch the paper with her fingertips. It would have been easy for her father to just to get it for her. But, instead he allowed her to persist and he encouraged her to keep going and try a little harder. Her determination paid off and she eventually was successful.
Children need opportunities to demonstrate their competence and feel that their contribution is valuable. At home, that means asking them to help with cooking, setting the table and making beds. Sometimes it is useful to step back and let your child take risks, make choices, solve problems and stick with what they start.
By Nigel Pinto