Raising Confident and Successful Children

Raising Confident and Successful Children

As parents, we all want the best for our children, and one of our primary goals is to raise them to be successful, confident, and well-adjusted individuals. A recent article by CNBC sheds light on a significant aspect of parenting: the impact of different parenting styles on a child’s self-esteem and confidence. According to Harvard experts, there is a recently growing parenting style that can hinder a child’s growth and potential.

The Impact of Parenting Styles:

The CNBC article highlights a vital insight from Harvard experts, indicating that helicopter parenting can potentially impede a child’s self-esteem and confidence. This parenting style is characterized by excessive involvement, overprotectiveness, and a tendency to micromanage a child’s every move.

While parents often have the best intentions in mind, the consequences of helicopter parenting can be counterproductive. It may prevent children from developing essential skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, and self-sufficiency. It can also lead to a lack of confidence, as children may struggle to trust their own judgment.

So, how can we, as parents, strike a balance between being involved and allowing our children to develop independence? 

Encourage Autonomy:

Empowering children to make choices and decisions from an early age fosters a sense of autonomy and self-efficacy. Start with age-appropriate decisions and gradually increase the complexity as they grow. This can range from choosing their clothes to making decisions about extracurricular activities. Remember that it’s okay for children to fail, mismatch clothes, or build the lego set the wrong way. These “failures” are necessary for appropriate development. It’s better to have a preschooler with mismatched clothes than a college student who can’t make decisions independently.

Foster Resilience:

Resilience is a crucial trait for success in any endeavor. Encourage your child to face challenges, learn from failures, and develop a growth mindset. Offer support and guidance, but also allow them to experience the natural consequences of their actions. Angela Duckworth, an expert in the field of developing grit, advises parents to always have children participating in an activity that is challenging for them, such as a particular sport or instrument. WIth only rare exceptions, don’t allow your child to quit the activity without finishing the course/season/semester first. This will help children stick to commitments, learn the power of practice, and build resilience. 

Open Communication:

Establishing open and honest communication is essential for building trust and mutual respect. Encourage your child to express their thoughts and feelings, and be a good listener. This may mean that your child expresses feelings or thoughts that may make you feel uncomfortable as a parent (“Mom, it bothers me that you don’t come to my games anymore because you are always working”). If you are too emotional to respond in a healthy and constructive way, it’s okay to thank them for their thoughts and let them know you need time to compose your thoughts before you have a conversation about their concern. But it is critical you uphold this commitment to discuss the matter at another time. This open communication fosters a sense of validation and helps children develop strong interpersonal skills.

Provide Opportunities for Exploration:

Expose your child to a variety of experiences and activities that encourage curiosity and creativity. This could include art, sports, music, or even science experiments. Allowing them to explore their interests helps them discover their passions and strengths.

Set Realistic Expectations:

Setting realistic expectations means recognizing and appreciating your child’s unique abilities and limitations. Avoid imposing unrealistic standards or overloading them with activities. Encourage them to pursue their interests at their own pace.

As parents, our role is to guide, support, and empower our children to become successful, confident, and independent individuals. By fostering autonomy, resilience, open communication, exploration, and setting realistic expectations, we can create an environment that nurtures success and confidence in our children. 

This post was written by G3 Contributing Writer Kara Ferreira and reviewed by Dr. Julie Galvin and Dr. Elizabeth Snyder.