NYC Therapist: Four Strategies To Raise A Confident Child

Nov 02, 2023
How to Help Your Child Develop Confidence. Parenting Advice. Therapy for Kids NYC

NYC Therapist: Four Strategies To Raise A Confident Child

There are many reasons young kids and teenagers may suffer from low-esteem.

Perhaps their parents are over-critical. Or maybe they expect too much of their children and show disappointment when the kids are not living up to mom’s and dad’s high standards.

Whatever the reason, there is evidence that youngsters with low self-esteem are more often victims of bullying than other kids. (Interestingly, the  opposite may be true as well — one theory has it that bullies themselves suffer from a low sense of self-worth, but psychologists’ opinions vary on this point https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/intense-emotions-and-strong-feelings/201010/do-bullies-really-have-low-self-esteem).

Unfortunately, insecure children who don't develop assertiveness and resilience skills typically grow into insecure adolescents who, in turn, become insecure adults. Fortunately, there are many ways parents can help kids develop a sense of confidence in their abilities and achievements, to ensure they grow into well-adjusted adults

How can a parent do that? Let’s look at some helpful strategies. 


Things parents should encourage their children to do:

Practice Assertiveness 

It is important for children or adolescents to be able to stand up for themselves (and for others) when a situation warrants it, and to freely express their feelings and opinions — as long, of course, as they do this tactfully and respectfully.

Kids who grow up in homes where questions and debates are encouraged do much better on this front than those whose families believe in the old adage: “Kids should be seen but not heard.”

Build specific skills

Your children need to feel appreciated and valued. Even if they are not especially gifted academically, there are certainly areas in which they excel or, in the very least, do well. Maybe they are good at sports, or music, or arts and crafts — wherever their talents lie, boost them. And don’t forget to tell them how proud you are of their achievements. 


Now, for the “no-nos”— things you should teach your youngsters NOT to do:

Compare themselves to others

The truth is that there will always be smarter, more popular, and better-looking people around us. That’s okay. The important thing for kids is to learn to accept themselves the way they are, and appreciate the qualities and abilities they have — in other words, learn to like themselves, warts and all.

As a parent, you can help by praising the child’s accomplishments, no matter how small, and abstain from being critical when your expectations are not met.

Be afraid of failure

Children will suffer from setbacks at one time or another — in school, sports, or social life. And they will probably feel really bad about it.

How you react as a parent can determine whether they develop feelings of insecurity and shame, or whether they will overcome the situation without losing face. In the best-case scenario, they may even learn valuable lessons from the failed experience. 

Needless to say, parents have a huge responsibility in helping their kids build and develop a healthy sense of confidence. It’s not an easy task, but nobody ever said raising children was simple.