Photo from Taming of the Shrew
If there is one thing I want my students to develop while in my care, it is confidence. The confidence I want for them includes the following ideas:
I want students to be confident enough
A parent or a teacher's part in developing confidence should include the following:
Be a cheerleader - When a child wishes to try something, make it happen. I tried out for every play in high school. My parents always supported that idea even though I did not get a part until my senior year. I know my mom felt the disappointment when I did not get cast in a play more than I did, but she continued to support and encourage me.
Let children do it themselves - Helping children with projects and school assignments means supplying the materials and space to work. Talking about your child's ideas for the project. Making suggestions and then letting them do the work themselves.
Constructive criticism - I hated to hear any criticism at all. I would get embarrassed and feel ashamed about what I was doing. This is a tricky area. I have seen children shut down when the teacher or parent offers suggestions. What I have learned to do is to ask the child to explain what he was trying to accomplish and then ask if it would be ok if you showed them another way to do it that would make their idea more clear. Always ask if it is ok to suggest something before you do, this gives the child ownership of the conversation.
Listen to your child with interest and enthusiasm - if your child believes that you think everything they have to say is important when they are young, they will continue to tell you things as they get older. Children become better communicators when they know someone is listening to them. This is just good advice.
Let your child fail from time to time - Children should not be afraid to fail. Everyone has moments when they do not achieve their goals. Those of us who rethink our goals, adjust our attempts, and keep working towards the things we wish to achieve are the ones who succeed. Those who give up never get there.
Genuine praise - Saying things like, "Good job" and "Nice work" does NOT offer genuine praise. Praise should be specific and include details. Saying something in a positive manner such as I like the colors you chose, what made you think of using these colors." or "The plot of your story is interesting, tell me more about it.", involve the child in the praise and help them think too!
Remember, confidence does not come from continued success, it comes from being secure in who you are. So helping your child learn to think for himself and communicate authentically is the best way to raise a confident child.