I don’t know about you, but a big AHA moment for me was realizing that I could learn and practice how to be confident. This is huge because we forget that confidence is a skill. And a skill is anything that can be learned. A skill is something you can be taught. That means, if you are not confident today, you can learn how to be tomorrow. This is huge because you can change the course of your life by learning how to have confidence.
You can learn how to radiate confidence when you step into a room, when you meet someone for the first time, even when you have to give a presentation! Imagine knowing that you can help your daughter no longer feel trapped by a fear of forever being afraid, or shy, or eager to please, or too nice, or that you have to follow the crowd. She doesn’t have to be intimidated by feelings of inferiority. She really can learn how to combat all of these things by building her confidence! And I am going to jumpstart your efforts with 5 simple things to start trying today!
Praise the process, not the end result
Often times as parents we are proud of our children’s accomplishments and eagerly congratulate them on a job well done. It may sound like this! “Mom I got an A on my test!” And your reply “I knew you could do it, you are so smart!” Well I’d like to suggest an alternate response.
What if you instead said “great job, your studying all week paid off” tweaking your response to acknowledge your daughter’s effort will make it easier for her to try things that are challenging in the future. Research shows that praising the effort and hard work helps to eliminate the fear of failure that girls who are repeatedly praised for their intellect or perfection tend to display. It may seem a little awkward, even a little counter intuitive at first. But it’s worth it in the long run.
Help your daughter learn to trust in her decision making ability
It is critical that she has opportunities to practice making decisions while she’s still at home. If she doesn’t she won’t have the confidence to trust her own instincts and it will be hard for her to make good decisions in the future. So the next time she approaches you with a problem, say a situation that came up with a friend on her soccer team.
Instead of giving your opinion, ask her what she thinks she could do in the situation. You can even have her come up with multiple solutions then decide on her own which one she is going to go with. Don’t worry if you don’t agree, obviously unless it’s an issue involving her safety, let her figure it out. She needs to start building confidence in her decision making ability now and this is how you can help her. This one is tough, but so important.
Help her make sense of the things she sees in tv, magazines, and on social media
This can include pointing out that the passionate love scenes she sees on tv are not examples of real love. Or explaining to her that pictures of celebrities online or in magazines can be edited and most likely don’t represent what the women actually look like. This will help prevent her feeling inadequate about her body type and her relationships. Take the time to have the conversations and when possible listen listen more than you talk so that you are encouraging her to express her ideas which also will boost her confidence.
Think about it, when you two have the conversation after her favorite show, she’s gonna go back to school the next day unafraid to share what she knows when she talks about the episode with her friends!
Help her believe that she can do anything!
How do you do this? First and foremost you tell her. Tell her you believe in her. Also give her the opportunity to learn new skills by helping the family out in ways that give her independence.
For example let her call a restaurant to order take out or schedule her own doctor’s appointments. But don’t expect perfection here, this is an opportunity for you to show your unconditional love and patience, be there for her and it will help build her confidence.
Get her involved in sports
I love how sports allow girls to discover a side of themselves they may not know existed. She will learn that she is capable of far more than she ever imagined. She will trust herself and appreciate her body for its strength. Achieving milestones in sports will teach her that she can push herself not just in her sport but in life.
She will not be afraid to challenge herself and hold herself to a higher standard in other areas of her life as well.