Creative Child

5 Tips for Raising a Confident Child

by Deborah Song


1. Be okay with your child’s failures. A confident child begins with a confident parent. Your child won’t be okay with failing if you’re not.  Remember that kids know their parents just as well as parents know their kids. If you think you’re able to fake or mask your disappointment, you are grossly underestimating your child. If your child strikes out of a game and your words say, “good try,” but your face is cloaked in disappointment, your child will inevitably feel heavy-laden disappointment. Sometimes all it takes is a simple reminder to rein in your expectations. Other times it requires deep soul searching. When you’ve made your child’s success of supreme importance, ask yourself why. These questions are difficult but necessary to address.

2. Help your child see the win in every failure. Hindsight is 20/20.  But your goal as a parent is to help your child see clearly near-sighted. When your child loses a game, help him focus his attention on how far he’s come, on the skills he’s learned, on the teamwork that he displayed.  That is why it’s so important for parents to praise their child’s effort as much, if not more, than any success they may experience.

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3. Position your child for success.  Knowing how to fail is important. But kids should only experience failure when they are poised for success. The best way to position your child for success is by listening and paying attention to what he likes.  Don’t force a child season after season onto a baseball field if you’re child clearly dislikes the sport. Pay attention instead to things that spark his interest, that make him tick and energize him. It’s never the goal to sabotage a child obviously. No parent does this intentionally. But when parents place their ambitions above the interest of their child, then they are inadvertently sabotaging their child. Giving him a fair amount of exposure is one thing, but repeatedly subjecting a child do something he is not inclined to like, is setting a child up for failure or at least unhappiness. Experiencing failure under these circumstances is a lose-lose. But when a child fails while doing something he loves, he will likely experience small successes along the way.

4. Let your child lead. One of the hardest aspects about letting your child lead is following his pace. Since all kids work and develop at a different speed, letting your child lead may often feel like he’s not doing enough or that he’s not keeping up. Keep in mind that all kids develop at a different pace. Not to mention that an overwhelmed child will seldom experience the full joy of doing even things he is truly passionate about. Breath of space is also necessary for your child to make discoveries, discoveries that must be made by your child in order for him to own his passions.

5. Equip them with tools, then sit back and watch. One of the reasons helicopter parenting has garnered such scrutiny is that it debilitates a child and makes a child feel less capable. He won’t build the confidence that comes from accomplishing a goal on his own. Doing too much for your child may actually undermine his confidence. Give your child the tools to succeed.  Be there when your child falls.  Help dust himself off.  But let him be the one to get back up again. It’s a decision he must learn to make.

Deborah Song is a Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based writer, who obtained her master's in journalism from New York University. She is the founder of, and is passionate about helping parents find better work-life balance and proper support through community.

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