Do you sometimes wish your teen was better at solving problems instead of blaming others, ignoring them wishing they would go away, or feeling defeated?  Do they demand that you solve their problem for them? Or worse do they complain and then storm off or shut you down if you try to help them?  We want them to have a good balance of tackling their own problems, collaborating and problem solving with others and seeking support when they need it to take that next step.  

We all want to help our Kiddos get better at tackling life’s little and bigger problems with confidence. You see, confidence is having faith in something or someone. It is a kind of trust. When you have self-confidence you trust that you have what it takes to handle life’s problems.   So, the question you need to ask yourself is, does your child have the self-confidence to solve their own problems? If not then as a parent it’s your job to find those moments in your child’s life that I call, “Those teachable moments”, where you can support them to develop self-confidence. 

Now I know, for some of you, depending on your style, will often find that it’s easier to just give them the solution or for you to solve the problem for them.  Let’s get real here, we won’t always have the time to patiently help them think things through, or listen as they do the necessary venting that clears the way for logical thinking.  

We can also model a problem-solving approach when we’re unhappy about our child’s behaviour. Instead of reflecting to our child that their behaviour is wrong, unreasonable or naughty, we can respond to the unwanted behaviour as a problem that needs to be solved with a positive solution; “Hmm looks like you’re things are scattered all around the room and I’m worried someone might trip and hurt themselves, what do you think the solution is?”  

Building character by giving your children opportunities to solve their own problems will bring out the best in them, and support them to have the confidence to come up with their own solutions. Some kids will naturally rise to the challenge of solving problems for themselves and actually thrive on it. Whereas others will ask for support or bury their heads in the sand, hoping the problem will disappear. 

A parent once came to me asking, “How can I support my son to become more self-confident, as I don’t want to give him solutions all the time?” She went on to say that whenever he encountered a problem he would either ignore it, hoping it would go away, or come to her to solve it. It had become very frustrating for her, because she knew that he did have the ability to solve a lot of them for himself. This is what I coached her to do…

Here’s how to Develop Self-Confidence in your Kiddos… 

Children need a lot of practice solving their daily problems. If they first have the self-confidence to try and they succeed, they can then deal with problems in school, as teenagers, in work situations, and all through their lives. I’ve come up with some steps you can take to support your children to develop self-confidence. 

Step 1 is to make sure the child understands the definition of what it means to be self-confident. Then Step 2 is knowing how to practice it. It’s about helping our kids to see the problem and tackle it without disempowering them.  Every time we calmly outline the problem without judgment, without imposing or demanding a specific outcome, we help our child practice thinking things through in a more constructive way. 

For Step 3 it’s up to you as the parent to find those teachable moments for giving your child the opportunity to develop self-confidence – whether the teachable moment is to acknowledge or to give feedback. It’s also about using the language of the quality you are developing in your child – self-confidence. Start by using words from the definition. 

Here’s the steps in more detail: 

Step 1The definition of confidence is having faith in someone. Self-confidence is trusting that you have what it takes to handle whatever happens. You feel sure of yourself and enjoy trying new things, without letting doubts or fears hold you back. 

Also teach your child what confidence might look like. For example, when a friend invites them to play a game they have never played before, or they give a speech in front of a group of people. Then they will know in what situations they can practice self-confidence.  

Step 2 Practice, practice, and more practice. I mentioned before about not disempowering your child when it comes to them tackling a problem. Depending on what personality style you have, will depend on how you approach it. Some styles will want to rescue their kids, not allowing them to practice solving a problem for themselves and others will criticize them when they have the confidence to try to solve it and they make a mistake. 

Being overly critical will diminish their confidence and depending on the child’s style, they will either give up, pull away from you or argue. Would you like to find out what personal style you have? Take my free DISC assessment to find out here: Free DISC Assessment. Also why not get your kiddo to take one too, if they are 13yrs and over. Then set up a time where you can both share your report with each other. 

Encourage your child to practice tackling their problems with self-confidence, by building up their self – worth, telling them that whether they win or lose, succeed or fail it’s an opportunity for them to learn and grow. Encourage them to try new things and think positively. I will often say to my kiddos when they are feeling like and saying they are a failure, “Well, that’s one way of looking at it, what’s another way?” When practicing, here’s a couple of affirmations you can teach them, “I am confident, I love to try new things and give it the best I have to give, and I appreciate my gifts. I welcome new possibilities?”

Step 3Find teachable moments. Linda Kevelin Popov, founder of The Virtues Project, says “Be a teacher not a preacher”. One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is to bring out the best in them. When they are self-confident they can achieve anything they set their mind to. Without confidence their fears and doubts will hold them back. 

Every day find those teachable moments where your child can be helped to master self-confidence. Spend time together as teachable moments can be found in everything you do together. Here’s a list my dear friend and colleague Carol Dysart has written:

  • Playing: Spend some time each day playing with them. The sole purpose of this play should be enjoyment – not to influence them. 
  • Talking together: Have real conversations with your kids – times when you both listen and sincerely react to one another in a positive way. 
  • Teaching: Actively teach your children such workaday skills as cooking and car repair for finding those teachable moments for building self-confidence.
  • Encouraging family activities: Family spirit and a sense of belonging are developed by doing things together as a family.  Have regular family outings, special family dinners, and spend holidays together. Conduct family council meetings and make decisions together. Reduce TV watching by playing family games or by playing musical instruments together.” 

Most of all it’s about your children knowing that you are there for them 110% with love and acceptance. If you have enjoyed reading this post you might like to learn more about how to parent the the PeopleSmart way by purchasing a copy of our book – Carol Dysart and Sandra Davis,  Parenting that Works                                                        

On Facebook we have a private group called Parents with Teens, Tweens and anything in between. Come on over and join us to get support and more parenting resources. When you join take our 5 Day Journey for learning how to create a more kind and peaceful world the PeopleSmart way – Parenting through love.