Self Confidence - How Important Is It For Our Children?....

What is self confidence?...

Self confidence is the ability to believe in yourself. To know that you are as good as anybody else, no matter what anyone else may say. It's about realizing that whilst we are all different, we are all basically the same and that we all have our strengths and weaknesses. That's what makes us human. Having self confidence is when we can look in a mirror and like what we see.

  • Confidence is something we develop as we become more comfortable at trying things, regardless of if we are good or bad at them.
  • Self confidence is when we are comfortable being ourselves. In which case we have to learn to like ourselves warts and all.

Whitney Houston singing "Greatest Love of All" at the 1987 Grammy Awards

Why is self confidence important for our children....

Recently I was listening to the radio when a song was played that I hadn't heard in a while, it was "Greatest Love Of All" by Whitney Houston. It's a song that conjures up strong emotions if you really listen to the words and that's because there is truth in the lyrics.

It is up to us to help our children to feel good about themselves. We should be there to guide them, praise them, encourage them and to catch them if they fall, giving them the inner strength and the self confidence they need to go on to live happy, satisfying lives as adults, not being scared to live their lives the way they choose. It's not an easy job by a long shot, overdo it and you could end up with an overconfident child, which can backfire nastily, making them unpopular and ultimately unhappy.

As with all things in life it's about a healthy balance of praise and reassuring them that it is okay when they don't live up to their own expectations. Life doesn't always go to plan, our expectations aren't always achieved and we will always come up against people who will try to under mine us to boost their own self confidence. We can't change that and it would be wrong to try to shield our children completely from what is an unfortunate fact of life . It is up to us though to give them the self confidence and inner strength to be able to deal with what ever life may throw at them. It is important that we are consistent with our support, so that one day a happy, self confident and well adjusted child will turn into a happy, self confident and well adjusted adult. We can only try!!...


Recommended fictional stories for children....

Nobody Knew What to Do: A Story about Bullying (Concept Books (Albert Whitman))
Nobody Knew What to Do: A Story about Bullying (Concept Books (Albert Whitman))

This story tells how one child found the courage to tell a teacher about Ray, who was being picked on and bullied by other kids in school.

 
Just Kidding
Just Kidding

This story is about a child who is being bullied and being told "Just kidding" by his bullies. With help he learns how to undermine his bullies.

 

Recommended books for adults on bullying and how to handle it....

Bullyproof Your Child for Life: Protect Your Child from Teasing, Taunting, and Bullying forGood
Bullyproof Your Child for Life: Protect Your Child from Teasing, Taunting, and Bullying forGood

This book offers advice to adults on how to help children deal with bullies.

 
The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to High School--How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle of Violence
The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander: From Preschool to High School--How Parents and Teachers Can Help Break the Cycle of Violence

Another book for adults to help them deal with the bullies themselves and to help teach children how not to be give in to the bullies.

 

How to improve self confidence in our children......

Building self confidence in our children isn't difficult, although as with adults some already have more self confidence than others.

  • Encourage them to have ago at something they feel they would like to have a go at, but don't have the confidence to try. Stepping out of our comfort zone every now and then is very character building, it helps us to prove ourselves to ourself. Ask them what they think is the worst thing that could happen? Usually the thing that people fear most is failure, explain to the child that it won't be the end of the world if they did fail, but the chances are they won't. Ask them how good they think it would make them feel to have ago ? Sometimes all it takes is a bit of gentle encouragement. Encourage them to approach what ever it is with a positive attitude. Be careful not to build them up so much that they have unrealistic expectations, that would only damage their self confidence....
  • If your child doesn't like their appearance, they may think that their nose is too big or small, or that their ears stick out or that they have freckles or something else that they think is wrong and that we as adults don't see. They probably think the whole world notices what they think are flaws and that they are the only ones who are different - this problem is fed by unrealistic images of celebrities that don't look real - tell them that we don't all come from the same mould and that we are all different, then encourage them to take a long hard look around themselves at the differences in people. Not so as to undermine others, but to help them to realize that everyone is different and it's okay not to be "perfect". Point out their good qualities or features, that always makes people feel good what ever their age and in time if you keep reinforcing these good points, the child will start to focus on their good points. Explain to the child that the photographs of celebrities that they see in magazines have been edited to make them look unrealistic and unnatural and that they've probably gone through costly, dangerous and painful cosmetic surgery procedures to look like that too. You could go as far as finding some sites on the internet showing the complications that can occur from this type of surgery....
  • Bullying can happen to any child, it only takes one troublemaker and their posse to make a childs life feel like hell. If they do encounter bullying, then it is important that they tell someone and that it is dealt with immediately and measures be taken to ensure that it never happens again, sadly in the real world it doesn't always happen like that and that's wrong. Bullying is one of the most soul destroying things that could happen to a child, it'll drain any self confidence they have if it's not dealt with and is allowed to go on. Tell your child that it's not them, but the bully who is a pathetic excuse for a human being. Tell them that no matter how the bully makes them feel that it is important for them to try to walk away with their head held high. It's important that the bully thinks that he or she is having little effect. When your child tells you that they are being bullied, please listen and take them seriously, then give them lots and lots of love and reassurance. Knowing that their family or somebody is there for them, will help your child feel good and strong and make life feel a little easier too.
  • I think that one of the most important things that we as parents and adults must remember is that children aren't clones of ourselves and that they may have different outlooks and interests than us. They have a lot of learning to do in life and we are here to teach and guide them and not to try to mould them into being something they are not. We must learn to except and love them as they are and for who they are....

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Comments 24 comments

Cagsil profile image

Cagsil 5 years ago from USA or America

Very nicely written hub on self-confidence and the importance it is for children to have it. Now, I'm not a parent, so you can take what I say and place whatever value you like on it. I grew up dealing with self confidence and self esteem issues, due to many factors and I was also bullied by plenty of people. However, when giving children advice about things which they are planning on attempting, it's always a good thing to let them know that failure isn't an enemy, but is actually a learning friend. When anyone fails at doing something it is usually because something else was overlooked or missed. Learning from failing is the ultimate goal because it helps them improve upon their next attempt. Giving up should never be an option, because that means that they have a way out. Meaning, if they say they are going to do something, then as the parent hold them to doing it, regardless of the outcome, win or lose, accomplish or failure. Great article. Thank you for sharing. :)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

I agree it is so important for children to have a positive ego and it needs to be instilled when there are young. This will make their childhood happier and they will be better adjusted adults. Your boys are really cute. Awesome hub!


SanneL profile image

SanneL 5 years ago from Sweden

This is such an important issue!

When you are self confident it changes your whole life.

So its vital that the child will get the self confidence in early age.

Great article!

Sannel


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 5 years ago from Greece Author

Thank you all for your feedback.

Cagsil - you are so right in what you say, a child needs to learn that failing at something isn't a weakness and actually very character building and can drive them to try better the next time and to do that they need self confidence to try again.

Pamela99 - It's the best thing we can do for our children by helping them develop positive attitudes. I just had a chuckle - I have a boy and a girl, she's got her hair pulled back. No worries.

SanneL - With a little self confidence anything is possible and it's easier to realize that as a child, because then it's a natural thing.


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

Hi debbie,

As a former middle school teacher I know about a thousand parents who could use your the wisdom you have shared in this hub.

What do you think about team building projects to boost self confidence?

All My Best,

JT


Seeker7 profile image

Seeker7 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

An excellent hub. I agree with you that the importance of a child having self-confidence can't be emphasised enough. I know this because as a child I had very little, but one of my sister's was even worse. It has taken her well into her adult life to be comfortable with who she is - but the potential that has been missed is very obvious. So to ensure that a child can be - as you say in a balanced way - confident, is so important not only for their childhood development but for their adult life as well.

I'm also glad that you mentioned bullying. My sister - the same one from earlier - was also a victim of bullying. It did end after a short time, but only because another adult who knew my siser and my Mum and Dad happened to see what was happening one day and reported it to the school and my parents. When Mum and Dad and the school got together, the problem was soon resolved. But there have been other stories that have not turned out so well. Bullying can and has killed children and the more that is done to stamp it out, the better off we will all be - every school should have a zero tolerance policy to bullying no matter what it takes to achieve.

Sorry about the novel - your wonderful hub stirred up quite a few memories. A really excellent hub + voted up.


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 5 years ago from Greece Author

J T Walters - thanks for taking the time to read my hub. I believe that being a parent is the greatest responsibility we can ever take on. It's up to us to teach and guide our children, they can't do it on their own. Behind most messed up child there is a messed up family.

Also to answer your question I'm not sure that team building projects are for everyone. I for one, would run for the hills at the mention of a team building project. I'm not comfortable in those situations, but I am comfortable with who I am now and have learnt to except the way I am. I have friends who love that kind of thing, so we are all different. When it comes to children I think that they could be encouraged to par take in such activities, but never forced. Forcing would make a child feel uncomfortable and would render the project pointless for them.


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

Thanks debbie that is really good information as you are aware my son has autism and I am always trying to get him into team projects which he doesn't like. If feel like if he conquer hi8s fear of team projects it will imporve his self estemm but he hates failure. It is excellent advice.

JT


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 5 years ago from Greece Author

Seeker7 - Thank you for your feedback. Your sister was lucky that someone saw what was going on and the bullying ended. The big problem is that children are reluctant to speak out against bullies. It makes me want to spit teeth when I hear of someone being bullied, what right has anyone got to make another persons life a misery? I agree there should be a zero tolerance on bullying


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 5 years ago from Greece Author

Hi J T Walters - you are quick off the mark!!...My son too is very different than boys his own age, he has either aspergers or high functioning autism according to the professionals. We used to try to encourage him to par take in activities with others to try to boost his confidence when he was younger, but he never wanted to, he was always the child circling in the back ground near the other children, but never too near. He needs guidance in certain situations and we have to talk him through things often, so he knows what to expect and how he should behave, that gives him the confidence to try things.

We had an episode though, at his school (the local high school) there was a new headmaster and he moved some of the children into different classes, our son being one of them, the headmaster didn't realise and our son couldn't handle it. The head master was great though and put him back into his old classes without fuss.


JT Walters profile image

JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

Hi debbie,

I guess if my son has one team he is good but it is the change of teams that cause him so much anxiety.

Thanks,

JT


anusha15 profile image

anusha15 4 years ago from Delhi, India

Childhood is such a beautiful time of time, and lack of self-confidence can be really nightmarish. You've brought up a very important subject, and this is something each parent should give ample thought to.


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Hi anusha15,

Helping a child to build the confidence to be themselves an to like themselves isn't always easy, but a little confidence can go a long way.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

Merry Christmas!!


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

Very good and informative hub. A lot of what you write applies to adults too, all too many need to be encouraged to get out of their comfort zones once in a while!


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Thank you for reading and commenting on my hub. Stepping out of our comfort zones can be very confidence building, it's just that first step that is the hardest and I agree it can apply to adults as well as children.


asherruth profile image

asherruth 4 years ago

This is very helpful and so true! I tend to lean on the side of over doing it when it comes to building up my own kids, chiefly due to the fact that my own parents put my siblings and myself down constantly when we were growing up. But you have reminded me that the other extreme can be harmful too and I know I have to be careful there. I too have a child with Asperger's or high functioning autism (professionals cannot decide which one she has, it seems), and I am extremely protective of her and what she goes through at school.

Thank you for a great and informative hub!


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

It seems as if it is difficult to distinguish between aspergers and high functioning autism.

It isn't easy to get the balance right, when it comes to building our children up and for us parents with children who are different it can be harder still.

Thank you asherruth for taking the time to read and comment.


greatparenting profile image

greatparenting 4 years ago from philadelphia, pa and corolla, nc

I think the importance of kids having self confidence cannot be overstated. You offered some practical advice on an important topic. Good hub.


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Hi greatparenting, it is something that I feel is important and I'm glad you agree.

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment....


MsDora profile image

MsDora 4 years ago from The Caribbean

Very positive views on self-confidence in children. Thanks for sharing. I think your video of Whitney Houston will bring you some additional clicks. Great song and great rendition.


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Hi MsDora, as my hub scrolled down to your comment the Whitney Houston video flashed by, gave me goose bumps to realize that she'll never sing again, but we'll still be able to watch her!!

Thank you for reading and commenting.....


Ann810 profile image

Ann810 4 years ago from Sunny Cali

Hi Debbie, I remember listening to that Whitney Houston song, it's so inspiring for the up-bringing of children. And the bullies are ones that a full of fear, that's why they pick on other children. Voted up.


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Hi Ann810, that song always gives me goose bumps, it is such a powerful song. It is true that it is the bullies that are full of fear, but sadly it takes a while before a victim of bullying realises that.

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my hub, it is appreciated.


Prankita profile image

Prankita 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Debbie

Confidence building in children is very important and is a sensitive issue. encouraging activities and helping them to come out of their comfort zone is indeed very helpful. The practical advices suggested in the hub are great.

I would like to add that sometimes comparisons between siblings by parents might also lead to low self-confidence in children. It is important that parents understand that every child has his own set of strengths and weaknesses.

Great hub. Voted up

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