The best thing you can do for your kids is to equip them with the “tools” to build confidence, toughness, and flexibility as they grow into adults. Of course, this is never an easy task, considering there is no one-size-fits-all approach to raising children.
Thankfully, you can use certain strategies to help your children develop self-reliance and resilience. From encouraging kids to make their own decisions to teaching them how to handle rejection, here are 10 good parent qualities to help shape your little humans into balanced individuals.
1. Teach Your Kids to Make Their Own Decisions
Children are supposed to always depend on their parent’s decision on what’s good and fitting for them, right?
Decision-making is a skill; as with all skills, getting good at it takes practice. Of course, you know what’s good for your children, but involving them in the decision-making process at an early age is a great way to raise confident and independent kids.
How do you involve your children in decision-making? Here are a few ways:
- Start with small, everyday decisions. For example, when choosing what your child should wear, help them understand why a particular outfit suits the weather and event and how well it matches their body type.
- Instead of forcing your choice on them, ask what and why your child prefers one thing over the other.
- Encourage independent thinking by asking your children’s opinions on age-appropriate issues.
One more thing; remember to make the learning process fun for your kids.
Drawn-out lectures or formal teaching approaches can be tiring for children. A better approach is to find appropriate opportunities to teach decision-making lessons during normal conversations or playtime.
2. Allow Your Children to Make Mistakes
Teaching children to make their own decisions comes with one unavoidable consequence: they will make mistakes!
But the good news is mistakes are not necessarily bad. If anything, making mistakes shows your children are trying things out, learning and growing.
Unfortunately, many of us are helicopter parents, doing everything possible to protect our children from experiencing failure.
Although protecting your child from pain and suffering is a natural parental instinct, not allowing them to make mistakes is a mistake in itself.
Overprotecting your child will eventually do more harm than good because you will deprive them of the chance to get vital firsthand experiences and learn for themselves.
Here’s the thing, though.
As a parent, you must provide safety for your child and offer guidance when needed. However, one of the good parent qualities that ensure your child powers through difficulties is allowing him or her to experience failure.
No doubt, watching your child struggle can be difficult, but allowing them to make mistakes is a crucial part of building resilience. It develops their problem-solving skills and encourages the self-belief needed to succeed in life.
3. Teach Your Kids How to Be There for Others
Contrary to common belief, children are not inherently selfish. Instead, they enjoy giving, even when it involves sacrificial giving.
Research from 2012 shows that young children, including toddlers, find greater happiness when they give than when they receive treats.
But that’s not all.
The research found that little kids are happier when they engage in selfless giving or forfeiting their own resources than when they give at no cost.
What does this mean?
Your children will lead happier and more fulfilling lives if you encourage them to be there for others, serve others, and positively impact others.
Teach your kids to focus more on contributing by involving them in volunteering or activities where they can help others. This improves children’s self-esteem and gives them a sense of purpose.
4. Assign Age-Appropriate Chores
Many parents assume children don’t like doing chores, but perhaps the problem is how we make kids view chores ― unpleasant activities that may sometimes be used as a punishment.
However, you can help your children feel capable and good about themselves by letting them help out around the house.
Also, you teach your kids the value of teamwork, cooperation, and hard work when you give them household responsibilities.
Remember to only assign age-appropriate chores and find ways to make the activity fun to encourage willing participation.
5. Encourage Your Children to Try New Things
Encouraging your kids to step out of their comfort zones and try new things is perhaps the best way to foster confidence.
Allow your child to explore various activities and hobbies, including participating in healthy competitions at home and school.
How does this build confidence?
Trying new things is a practical way for children to learn new skills, boosting confidence in their abilities.
Also, praising your child for trying new things (whether or not they succeed) improves their self-esteem and increases the likelihood of taking on new challenges.
That said, encouraging kids to try new things is a good parental quality that requires careful implementation. Tread carefully when nudging children to do new things, especially if they aren’t naturally inclined toward certain activities.
Factor in your child’s abilities and skills. Take time to observe your child’s innate talents and natural aptitude and push them to play those strengths.
Set realistic expectations, and when your child fails (as they will), tell them it is okay not to excel on the first few tries. Teach them to be patient and keep practicing until they become better.
6. Compliment Your Children
Children need their parents’ approval because it strengthens their self-esteem and promotes a healthy sense of self-worth ― two essential qualities for increased resilience.
But complimenting kids isn’t merely telling them “good job” every now and then. Instead, it means paying attention to your child, so they know they are an important part of your universe.
Keep an eye out for when your child is being good (for example, taking out the trash without being asked) and praise them; they are more likely to repeat the good behavior.
Remember to be specific with your compliment. For example, “I’m really impressed by your commitment to your studies.”
7. Encourage Physical Activity From an Early Age
It is common to think that exercises only offer physical benefits. But in addition to helping children build stronger bones and muscles, engaging in physical activities can help kids develop confidence in their abilities and feel a sense of accomplishment.
Also, the mental attitude required to complete certain exercises can help children react more positively to life’s challenges.
Think of exercises as obstacles kids must overcome to stay physically and mentally fit. Your child will probably think something along the lines of, “I can do this!” when attempting to complete a physical activity.
Years of engaging in such positive inner self-talk will definitely result in one thing: increased resilience to power through difficult situations.
8. Teach Your Children How to Handle Rejection
Good parent qualities are incomplete without preparing children for disappointments and outright rejection. These things are certain to happen, so equipping your child to handle rejection is a skill that will serve them for a lifetime.
Teach your child to manage their emotions when friends or classmates exclude them from social activities. Encourage them to discuss difficult emotions like fear, anger, or sadness associated with rejection.
Let them know that rejection is inevitable, and while it is painful, help them understand that it doesn’t define who they are. Find ways to help your children shift their focus to their positive qualities rather than dwell on the pain of rejection.
9. Help Your Children Develop People Skills
Most successful and confident people didn’t turn out that way by accident. They develop people or social skills from an early age.
Here are some important people skills to teach your children to foster confidence:
- Being polite
- Making eye contact
- Listening and not interrupting
- Asking for help
- Cooperating and helping others
- Considering others’ perspective
- Being sensitive to others’ feelings
- Disagreeing respectfully
- Resolving conflicts
- Accepting and respecting differences
- Complimenting others
10. Promote Your Child’s Strength
Lastly, deliberately focus more on your children’s strengths than their weaknesses. This doesn’t mean sweeping bad behavior under the rug, but it means quickly identifying and acknowledging your child’s positive behaviors.
Like many parents, you may reprimand or scold your kids to correct or modify bad behavior. But if we are being totally honest, that approach doesn’t work too well.
“I am a good child who behaves well” is the belief you want your child to internalize, not “I am such a bad child who always misbehaves.” The former thinking pattern increases confidence, while the latter leads to poor self-image.
Focusing on your child’s strength is one of the good parent qualities that call for a large dose of patience. To foster confidence and resilience in your kids, you must train your mind to look for and emphasize the good in them rather than the bad.
To learn more about effective behavior modification methods, I recommend reading my guide on the difference between positive punishment and negative reinforcement.