When parents are asked what they want most for their children, the common reply is that they want their children to be healthy, confident and happy. This is why, parents need to consider what is best for their children’s long-term well-being and development, in addition to their immediate outcomes.
So it is important to strike a balance between what’s best for children and what sort of effective parenting techniques will make them confident and happy as they are growing up. Fortunately for us, scientific studies indicate that being confident and happy is a learned behaviour. It is much like a muscle that we can help our children learn to exercise and build.
Fostering self-esteem by creating a supportive and positive environment at home, praising the efforts of children, encouraging curiosity, and acknowledging their achievements are all a part of the framework of effective parenting techniques. They provide the right stimulation that go a long way in raising a self-confident child.
1. Be confident & happy yourself
The first step to ensuring more confident and happier children depends upon how confident and happy parents themselves feel. For example, babies and infants who get used to the feeling of well-being are more likely to strive to keep this feeling as they get older. Can parents do the same?
Children tend to cope better with life’s setbacks because they are motivated to repair their sense of well-being, which is already integrated into their idea of self. This is why even when children fall down a lot, they are always back on their feet quickly and easily. Do parents have this level of tenacity?
Remember, a child’s concept of self is intimately tied up with the mother’s concept of herself, and a sort of mutual self-worth-building process goes on subconsciously. Extensive research has established that happy parents are statistically more likely to have happy children. So, what is it that you can do to be confident and become a happier you?
A proven way to achieve a state of happiness is to make time to enjoy the company of your friends and have fun. Hanging out with people who make you laugh and feel good about yourself will be critical.
“Neuroscientists believe that hearing another person laugh triggers mirror neurons in a region of the brain that makes listeners feel as though they are actually laughing themselves.” : theweek.com
2. Don’t do for a child what she can do by herself
Doing things for small children begins quite innocuously at first. But in their eagerness, parents cannot but offer to help. Maybe it’s helping their child tie her shoelaces, pouring milk for her, or doing her math homework. This is not a part of raising a self-confident child.
Because pretty soon well-meaning parents have dug themselves into a deep hole – turned themselves into a 24×7 help hand by default. So much so that the child now expects her parent to help or worse, doesn’t believe that she can do a task by herself!
While assisting your child may sound like your job description, doing things for your child is more likely to make her further dependent on a parent. According to Adlerian psychology, “your primary task as a parent is to move your child from complete dependence to complete independence.” When you fail to do this, you will inhibit your child’s progress and make your life even harder for yourself. A dependent child is a demanding child.
“Children become irresponsible only when we fail to give them opportunities to take on responsibilities.” However, the nagging question persists, if we don’t do things for our child, how can we ensure that things will get done completely and efficiently? [Source]
Effective parenting techniques demand that parents make time to teach their child to do things on her own. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of this simple technique. It will feel like a bother at first, as it takes time to teach. It may even take several repetitions for a child to grasp how to button up her shirt or tie a shoelace. But it will be worth the effort.
The basic problem in raising a self-confident child, is parents don’t always set aside enough time to interact with their child and patiently teach her what they know. Children as young as two or three, for instance, need to be taught to do as much as possible for themselves — getting dressed, making their beds, and even being ready to help themselves to food in the refrigerator when they get hungry.
3. Teach your child how to build relationships
Having positive relationships with parents help children learn about the world – know that they’re loved, know who loves them, and what happens when they cry, laugh or are angry. Children thrive on having healthy, positive connections with others as well.
You have to realize that positive relationships don’t happen on their own. Like most things, it takes intention and practice to cultivate these critical skills and gain a lifetime of benefits. So how can parents help their child learn to create the conditions for supporting these vital connections?
Smart parenting tips tell parents to spend quality time and create a caring environment of trust and respect. By being in the moment parents can teach their children how to listen and understand what is going through the minds of others. Make others see that she cares about them, which is the basis for a strong relationship.
Parents need to resist the urge to give directions all the time. But have to keep an eye on their child, notice what their child is doing and encourage it without judging. Always tune in to your child’s real feelings. Your child will begin to imitate your actions and will try to implement them when interacting with her peers.
Being in the moment with your child is giving her the opportunity to learn how to take the lead. Watch your child and respond to what your child says or does. When your child expresses an opinion, use this conversation as a way to learn more about your child’s thoughts and feelings. Supporting your child’s ideas is a critical part of raising a self-confident child.
This doesn’t take a lot of effort, start by encouraging your child to perform small acts of kindness and build empathy. These acts not only builds essential skills and makes your child a better human being, but research shows it makes them happier.
4. Focus on effort, not perfection
Perfectionism is a double-edged sword. One edge of the sword drives children to be perfect, always pushing themselves to get higher grades, and aiming to become the best in sports. While the other edge of the sword is, perfectionists are seldom happy because no one can be perfect.
Pursuing perfectionism comes with a threat embedded at its centre. It makes children form negative notions, and grow up believing that if they are not perfect, their parents won’t love them. This threat arises because children wrongly connect perfection with self-esteem.
The price children end up paying for not being perfect is immense, its toll is truly destructive. The relentless pressure to become perfect often leads to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and worse, substance abuse.
Smart parenting tips tell us to avoid pushing our children to be perfectionists. Instead, take it easy. Reward the effort a child makes, and not so much the end result. When we praise children for hard work, they’d want to keep engaging in that process. They do not deviate from the task of learning by a concern with how smart they might look.
5. Teaching your child to be an optimist
As a parent, you need to help your child work through problems, and empower her to change situations for the better. Show and share with your child what exactly you do to minimize your own negative self-talk. This, more than anything else will help your child initiate the process herself. and work towards achieving similar results.
For example, if you cooked something and it turned out slightly burnt, don’t blame yourself by saying, “I’m such a bad cook,”. Instead, be a little positive about it, “It’s not bad. I’m getting better.” Another example is whenever you find yourself in a negative frame of mind, stop. Pausing will help you change your self-talk, “What made me so happy, yesterday?” Your answer will help transform a negative mindset into a positive one. Try it!
A sense of hope is a wonderful feeling for your child to have. When your child makes a mistake, a positive attitude will help her realize that she is one step closer to figuring out a solution to a problem. An optimistic outlook will allow her to regain control.
Once your child learns to think and interpret the world optimistically, she will begin to look at the brighter side of life. Become less prone to depression when things don’t go as planned.
6. Help your child become emotionally intelligent
To understand how powerful emotions really are, try to think clearly when you are upset, angry or very excited. Most will find it impossible. This is why making sure your child has the emotional intelligence to deal with such feelings is important. Remember, emotional intelligence is a skill, not an inborn trait.
If your child cannot process her feelings and deal with them appropriately, she will tend to get ‘stuck’. Every time she finds herself facing a similar situation, she will respond with the same emotions. For example, if your child feels uncomfortable when asked to complete her math homework because she struggles with math, she will always connect math with those negative emotions.
So try not to ignore or deny how your child is feeling in the moment. Instead, help her by mirroring her emotions and showing her how she can label her feelings clearly. Give her the right words to describe them. Stay with her until her negative feelings pass.
By giving the right words to describe the emotions your child is feeling, you are helping her to label the feelings she is having, this is how you can help her deal with her emotions intelligently. You could also draw a chart with faces that express emotions such as anger, sadness, and happiness… Get the child to point out her feelings by looking at the pictures. This is particularly helpful for children who are hesitant to talk about their feelings or express them freely.
Children who are emotionally intelligent, experience less stress when faced with challenges. They are aware of their feelings and have developed the vocabulary to name the feelings they are experiencing. They communicate positively, responding calmly and in a more mature way.
Relate to your child, help her identify what she is feeling and let her know that those feelings are okay, even when bad behaviour might not be so. Put your child on the path of developing empathy, as this will help her form deeper relationships with others.
When a child can imagine what it feels like to be in someone else’s shoes, she is more likely to respond better in situations which trigger uncomfortable feelings. Being able to label negative feelings and stay in control of emotions leads to happier children who feel safe and secure.
7. Helping your child develop happiness habits
Creating positive habits can help us move toward any goal we set for ourselves, whether it’s building stamina at the gym or learning how to stay calm and remain centred in tense situations. All it needs is practice, and when we do things regularly without having to think about it, it becomes a habit.
A specific habit that helps master an emotion and become happier can easily be cultivated. The “Hand on Heart” habit, for instance, is effective and really works. Before going to sleep, get your child to put one hand on her heart and the other on her tummy. Ask her to keep her eyes closed and to breathe deeply a couple of times, allow her breathing to deepen and feel how calm she becomes.
The important point is to help your child continuously practice this for at least three weeks. After this period, whenever your child puts her hands on her heart and tummy she will automatically begin to feel calm and peaceful. This habit doesn’t take a long time to form and can help your child to calm herself when she needs it most. [Source]
The main problem is to remember to do habit-forming exercises on a daily basis. Saying “I’ll never forget to do that”, makes you even more likely to forget to do that again. Close to 40% of the actions we perform in a day are out of habit. You can overcome this autopilot mode of behaviour by replacing bad habits with good ones.
Here is a powerful routine to follow and build your happiness habits:
- Get rid of distractions and put away temptations or hide them.
- Tell your friends about what you want to do. Social pressure will ensure that you stick to what you promised.
- Set one goal at a time. Too many goals become overwhelming. Achieve one happiness habit before adding another one to it.
- Keep reinforcing. Forming good habits take time. There will be relapses, but that’s normal. So keep at it!
8. Teach your child self-discipline
From choosing to turn off the video game, to resisting an extra cookie, self-discipline is the key to help your child turn into a responsible adult. Self-discipline helps children delay gratification, resist unhealthy temptations, and learn to bear the discomfort of achieving long-term goals.
Effective discipline techniques help your child learn how to make healthy choices, where you as a parent have to be firm about your intention. This approach works best because it will help your child understand the reasons for having rules.
There is no point in telling your child, “do your homework” in a threatening tone of voice, instead give her a reason why she needs to. This is more likely to help your child rationalise and understand in her own mind that rules are good for her as they serve a purpose.
Try not to force a child to do something, as this doesn’t teach self-discipline. A simple experiment will demonstrate an effective way to teach self-discipline. For example, studies have proven that when a reward is covered up, 75% of the children were able to wait a full fifteen minutes for their second cookie. None of them was able to wait this long when the reward was visible.
Children who can resist temptation are more likely to have higher intelligence, predict school success, and have better social skills later on in their lives. This is because self-discipline facilitates learning and information processing. In addition, self-disciplined children are able to cope better with frustration and stress and tend to have a greater sense of social responsibility.
9. Having more time for play is better
Play strategy defines play as children and young people following their own ideas and interests, in their own way and for their own reasons. Findings of research showed that play enhanced early development by anything from 33% to 67%, it also increased the willingness to adjust, improve language skills and reduce social and emotional problems.
Playtime isn’t goofing off but is essential to helping your child grow and learn. Unstructured play helps children learn how to work in groups, share, negotiate, resolve conflicts, regulate emotions and behaviour, and be able to speak up for themselves.
Unfortunately, these days, “maximizing instructional time and minimizing unstructured play time” has become the order of the day. Many of the reasons for reducing play time come down to a matter of convenience – less congestion and a quicker journey home. Needless to say, this benefits only adults, and not children.
Today, children spend less time playing both indoors and out. More importantly, researchers believe that this dramatic drop in unstructured playtime is in part responsible for slowing a child’s cognitive and emotional development. [Source]
About My Gym
My Gym involves children in dynamic games, physical activity and movement that help in building neural networks in the brain. Customizing its enrichment programs and workshops makes it easier for children to acquire intellectual skills, navigate complex social situations, and nurture emotional development.
Please visit any of our centres to learn more about how My Gym supports “whole-child development” through bespoke physical activities. Choose a day when you will be relatively free and come over with your child in tow. Your child could be an infant (as young as 6 months), a toddler or a preschooler, age is not a bar for enrolling.
My Gym has perfected effective discipline techniques that nurture and strengthen confidence levels among children. My Gym has specially designed programs that also help lay a firm foundation for personal, academic and future growth by involving children in age-appropriate, structured and unstructured physical activities and developing thinking and problem-solving skills.
Please note: My Gym classrooms are thoroughly sanitized every day — the tables, the chairs, the children’s activity stations and everything else the child might touch is made safe and clean. Please wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, and practice social distancing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to raise confident toddlers?
Raising confident toddlers is important for several reasons, such as,
- Confidence helps children build resilience and cope with challenges.
- It helps them develop a positive self-image and strong sense of self-worth.
- Confident children are more likely to take on new challenges and try new things.
- They are better equipped to handle social situations and build healthy relationships with others.
- Confident children are more likely to speak up for themselves and advocate for their needs.
- It can lead to improved academic performance and overall success in life.
A positive parenting program can indeed help parents better understand their child's emotions and promote their holistic growth. These programs can provide tools and strategies for parents to build a nurturing and supportive relationship with their child, which in turn boost their confidence and overall well-being.
How can parents' confidence and happiness impact their children's development?
When parents feel confident and positive about their parenting skills, they are better able to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for their child. On the other hand, parents with low self-esteem may struggle to provide their child with the emotional support and guidance they need to thrive.
Smart parenting tips to promote positive self-esteem in parents and healthy child development include:
- Practicing self-care and self-reflection to improve emotional well-being.
- Seeking out supportive communities or counseling to address any underlying issues affecting self-esteem.
- Engaging in positive and meaningful interactions with your child, such as setting aside an hour of play time for children on a daily basis, helps build a strong parent-child bond.
- Setting realistic expectations and being patient with yourself and your child.
- Limiting screen time and promoting healthy habits, such as outdoor play and physical activity.
Why is having positive relationships with parents important for children's development?
In a digital age, the development of a child can be impacted by the strength of the parent-child bond. When there is a strong bond between the parent and child, the child is more likely to feel loved, supported, and secure. This can lead to positive outcomes such as improved mental health, better social skills, and academic success.
Listed below are some of the popular parenting styles that can strengthen parent-child bonding:
- Attachment parenting is a style that involves responding sensitively to a child's needs and promoting physical closeness through practises such as babywearing and co-sleeping.
- A positive parenting program emphasises the importance of positive communication, setting boundaries, and fostering a warm and nurturing environment.
- The authoritative parenting style combines warmth and support with clear expectations and boundaries.
Why is it important to teach your child to be an optimist?
An optimistic outlook in children can be beneficial in a rapidly growing world. Confident toddlers who are optimists are more likely to approach challenges with a positive attitude, have better problem-solving skills, and are less likely to give up when faced with obstacles. To help children develop an optimistic outlook, some effective parenting techniques include:
- Encouraging positive thinking and reinforcing positive behavior through enriching play time for children.
- Fostering a growth mindset that emphasizes the idea that intelligence and abilities can be developed over time through hard work and dedication.
- Praising effort rather than just results so that children understand that trying hard is just as important as achieving success.
- Encouraging children to focus on solutions rather than problems.
- Modeling optimistic behavior and attitudes for children to emulate.
How can I help my child develop self-discipline?
There are several techniques for effective parenting that help a child develop self-discipline from the early childhood. Some effective parenting tips and tricks include:
1. Model self-discipline: Children learn by example, so it's important for parents to model self-discipline in their own lives. For instance, sticking to a routine, completing tasks on time, and avoiding distractions during work or playtime are effective discipline techniques for children.
2. Set clear rules and expectations: Establishing clear rules and expectations for behavior helps children understand what is acceptable and what is not.
3. Use positive reinforcement: Encourage good behavior with positive reinforcement, such as praise or rewards.
4. Provide structure and routine: Having a regular routine and structure in a child's day helps them understand what is expected of them and develop self-discipline.
5. Encourage independent play: Giving children time and space to play independently helps them develop self-discipline and self-motivation.
6. Play games that encourage self-discipline: Games like Simon Says or Red Light, Green Light require children to listen carefully, follow instructions, and exercise self-control.