How to Not Care What People Think

Overcoming What Others Think Through Self-Confidence

When you believe in yourself, it’s much easier to ignore the pressure to conform or worry about what others might think. It takes self-confidence to believe in your ability and value as an individual. As a parent, you are your child’s first and most influential confidence-building advocate. Like most parenting projects, building confidence in your children is a long-term commitment that’s well worth the effort.

What’s Confidence Got to Do With It?

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When you’re self-confident, you care less about what others consider cool or acceptable and more about what works for you and your life goals. Confidence can help your child refuse that pretty alcoholic drink offered at her first tweens-only party. It gives her the courage to face new situations or challenges such as working with multiple teachers when she enters junior high. Confidence can also help your children choose a peer group that encourages, rather than demeans, their efforts to achieve academic or athletic success.

So, how do I help my kids become more confident?

Encourage Competence

You help your child gain confidence when you encourage him to become competent at new activities. And you can start the coaching process long before he’s ready to walk. Rolling over, for instance, is a spectacular new adventure for a 3- to 4-month-old. It takes a lot of practice to accomplish a good roll. When you encourage him to keep trying until he succeeds rather than taking the easy route and flipping him yourself, you help him gain confidence in his own ability.

Even seemingly simple achievements like tying her shoes, making the bed or choosing which T-shirt to wear to preschool can help increase your child’s sense of competency. When you help your first grader study her spelling words or quiz your fifth grader on her upcoming history exam, you’re helping them become confident in their ability to succeed in learning new skills.

Avoid Hovering

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As a parent, your first priority is your child’s safety, but it’s just as important to let him develop age-appropriate skills. A 10-year-old can make a sandwich without your help. It may not be as neatly packaged as the one you’d whip up, but he’ll get better with practice. You can also expect him to put his dishes in the dishwasher and the ingredients back in the fridge.

Let Them Talk

When you stay on the sidelines and let your child speak to referees or coaches about a questionable call during a sporting event, you help her build confidence through her interactions with authority figures. If you’re having a conversation with others who ask your child a question, letting her speak for herself helps her practice taking a stance regarding what’s important to her.