Growing up, I lacked confidence. In fact, I was about as unconfident as a kid could possibly be. Ideas like,

Growing up, I lacked confidence. In fact, I was about as unconfident as a kid could possibly be.

happy-family-with-kids-joy

Ideas like, “Believe in yourself and you can do anything” and “You’re a champion! You’re special!” were never spoken in my house. Not that most people actually talk like that. But you get the idea — the themes weren’t ever expressed.

I don’t blame my mom, she wasn’t raised that way either. I was lucky to happen upon knowledge and information that taught me differently and, therefore, I hope to now teach my children the way I wish we had been.

But how you do that isn’t so simple as repeating cheesy phrases to your kids enough times (although with the proper emotion and belief behind them, they’re sure to help, as cheesy as they sound).

I was a very confident little kid.

– Tina Fey

That brings us to your job.

As a parent, you have to be vigilant to craft an environment that encourages your child and teaches them that fear is a normal part of being human — and that pushing through that fear is how they get what they want.

Confident kids have parents who do these seven things:

1. They teach them the value of investing time (practice)

My oldest son gets frustrated easily when trying new things. I have to remind him regularly that those people in the world who are the best at what they do have also failed more than anyone else.

You must invest practice in anything you want to learn, but children don’t understand this. When they try something and can’t do it well right away it can be very discouraging.

Instead, teach them that some things require practice and that by investing time into a thing they can become skilled. And when your child sees themselves becoming better at something it helps them instill confidence in themselves.

2. They teach them problem-solving

Instead of judging, try learning from others

Your child won’t always have you there to help them. In fact, that will happen as soon as grade school, long before they become adults.

By teaching your child the value of problem-solving they can become self-sufficient. Learning problem-solving, how to creatively work themselves out of a hole, gives them the confidence that they can accomplish anything and overcome challenges with their mind alone.

This might not always be the case. However, the mind is an immensely powerful tool when enough belief is placed behind it. That’s why this is easily one of the most empowering things you can teach a child and a great way to help them cultivate self-confidence.

3. They encourage curiosity and inquisitiveness

Curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge are critical to encourage in a child for several reasons.

However, the reason it plays a role in building a child’s confidence is because it encourages self-exploration and teaches them that there are things which they do not know — but they can learn about them.

In fact, in his book How Children Succeed Paul Tough says that curiosity has been linked not only to the development of self-confidence but several mental-toughness related traits such as grit, persistence, and self-control.

4. They challenge their child

Encouragement and praise are important for every child. And, of course, as parents we want our children to be safe and comfortable.

However, growth happens on the fringes where we’re uncomfortable, uncertain, and unfamiliar with what’s in front of us.

Parents who raise confident children aren’t afraid of challenging their child because they understand that is where true growth comes from. When we’re pushed beyond our current limits we can expand to be something more, something “better” than we were before.

Parenting expert Carl Pickhardt says the best way to do this is by increasing responsibility on the task at hand. Have more of a thing be based on their own individual effort and allow them to stretch just beyond their current limit.

5. They teach them to see failure as a chance to learn and grow

One of the single most important principles to confidence is shifting how your child views failure.

When a child meets failure or even a level of difficulty that makes them believe they can go no further– whether it’s difficulty with their math homework or in learning how to ride a bike– they must make a decision.

If you as the parent do nothing to help guide the child, it’s a toss-up. They might choose to push through it instinctively but they’re more likely to become discouraged and stop.

Parents who raise confident children know how important it is to guide their child through failure by showing them that it’s an invaluable opportunity for growth and not a sign of their inadequacy.

6. They teach their children that when a relationship doesn’t work out, you can always make new friends

Teaching a child how to navigate the challenges inherent in relationships might seem a little early. However, it couldn’t be more important.

The average child starts making friends as early as grade school. And by the time they reach around third grade, there’s already talk of who is whose best friend, what is cool and what isn’t, and social cliques are formed.

Your child should believe “If one relationship doesn’t work out, then others will because I am generally capable of making good friends, and I’ll keep succeeding in the future,” says Terri Apter wrote in his book The Confident Child: Raising Children to Believe in Themselves.

7. They teach them how to be comfortable with their emotions

Knowledge of how to navigate one’s emotions is something that few children are ever given.

But on the topic of confidence, it’s essential because it strikes straight to the heart of what causes us to lose confidence: feelings and emotions such as fear, anger, frustration, envy, jealousy, self-doubt, and disappointment.

By learning early on how to be with your own emotions– how to be nonjudgmental and observe the mind and how it works– as well as the fact that we all have defeating, irrational thoughts and that having these thoughts does not mean they’re true, can make a huge difference in anyone’s life. But a child so early in their development? Even more powerful.