Every parent has had to look at their child and say to them, “Look at their eyes”, when someone is talking to them. We continue to stress that because we know that doing so is first of all respectful and it also helps the child build confidence. Helping our children build confidence can be a rather difficult and long term project for us parents.
Here are a couple of examples of how to help our children build confidence. Lets first recommend that when we are confident in ourselves we may be willing to try new things and meet new people. For others this could be a scary thing and make us very nervous. As a parent though we should continue to introduce new foods or a new activity to our children and encourage them to use their courage when trying this new part to their life.
If our children are not confident in trying a new food – they may pick at it or complain immediately, even before tasting the food. We may want to have a rule in our house that says we must try at least one mouthful to get a taste of the food. We may also want to pre-frame the effort with an encouraging comment on how it tastes and feels in our mouths and how much we like it. However do not be surprised if the child has made up their mind ahead of time that they are not going to like it. I never make a big deal out of that, but instead, let the child know that as we get “bigger” or “older”, our taste buds change and we may like it at another time. I try to use this as a way to introduce the food at a later date, around a birthday – when they know that they are getting “bigger” and now it is OK to like this new food.
Lets talk about confidence in meeting new people. When you or I walk into a room full of people that we do not know – we are going to react in one of two ways, even as adults. Some love it and it is exciting to them, and others dread it and it can be difficult. Some of this has to do with whether we are an introvert or an extrovert, but still it is a situation we will be in and our children too.
Try to role play with our children how they walk and speak when they are meeting new people. Teaching them to walk with their shoulders back, head or chin up, eyes on the other persons eyes, and a smile on their face as their eyes meet with someone is invaluable. In addition you will want to role play greeting others. Practice saying “Hello, my name is _______. What’s yours?” or “It’s nice to meet you”, while looking them in the eye. If the class your child is in at school does not practice a polite greeting at the beginning of the day, they are missing out on a great teaching tool and setting a culture of respect in the classroom. This continual practice of the way you look and speak will help our young people conduct themselves with confidence.