Building Self Confidence

Several similar terms describe the central attribute of a character that decides on the strength of personality and the degree of inner freedom:

- "self assurance" describes mostly the behaviour. Counterparts are insecure behaviour or shyness.

- "self confidence" is the mental and emotional state that causes the outer appearance.

- "charisma" is the effect that those have on others.

Self confidence doesn't mean being perfect or presenting oneself in a perfect way, but realizing and accepting own strengths and weaknesses, using strengths to reach aims and considering weaknesses as challenges, not insurmountable limits.

It can be observed that some children are by nature more actively exploring their environment than others. So possibly self confidence has a genetic foundation.

Still, all experiences that include social interaction, with parents, relatives, friends and classmates, influence the development of self esteem. Appreciation has a positive, rejection a negative effect. But unfortunately, it's not that easy.

False or fake appreciation can often be observed with parents and relatives. For example the adoration of even the smallest output of infant creativity, like crude drawings, and other approvals of a child's intelligence and appearance can lead to a situation of over-confidence. Undeserved rejection, on the other hand, like punishing or disregarding a child out of an own bad mood, will confuse it and create insecurity.

Over-confidence, or the belief in own abilities and performance that are not real, can lead to arrogance. This can either turn into insecurity, if the person later realizes the truth, or it turns into an inconsiderate behaviour, which also isn't making life easier. Insecurity or shyness are very common burdens and they tend to create a lot of problems. Aside from lacking social and personal success, the constant fear of the own inferiority creates barriers that are hard to overcome.

So what's the secret of how to give a child a healthy self-confidence?

- Be realistic with appreciation. If you feel you should commend your child for something, consider what would be the ability at its age and then evaluate the outcome. If it deserves appreciation, give it. If you have the feeling that your child is putting to much effort in getting your attention, try to get it back down to reality carefully. Love and appreciation shouldn't be goods that can be bought.

- Don't criticize or reject your child out of a bad mood. If you come home after a stressful day and your kid comes up with a picture, show some interest - it might mean a lot more to it than you think.

- Keep an eye on the influence your child is receiving from its friends. But if you have a bad feeling, try to talk to your child before you call the offender's parents and ask for a restraining order.

- Don't do things for your child if it's afraid of something. It might be hard sometimes, but how should it learn to be independent if it can always hide behind its parents? Later on, it will lack the confidence that comes from the experience of having to do things on its own.

- Always be there to give advice if required. There's a whole new world of complex social systems out there, and it's easy to get lost. Remember when you were a child probably you can learn a lot from that.

Brigette Meier is an occassional author for http://www.e-nterests.com - visit the site for more interesting articles.

In The News:

Positive parenting | News  Jamaica Gleaner
No child left invisible  The Indian Express
Just One Number to Call for Parenting Support – Jamaica Information Service  Government of Jamaica, Jamaica Information Service

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