Mental Health Series

Building Your Child’s Confidence

In this session, we’ll focus on the importance of fostering a healthy identity in children and draw on the extensive experience of Dr. Skinner, who emphasizes the significance of adult behavior and interaction with children.

By incorporating key insights, parents and caregivers can create a supportive and nurturing environment that fosters a healthy identity in children. Remember, the most important thing is to be there for your child, offering love, support, and guidance as they navigate the world and discover who they are.

Key Takeaways for Parents

1

Be Mindful of Labels:

Avoid labeling children in limiting ways (for example, "troublemaker"). Use well-rounded labels to reinforce strengths and foster a positive identity.
2

Change Habits and Patterns:

Understand that habits can be changed, even if it feels awkward initially. Show children that identity is not fixed and can be influenced by their environment and interactions
3

Attune to Your Child:

Develop a sense of trust by being present and available when it matters most. Keep lines of communication open and truly listen to what your child is saying—or not saying.
4

Promote Resiliency:

Teach children that they are good enough, regardless of challenges. Allow them to experience and learn from difficulties, and support them in regulating their emotions.
5

Foster Creativity Through Play:

Encourage imaginative play and social interactions. Play needs to include human interaction, eye-hand coordination, and creativity. Model and participate in playful activities with your child.
6

Develop a Growth Mindset:

Emphasize effort over innate talent. Teach children that abilities can be developed through hard work and persistence. Use language that promotes the belief that they can achieve difficult things.

7

Create Continuous Opportunities for Connection:

Provide social interactions within a safe and healthy environment. Help your child feel connected, heard, and valued through empathy and shared activities.
8

Model and Teach Positive Interactions:

Slow down to help children with their emotional and social development. Show empathy, encourage play, and build resilience to reinforce positive identity formation.

Things You Can Do to Build Your Child’s Confidence

1. Foster a Growth Mindset

Encourage Effort and Resilience: Teach your child that effort and persistence are more important than inherent talent. Encourage them to tackle challenging tasks and praise their efforts rather than just their achievements. Remind them, “I can do hard things,” and share stories of times when you or others have succeeded through perseverance.

Model Growth-Oriented Language: Use language that promotes growth. For instance, when your child faces a difficult task, say things like, “What did you learn from this experience?” or “How can we approach this differently next time?”

2. Create Playful and Creative Opportunities

Engage in Play: Dedicate time to play with your children. This can involve imaginative play, playing sports, or participating in creative activities like drawing or building. These interactions help children develop social skills, improve hand-eye coordination, and stimulate their imagination.

Integrate Play into Daily Activities: Incorporate playful elements into routine tasks. For example, turn tidying up into a game by setting a timer and seeing who can pick up the most items. This not only makes chores more enjoyable but also strengthens your bond with your child.

3. Develop Emotional Resilience

Acknowledge and Honor Emotions: Encourage your child to express their feelings and validate their emotions. Ask them, “What are you feeling right now?” and listen attentively. Teach them that it’s okay to feel sad, angry, or frustrated and that these feelings are part of the human experience.

Guide Emotional Regulation: Help your child learn to manage their emotions by discussing different ways to cope with stress and setbacks. Share techniques like deep breathing, journaling, or talking about their feelings with a trusted adult.