Raising confident children

Published On: January 4, 2020 01:57 PM NPT By: Usha Pokharel

If parents take failure positively and encourage their children to keep trying, then their children will learn valuable life skills of not giving up

Comparing one child with another is a bad idea because each child is special with their own set of qualities. Help them be like themselves and not like anyone else.

Uncle, it would be nice to hang this piece of art on this wall. I was listening to a young professional advising her client regarding the placement of a piece of Macramé artwork, that she had created. Her client had commissioned her to improve the aesthetics of their recently opened hotel, Indsu Home, and their café, The Oven. It was a small place, with a distinct feel to it, rather chic than rustic. There was something about it that made the whole atmosphere homely. Every morning I passed by the hotel during my walk, wondering at their choice of balcony furniture. Who would think of converting a tire into a perfect table? Anyway, I was not much interested in the hotel but was curious as to why the owner wanted a young professional to make artwork for his hotel. 

The young lady in question was delivering her artwork. I was there because I was sharing a ride back home with her. As we prepared to leave, the owner proposed coffee, and we sat down again in the sun to enjoy coffee and his hospitality. In the meantime, the owner’s son had also come and was standing just behind his father. He asked us about our choice of drink and then instructed the attendant confidently, our requests. During the coffee, I was more interested in observing these two individuals than enjoying the overall environment. For me, they represented the present generation of educated young professionals, attempting to find their wings. I started thinking about their attitude and respect toward their profession.

Even after I returned home, I kept thinking about the confidence level of these people. These people were confident about the work they were doing because they were self-employed and not reporting to someone else. I know, most parents are thinking, how were they raised? What did their parents do? How can we make our young adults confident?  

Well, let me tell you, helping young adults feel confident is a challenge in a fast-moving and competitive world. I remember thinking of not being at par with my male colleagues. It took a while for me to overcome that feeling and venture out of my comfort zone. This fear of failure resulted in my missing out on opportunities. All because failing was seen as a bad thing. 

Failing is not bad

Now the question arises, what if failing is not seen as a bad thing. Will that make a difference?  Yes, it depends on how parents take the whole thing and react to it. If parents take failure positively and encourage their children to keep trying, then their children will learn valuable life skills of not giving up. Hence succeed in life and be happy. Thus, by redefining failure, parents will help their young children gain confidence and self-esteem. I urge parents to encourage your children to go after their dreams, even the ones that seem too far-fetched. Thus teaching your children to take each failure as another opportunity to improve. 

Parents need to clarify to their children that failing does not mean they are unsuccessful. After all, even experts at their profession also sometimes fail. Even Sachin Tendulkar, who is considered as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket, is sometimes out without scoring a run, and then in the next match scores 100 runs. It is up to the children and young adults to keep trying and excel in their area of interest, but that does not mean they have to be perfect. Often children and young adults become preoccupied with what is wrong in their lives. This leads to the ‘not yet’ view. Parents, please discuss with their children how they can get out of the ‘not yet’ view they have of their lives and move forward. I am aware that the desire to be perfect is common among young adults. This desire for perfection is often a big obstacle. A perfect example of this is the action of revising the resume multiple times in an attempt to make it perfect before applying for a job.

Young adults fail to understand that reviewing their resume, again and again, is not the solution. Instead, they need to be satisfied with the work they have done on their resume and move forward. Please remember to get a job the first thing you need to do is, apply for it. Sometimes it is okay for young people to overthink, but when it comes to applying for a job or internship, don’t hold yourself back, even if you don’t meet all the requirements of the job. You never know you might be the best candidate. It’s no harm trying. Don’t overthink about such situations.

Raising confidence

Please understand that all the actions your youngsters perform lead them to be more confident. Protecting them from disappointment does not increase their confidence level. Instead, when they bounce back from a setback or failure, their confidence gets a boost. All they need is a little encouragement and a feeling that their parents are there if they need help. I am sure parents are aware that showing too much concern regarding their child’s action will only diminish their confidence. While you are at it, also be careful and avoid passing on your personal fears and insecurities to your children. Instead, step out of your comfort zone, and try something new, for the sake of your children, thus setting up an example to your young adults to help them overcome their fear of failure. It’s a parent’s job to teach their children that mistakes are an acceptable part of life and that challenges and setbacks are necessary to be successful in life. I know some parents with young children are thinking, can we do something to our children while they are still small to build their confidence? 

Yes, you can. There are a few things you can do to help your children be more confident right from childhood. Teaching children to be more resilient is one of the keys to boosting your children’s self-esteem. Childhood is a tough time for a child that provides plenty of opportunity of him/her being bullied in school or outside of it.  Hence, it is necessary to boost their self-esteem, even when they are small. A sense of competence also boosts their confidence, which in turn helps reinforce a child’s self-confidence.

I am sure you are aware that the journey of growing up is more important than reaching a destination. Hence, parents need to encourage their children to try new things and not be embarrassed about it. All achievements, big or small, help them to be more positive about their realistic perception of their abilities. This, in turn, helps them move a step forward toward improving their self-confidence. We are all aware that praising children’s efforts, regardless of their winning or losing, strengthens their bond with their parents.  Often parents get carried away and are tempted to compare their children with others.   Comparing one child with another is a bad idea because each child is special with their own set of qualities. Hence, help them be like themselves and not like anyone else. Just remember everyone is different.

Raising a child is difficult. Sometimes it is necessary to get upset with your child too. Under such circumstances, make sure your child understands that you are upset with their choices and not with who they are as a person.

Finally, remember, your child needs to feel accepted, loved and cared for at home. Help your children discover their interests and passions. Then support them in their pursuit of it, if it does not interfere with their studies. At the same time, remember to set rules, but don’t forget to be consistent while implementing them.  Children usually become confident when they know the rules and are aware of what they can and cannot do. While considering so many options to bolster your child’s confidence, please don’t forget to shower them with love. I know everyone does that but still let your children feel the love you have for them and understand that it is unconditional. I think this is the most important thing parents can give their child. But they can do at least that much to help their children to become confident young adults in the future.

Pokharel is an educationist and author of several children’s books



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