When does that pacifier really have to go in the trash? How do I provide baby food without microplastics? And is it normal that my toddler has no friends? Every week NU.nl submits a parenting question to an expert or experience expert. This week it is: ‘My child is insecure. How do I increase his self-confidence?’
Children’s development always involves uncertainty, says trainer Pauline Hurkmans, who helps children develop self-confidence. That starts at a young age.
“At a nursery, toddlers are already comparing themselves to each other. am I and how do I relate to others?” In the right environment and with a little help from the genes, most children develop into strong adults. But there are also children who doubt themselves and become insecure.
Back straight and two feet on the floor
How can you help your child boost their confidence? Learning a conscious posture helps, Hurkmans advises. “If you stand with a straight back, put two feet on the floor and breathe calmly from your belly, you are already so much stronger than if you are standing on one leg, fiddling with your hair. You may still be tense, but that confident attitude strengthens your self-image and also evokes a positive reaction from others.”
Every person needs positive recognition. “Even us as adults. It’s nice to hear from time to time that what you’re doing is right.” As a parent you can compliment your child, but it helps if others do the same. “Parents are always proud of their children. A child understands that flawlessly. But if a child also receives compliments from grandpa or grandma, a teacher or a sports trainer, it receives positive confirmation from several sides. Then a child learns: I am becoming seen and I matter.”
No need to be Picasso
Always give compliments consciously. “Better a sincere compliment than compliments all day long. A child can really see the difference between your drawings and his own. But it doesn’t always have to be perfect. It would be nice if your child became the new Picasso, but how big is that chance? That does not mean that your child should never draw again. Praise not so much the result, but especially his behavior and perseverance.”
Do not offer help too quickly, Hurkmans knows. “As a parent, you tend to immediately give tips if something doesn’t work out, because you happen to approach it in a certain way. But give your child the space to discover his own approach. So don’t immediately give explanations and advice, but ask: what have you already tried? And what else can you come up with to make it succeed? Then a child learns to think for itself and to trust in its own abilities.”
‘I think I can do it’
Positive thoughts can also help. “If a child says ‘I can’t do it’ as standard, then something is less likely to succeed than if a child thinks ‘I’m going to try’. As a parent you can invite your child to do so. ‘Shall we see how far you can get? ‘ Such a positive attitude also changes his behavior. If a child stands confidently and looks ahead, it will make contact sooner.”
And making mistakes is allowed: “Do you make a mistake as a parent? “Shrug your shoulders and try again. If you get angry with yourself when something doesn’t work out, what message do you send to your children? It doesn’t have to be perfect. That thought can already make a huge difference,” says Hurkmans.