When thinking about what we want for our children, we often say things like, “I want my kids to be confident when they grow up so that they can take on any challenge, and does it well”. But then, rather than truly giving thought to what goes into raising a confident child, we “throw darts” at the concept of it, sometimes nearing the goal, and sometimes not.
There are several factors that work together to create a confident child who can grow into a confident adult, but the biggest one of them is the idea of security. Ultimately, our confidence comes from removing fear, and thus being secure. Think about an important meeting or business proposal that you might have. If you knew that there was no way it would fail, would you be more confident? Probably so. Your fear would be removed. If you had a presentation to give, would you be more confident if you were giving it to a room full of friends rather than co-workers? Absolutely. You would know that your friends would not cease being your friends. You are secure in those relationships.
Behind that same truth is the most powerful tool you can use for confidence building in your children. Building security in your home will be the bulls-eye that you need every time. This has to be done in several areas, though, and done consistently. Confidence can come in the form of intellectual or academic skills; it can also be in the form of relationships with others, and in physical skill and prowess as well. As parents, if we want to raise confident children, we need to consistently build security into our children’s lives in these areas.
To remove the fear in these areas, thus helping them to be secure, our kids must first know that they are safe at home. They need to know that they are valued, appreciated, and will always be accepted at home. Allow your children to contribute to the operation of the household - not just in doing chores, but in helping with some of the decisions that go into family activities or plans. Allow them to know that they have something to bring to the table. How you do this will vary by age and maturity, but look for ways to include your children in discussions and decision-making. Also, as friends who support you would do for you, spend time with your kids “just hanging out,” not because there is a project or a task, but just because you enjoy their company. Allow them to disagree with you on opinions, but encourage them to share their reasoning, too.
Security begins in the environment you create in the home. This is where confident children come from. They know that they are free to try new things, to take a few growth risks, learn new skills, etc. because they are fully supported in the home and family. Confidence in the external areas, intellectual, physical, and relational will be the natural outpouring of feeling safe and secure at home.