A lack of confidence is learned. You don't really have a young person develop confidence; you just have to keep them from losing it! As "Rock Solid" parents, we realize that we are entrusted with the protection of our child's self-confidence. What can you do about it? Plenty! Let's begin.
You must understand five concepts if you are to protect you child's self-confidence.
1. Confidence is a skill, not an attitude. It can be learned, practiced and rehearsed. If your child lacks confidence, however, it takes a firm commitment from Mom and Dad to overcome it.
When his mom first brought Kendall to karate, he had no confidence. He was afraid to try new things and he avoided looking people in the eye. His mom said, "I'm not going to let him succumb to this. I remember how I felt when I was a child and had no confidence!" So he did one confidence builder after another. Even though, at time, it seemed that nothing was working, she stayed with it and eventually her stratergies began to work. Kendall's confidence gradually improved, his friends and teachers noticed a difference in the way he looked and in the way he acted. Kendall's mom was successful because of her commitment to achieving these results!
2. We have a "body language" that speaks confidence! Studies show, in fact, that how we old our body reveals our emotional state.
Many children experience confidence for the first time when they begin to master confident body language. Paula had been walking home from school by herself since second grade, but when fourth grade started, she changed schools. This meant that she had to walk by the middle school playground. Some middle school boys always hung out at the edge of the playground, they were loud and aggressive, even though Paula wasn't in any actual physical danger, she always felt intimidated. When she explained this situation to her dad, he began working with her on her posture and her breathing. He also instructed Paula to look those boys right in the eye. This eye contact was hard for Paula to learn, it took her outside her comfort zone, but dad played with her, repeatedly. Soon, Paula learned to use these empowering body language techniques on her walk home. They immediately changed the way she felt, instead of feeling intimidated, she felt confident and safe.
3. Past events also profuoundly influence your child's current level of confidence and the way you recorded those events.
Is your child's current self-image built on past victories or failures? You must continually direct his focus toward his past victories, rather than towards past defeats.
4. To develop self-confidence, you must gently and lovingly move your child outside his or her comfort zone.
5. You must reinforce confidence and behavior and all approximations of confident behavior with positive feedback.