Listen to this article
Being a parent is not easy. Even though there are plenty of rulebooks out there, every parent has a unique journey with their children. That said, parenting to some extent is also conditioned by society, culture, and traditions. Not to mention, Indian parents are usually considered authoritarian, focussed on just grades. In that very process, the pressure to excel in every field can make a child under-confident.
So, how do you raise a child who’s confident? To answer this question, we talked to Geetika Sasan Bhandari, a writer, editor and parenting columnist, and also the Founder of Let’s Raise Good Kids, a multimedia parenting platform.
She says, “To raise a confident kid, it is important to understand why they become underconfident in the first place.”
Being compared unfavourably to a sibling, classmate, cousin, or anyone and that too constantly could affect a child’s confidence. She adds: “Criticism that is not constructive, bullying or teasing, lack of encouragement from your side, teachers, or peers and unrealistically high expectations also has a role to play.”
Geetika also points out that some children are naturally shy, overly sensitive and thus they require even more love, care and encouragement from your side to blossom.
Everyone goes through a phase of under confidence. However, if it’s caught in children it can start affecting their ability to handle daily challenges and tasks. Which is why it is important to pay attention to the following signs:
Here are 5 way you as a parent can raise your child confident
Geetika says, “If you keep saying to your child that he or she is under-confident, the child is likely to internalise and start believing it. Children are already under pressure, and the pressure to always come across as confident is just another addition.”
Constant encouragement does not have to be false praise, but instead, you should acknowledge and appreciate even the small efforts. “Children learn by trying new things so they are bound to have hits and misses but your negative reaction should not be a deterrent. If they worry about you being angry or unhappy, they will give up so they can avoid the unpleasant aftermath,” says Geetika.
As the saying goes, quality over quantity. So focus on spending quality time with your child, even if it’s a lesser number of hours. So, put away your phone and give them your full attention.
Geetika suggests, “Give hugs, kisses, and always tell the child how loved they are. Also, find ways to tell the child how proud you are of him or her. Appreciate their small acts of kindness and thoughtfulness, instead of only being proud of their achievements.”
Indian parenting often tends to have an authoritarian side, but you need to give your child the space to express their opinions. “Have healthy debates where they feel they can express themselves without being judged. Undermining their point of view just because they are children will only add to lack of confidence,” concludes Geetika.