Confidence is rooted in Competence!
Why this article about confidence? It's one of the primary reason parents reach for a coach for their teen (with motivation, poor social-life, time-management and career-orientation). We, as parents, think our kids lack of self-confidence.
But do we honestly trust them?
I was working with one of my junior student. He knew this school year was challenging and was ready for it. After less than one month, he was struggling (he got a B on a test) in one of his AP's class. His parents immediately made him drop off the class to avoid a decrease on his GPA. I asked him how he felt about that? He was resigned but told me that he knew he could have raised his grade if only his parents would have allowed it. "They didn't trust I could do it" was his answer.
Then how our teens can have confidence if we don't trust them?
Psychologist and author of "The Price of Privilege", Dr Madeline Levine, shared in a conference at Henry M. Gunn High School (Palo Alto, CA) in January 2014 the 3 ways we (parents) might be overparenting and unwittingly causing psychological harm.
1. When we do for our kids what they can already do for themselves
2. When we do for our kids what they can almost do for themselves
3. When our parenting behavior is motivated by our own ego
When we parent this way we deliver the rather soul-crushing message: "Kid, you can't actually do any of this without me".
Before going further I want to make the distinction between confidence and self-esteem. 2 words often used interchangeably when referring to how you feel about yourself. I also have to admit that sometimes I think that the word self-esteem is overused (but it's not the point here!).
Self-esteem refers to how you feel about yourself overall; how much esteem, positive regard or self-love you have. Self-esteem develops from experiences and situations that have shaped how you view yourself today.Confidence, on the other hand, is related to action, it’s a belief that you can succeed at something. Psychologists call it domain specific. So, you can be confident about one area of your life, but totally unconfident about another. "I am confident that I am a good manager but I’m not at all confident about speaking in public." "I may have healthy self-esteem, but low confidence about situations involving math".
Why is confidence so important?
It's good to know that you can do something well. But confidence is especially critical because it is necessary to navigating childhood and adolescence successfully and safely. That journey involves taking risks at every step of the way - risks in walking into a new school for the first time, trying to make new friends, or not making the team. Without solid confidence, children won't take necessary risks.
Confidence is rooted in competence!
Children can't gain genuine confidence without experiencing their own competence. They have to manage challenges to know they are able to succeed. Only then will they be truly confident.
Therefore, as parents, the first step would be to help them spread the overall goal in small achievable milestones to let them experience success. Like when they were babies, remember when we used to encourage them, praise them for their first steps, then walk from you to the table; when they were learning how to ride, first with a tricycle then with a bicycle with you on their side holding the bike then alone....