Where does confidence come from? Are some people just born with confidence and others not?

No, confidence begins to form in infants. Soon after birth infants start to learn, through circumstantial experience and treatment from others, and by interacting with the world. Their interpretation of their experiences and interactions, determine their level of confidence. Have you ever noticed that in one family, one child can be confident and the other not? Children learn automatically by observing what the people around them are doing and saying to them. The level of confidence and the way the adults around them communicate has a big influence on the development of their confidence.

What can parents do to facilitate the development of their children’s confidence?

  1. We can notice how they respond in different situations and ask them what the situation means to them. When children are young, they do not have a broad perspective of what situations could mean and sometimes interpret them in ways that do not serve them.
  2. If they have chosen a meaning that does not serve them, ask them if there are other possible meanings to the situation and help by giving them other possible options. For example. My maths teacher is always shouting at me. This could mean the teacher does not like me, it could mean I am no good at maths. Neither of these meanings serves them. Ask questions without judgement on what is happening in the class and what action they can take to find a solution. Encourage them to choose a meaning that gets them into the action of problem-solving. In this example, it could mean I need to practise more in one area of my maths or even though I don’t get on with my teacher how can I get what I want in the maths class.
  3. Always use clear words about what you want and how you want it, rather than what they are doing wrong. Use as few words as possible.
  4. Encourage them to try new activities all the time. Teach them that the uncomfortable feeling of trying something new is the key to the best life ever.
  5. When circumstances don’t turn out the way they want, be there for them without judgement or expectation and encourage them. Ask them what they could do differently next time and encourage them to try their new ideas.
  6. Encourage them to express their opinions and teach them that people can have different opinions.
  7. Teach them to become aware of what they are saying to themselves. Encourage them to change their thought from what they are not happy with to what they want instead.

Practising these few steps daily in young children can greatly affect their thinking and their decision making for their future lives. The brain forms patterns that become automatic and getting them to develop a problem-solving way of thinking in early ages will result in them having this automatic pattern in their adult life.

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