7 ways parents can model confident behaviour

A woman in her 30s looks out of a train window, smiling

We all struggle with our confidence from time to time. It can be easy to forget how much our confidence affects how we present ourselves – and how much of an impact it can have on how our kids and teens start to develop their own self-confidence and self-belief. How we demonstrate our confidence can help teach our kids how they can begin discovering their own voices and feeling more confident in speaking up and being heard.

We share seven simple ways you can begin modelling more confident behaviour and start setting an even better example for your kids.

1. Be a good role model

Whether we realise it or not, our children can be influenced by our behaviour. When what we say and what we do don’t match up, they can be pretty quick on the uptake. Take a moment to consider your own confidence and how you handle sharing your opinions and how you talk about standing up and speaking at home.

Maybe you’ve expressed nerves about giving a presentation at work, or you avoid answering your phone when an unrecognised number pops up; you may have nervous tells you aren’t even aware of. Identifying what these are and what is making you nervous can be the first step towards setting a positive example for your kids.

2. Show your appreciation

Giving positive feedback (whether something has been successful or not) can be a huge help in building a strong foundation for more confidence. It’s not just about giving praise when things go right; by showing kids it’s OK to do things imperfectly, you can help instil the idea that it’s the act of doing something that matters. As long as we’re trying, we’re recognising our progress, and we’re doing our best to keep improving, that’s all we can really ask. This can help kids feel more confident in trying new things, whilst showing them positive ways they can give constructive feedback and take on criticism without feeling overwhelmed.

3. Be curious

A father stands in the woods, watching the sunrise, his back turned to the camera

Encourage curiosity. Show it’s OK to not only ask questions but to look into things in more detail yourself. Trying new things shouldn’t be about getting them perfect first time. Through showing kids it’s OK to do an activity together that is both fun and new to them, it can be a good way to encourage them to explore new things and build their confidence in trying new experiences (and speaking up if they need help and support with what they’re doing).

Give them the space to ask questions and explore, rather than giving them all the answers up-front. Trying an activity that’s new to you both, like cooking a new recipe or taking up a new class together can be a good way to show your own curiosity and learning process.

4. Model self-love and positive talk

When was the last time you acknowledged something you did well? Rewarding and praising our own behaviour or actions doesn’t come naturally to many of us; we’re taught it’s boasting or showing-off.

But, celebrating and talking about our own successes can be a good way to recognise our accomplishments and hard work. It can also be a positive way to talk with kids about any skills you had to develop to accomplish things. This can help encourage kids not only to recognise and develop their own skills but start learning how some things (like public speaking) may seem scary but can have a much bigger impact on other areas we do enjoy or need to work on.

5. Set realistic goals

Having manageable milestones and realistic goals can not only help us but can show kids that even big tasks don’t have to be too daunting. Breaking big tasks into smaller milestones can help us feel a bigger sense of accomplishment, motivating us to keep going and helping avoid that feeling of being bogged down.

6. Show resilience

Nobody succeeds first time, all of the time. We all experience setback and failures; it’s part of life. It’s how we learn from these experiences, rather than dwelling on what has happened or seeing these as failures, that can impact our overall sense of wellbeing and teach kids healthy ways to cope with setbacks.

Through building resilience, we can show our kids how they can keep trying. It’s not about just ‘pulling ourselves together’, rather, it’s about showing them healthy ways to express their disappointment without dwelling on the negativity – and learning what steps they can take to do better next time.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Showing that it’s OK to ask for help and support is key. Working with others whose skills or area of expertise may exceed your own can be a great way of showing them it’s OK to not have all the answers, whilst highlighting the benefits collaboration and skill sharing can have. By working together, we can improve ourselves far more efficiently than trying to do it all alone.

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Bonnie Evie Gifford

Written by Bonnie Evie Gifford

Bonnie Evie Gifford is a Senior Writer at Happiful.

Written by Bonnie Evie Gifford

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