Throughout life, we all have to learn to overcome challenges. As we mature, we also increase our capacity for resilience – or how fast we “bounce back” after an upsetting situation. For children, this process isn't as easy; some students are absolutely devastated by minor setbacks. Other students may feel a temporary decrease in confidence after dealing with a bad experience at school (like a disappointing exam score). Whatever the reason may be, as parents we can help our kids to get through and overcome these challenges. Here are Tutor Doctor's tips for rebuilding your child's confidence.
1. Encourage them to talk about it. Kids don't always share when something is wrong. Teaching your kids to express themselves is extremely important when they are facing difficulties. Often just speaking aloud allows us to see matters from another perspective – or even come up with a potential solution. If your child is lacking in confidence, ask them to talk about it. Listening to (and sharing) feelings and emotions is a great way to encourage your kids to open up about their own challenges and help regain confidence.
2. Suggest an activity they already enjoy. Sometimes, it's better to step away from a difficult situation. Just like we recommend short breaks during homework sessions, this is also a good method to give your child a boost in confidence. Have them work on another subject, or even a non-academic activity, that they are already comfortable with. Trying to approach a problem without a clear mind isn't going to help improve confidence, so taking time to relax with a preferred activity can help tremendously.
3. Help to develop a plan for the future. Issues with confidence often stem from a feeling of hopelessness. It's not necessarily because a student received a bad score on one particular exam – rather, the decrease in confidence can come from the belief that they aren't capable of doing any better. This can become even more apparent after repeated struggles. We always want to encourage students that they can improve by making an effort and trying their best, and making a plan for moving forward can be a great way to relieve stress.
4. Identify the severity of the issue. Students may have confidence issues for reasons that can't be solved with academic diligence and an honest effort. If a student is struggling due to attention issues or behavior problems at school, there may be deeper factors involved. Unfortunately in other cases, students lack confidence due to bullying at school. Whatever the reason may be, situations like these are best approached by contacting your child's teacher and/or doctor.
Students that believe they can succeed do, in fact, perform better in school. As we discussed in our podcast blog “The Importance of Developing A Growth Mindset For Children,” students that are confident in their abilities will indeed learn more effectively and maintain a positive attitude towards education. Helping students develop a growth mindset is a key component of confidence building.