It is not uncommon for me to realize that some parents confuse self-confidence with self-esteem. We could say that they have a few things in common, but they are two completely different concepts. However, in both cases we need to focus on the child.
Self-confidence is related to how capable the child feels of coping with the new challenges he or she will face. How much he believes in his abilities and possibilities, in order to achieve them, to face them, to overcome them.
Self-esteem (see the post 5 tips for low self-esteem of children) has to do with the child’s feelings about himself. For example, how smart, good, capable, beautiful, or not, he feels the same about himself.
Both of these characteristics need due care and attention, so that we can perceive them as early as possible, appreciate them and find ways to help our child deal with them. Let us not forget, after all, that sometimes we parents create them unintentionally in the child.
In this article we will focus on self-confidence and more specifically we will focus on low self-confidence.
The first thing we need to do is find out if our child has low self-confidence. How will we understand it? According to experts, there are some signs.
Some of these characteristic signs are:
- Feelings of inferiority and insecurity
- Difficulty of social integration – reduced sociability
- Low endurance in companionship
- Over-indulging in what others think of them – constantly seeking reassurance of their worth
- Excessive stress – feelings of frustration
- Focus on the negative aspects of a situation
- Lack of confidence in their personal views
- Sudden explosive behaviors
- Disorders of concentration, sleep, and eating
- He does not accept criticism but he can exercise it to a great extent
- Quite compliant
- Avoids taking on any responsibility / responsibility / challenge
- Constant fear of failure (eg competitions)
Why does my kid have cause low self-confidence?
The causes of low self-confidence in children vary. As it may be understood, family conditions and the environment in which they grow up can negatively affect them. It is a given that the experiences of our childhood follow in our adult life. In addition, important factors in a person’s low self-esteem are:
- The imposition of power by the parents on the child,
- Frequent punishments
- Difficult living conditions (such as disputes between parents, an episodic divorce, a death in a close family, etc.)
- The over-protectionism that can often prevent taking responsibility
- The narrow boundaries set by parents
- The disapproval or indifference of important people in a child’s life (such as parents, teachers, grandparents, caregivers), as they often create thoughts such as “I am not important / capable” or “I do not deserve”.
- The indifference he may receive from teachers
- The constant conflicts of the parents, which usually give the child the impression that he is to blame for what is happening.
- Traumatic experiences, abuse (sexual, physical, emotional), bullying
If we notice such signs, according to experts, what should we do?
- Do not dispute / criticize them. Help your children understand that they can handle the difficulties on their own, but let them know that you will be there for them whenever they need your help. Your child needs to be rewarded, not criticized.
- Accept your child for what he or she is. It is important for them to know in advance that you support his choices (even if these are not the right ones for you) and that he can trust you.
- Issues of personal safety and self-protection need to be clarified early. It is necessary to know when to say “no” to protect themselves from any intimidation (verbal, physical, psychological).
- Accept his failures and mistakes. See the possibilities even through his mistakes. Reward the initiatives he took to resolve some issues, or the responsibility to make any move, even if sometimes it does not have the desired outcome.
- Encourage social relationships and friendships especially when you have a timid and quiet child.
- Spend quality time with your child. Do things together that you enjoy. Encourage his own initiatives and preferences.
- Let him take on responsibilities, always of course depending on his age
- Do not put labels: The ratings discourage him and make him believe that there is no room for change. They follow him throughout his life and create guilt that he did not seem to live up to your expectations.
- Do not compare it with others, especially with his brothers: “Look what grades your brother has, who is even younger!”. They already have a tendency to compete on their own, do not make it worse.
- Do not neglect him. Focus on the messages he is sending, trying to convey his anxieties and concerns to issues that concern him.
At the same time, we should not forget the cases of high self-confidence. Let us not assume that constantly overemphasizing their abilities and strengths is a good and healthy thing for our child, because then we do not help him learn to deal with frustrations. Also, his sociability may even decrease and he may find himself isolated.
Therefore, if we see that the child has these signs, the first thing to do is not to panic. let’s not forget that panic is the worst advisor …! We observe our child’s behavior, we try to apply some of what we have mentioned, we give the child time to see his behavior again. We NEVER forget that experts can give us the best advice and great help when we need!