Confidence is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their child.
Carl Pickhardt, a psychologist and author of 15 parenting books, says a kid who lacks confidence will be reluctant to try new or challenging things because they're scared of failing or disappointing others.
This can end up holding them back later in life and prevent them from having a successful career.
As a parent, it's your job to encourage and support your child as they attempt to tackle difficult tasks. Here's how:
Natalie Walters contributed to a previous version of this article.
1. Appreciate effort no matter if they win or lose
When you're growing up, the journey is more important than the destination.
So whether your child makes the winning goal for his team or accidentally kicks it out of bounds, applaud their effort, Pickhardt says. They should never feel embarrassed for trying.
"Over the long haul, consistently trying hard builds more confidence than intermittently doing well," he explains.
2. Encourage practice to build competence
Encourage your child to practice whatever it is they're interested in — but do so without putting too much pressure on them.
Harmony Shu, a piano prodigy, told Ellen DeGeneres that she started practicing when she was just 3 years old.
"Practice invests effort in the confident expectation that improvement will follow," Pickhardt explains.
3. Let them figure out problems by themselves
If you do the hard work for your child then they'll never develop the abilities or the confidence to figure out problems on their own.
"Parental help can prevent confidence derived from self-help and figuring out on the child's own," Pickhardt explains.
In other words, better that your child gets a few B's and C's rather than straight A's, so long as they are actually learning how to solve the problems and do the work.
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