Confidence can be powerful. Studies show that confidence is key when it comes to success, whether it be in academics, relationships, or climbing up the career ladder. One of the main things that parents want to teach their children is the power of their own self-confidence. Having a healthy amount can help kids excel at school and make friends with ease. But overconfidence can lead to arrogance, and there is a big difference between these two things.
A recent study conducted by the Ohio State University that increasing narcissistic qualities in children can be attributed to their parents’ treatment of them. Believing that your child can do whatever they set their mind to is completely healthy, but giving them unrealistic ideas in the valuation of their achievements and abilities consistently over time can be an issue. Confidence is defined as “a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgement” whereas the definition of arrogance (or ‘to be arrogant’) is “having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities”. Many parents may know what it is like to feel unsure or unsuccessful and do not want their children to feel this way at all. This is totally understandable – we have all been there. But riding the line between a healthy sense of self-confidence and a strong sense of arrogance can be tricky.
As parents, you want your child to feel special, to feel loved, and to trust in their abilities. A child with healthy self-confidence will have realistic ideas and goals, they will be able to learn from their mistakes, and they will be able to take failings or shortcomings in stride. Not everyone is perfect, and while not doing so well on a school test or not winning a contest can make anyone feel sad, it’s nothing to throw a tantrum over. Parents usually may want to step in and correct their children’s mistakes, do all of the hard work for them, and let them know that they are extremely special. While your child is certainly an important person they still need to understand that hard work goes a long way, that nobody’s perfect and that they can still pick themselves up after they fall relying on themselves, and not solely on mommy or daddy.
It’s important for parents to realize when they need to let their children deal with issues on their own. That doesn’t mean ignoring their problems completely, though. Show them emotional support and give them advice, but letting mommy or daddy fix every problem can lead to more complicated problems down the road as they get older. Not only will they think that they can do no wrong, but they will not fully understand the concept of consequences or know how to learn and grow from their mistakes.
Building a child’s confidence is still key, especially early on. Encouraging kids to try new things and learn new skills can help a great deal. Personalized children’s books are a great way to get kids confident in their reading skills and can even help kids when it comes to self-actualizing and setting goals for themselves. When kids see the book versions of themselves accomplishing great things and saving the day, they can better imagine achieving the same things in their everyday lives. Personalized books can help kids when it comes to learning, for example learning to use the potty, learning a new sport or simply reading on their own. These are all activities that kids learn at a young age and some may struggle with it, especially when they first start out. It can be easy to get discouraged, but it’s important not to excuse or ignore these feelings. Teaching kids to work through these difficult feelings and empowering them with the idea that they can accomplish great things with practice and hard work can be invaluable to their self-confidence for life.
In addition to introducing kids to personalized books, there are several things you can do to help their self-esteem and confidence without encouraging arrogance. Sometimes, when your children fall (whether literally or figuratively), you just have to let them fall. Be there for them when they do, but kids need to learn that actions have consequences. This perpetuates the idea that kids are responsible for their actions, so they should learn to be held accountable and do so in a healthy way. Giving kids chores and tasks helps too, it not only makes them a working member of the family but it gives them a sense of responsibility. Challenging kids is important, too. Making things too easy for them will not only make them spoiled, but they will not know how to learn and grow as a person. Encourage them to pick up a new skill or to get better and perfect one that they already have. Listening to their thoughts and feelings is vital as well. Not only can doing so strengthen your relationship, but it provides parents with the opportunity to learn about their child’s fears, insecurities and can allow them a time to vent. Expressing emotion is vital to understanding emotion. It helps kids grow and learn what some of their actual strengths are.
It may be difficult as a parent to watch your child go through difficulties, but helping them through it instead of sweeping it under the rug can do a lot for their character. They will be able to build a healthy sense of self-confidence that they can rely on instead of falling back on an unrealistic view of themselves that may only hurt in the long run.