I recently met for the first time a friend's 7-year-old daughter at a party her parents hosted. Before this face-to-face, I'd only seen her in videos her parents have been posting online, either showcasing her talent for performing or receiving an academic award onstage. In person, she was everything I thought she would be — and more. She exuded an air of confidence, which others might construe as "kayabangan," that is not typical of her age. She greeted the guests, engaged them in conversation ("Ano'ng gusto mong maging nung bata ka?" which got many of the adults thinking hard), and completely held her own. I was blown away.
When asked what she and her husband did to raise such a self-assured daughter, she told me, "We just let her pursue her interests." And they might be onto something there.
Carl Pickhardt, a psychologist and notable author of parenting books, told Independent that it is the parents' responsibility to "increase life exposures and experiences so the child can develop confidence in coping with a larger world." By letting her dabble into different fields of interest, this couple was helping their daughter discover what she's good at while introducing her to new things she might find out she likes.
Here are five other things parents of confident kids are doing right
They compliment their child for trying something new
Venturing into unfamiliar territory takes guts, whether that's joining a school club or volunteering to be the leader in a group project. Going for the familiar is obviously the easier route, so when your child decides to try something new, cheer him on and make sure to give him the encouragement he needs.
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They harp on the value of practice to build competence
There are no shortcuts to success, and no one gets better at something without putting in time. Practice builds not only competence but also discipline increases one's appreciation for the value of hard work, and takes away the feeling of entitlement.
"Parental help can prevent confidence derived from self-help and figuring out on the child's own," explains Pickhardt. Problem-solving skills are developed at a young age, so if you keep intervening and solving conflicts for your child, that's a missed window of learning. When you're tempted to step in, catch yourself, bite your tongue, and hear out your child's thoughts first.
They let them act their age
Unrealistic goals could dishearten a child when he is unable to meet them. Remember, he is still just a child, so check your expectations.
They encourage real person-to-person encounters.
"Confidence in the virtual world (although important) is not the same as real-world confidence that offline effectiveness brings," Pickhardt says. Don't let your child be so immersed in the virtual world that he doesn't know anymore how to relate to a real person. Ditch the screens and let him strike up an actual conversation with his siblings, classmates, or cousins.