Educating Young Children to Live Life with Self-Confidence: Why and How

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It all begins at a young age. Values such as kindness, respect, generosity, honesty, etc. are learned at a young age and eventually manifest in those who have learned them as they grow older. Yet, a number of parents fail or forget to teach their children one very important thing – self-confidence. Many people mistake confidence for vanity or a common narcissistic trait. What they fail to understand is that being self-confident is one of the many traits people carry with them as they ascend the ladder of success. Without the ability to be self-confident, past and present celebrities and social and political figures would not have been able achieve what they have achieved today. Self-confidence provokes people to step forth to believe in themselves and therefore encourage others to do the same.

In the micro or magnified level, self-confidence allows people to combat the great number of downfalls in life such as insecurity, low self-esteem, and even depression. These are some of the many reasons behind young children, especially young girls, grow up thinking of themselves under a dim light, unable to grasp onto the fact that they are able to achieve so many things in life regardless of their shape and size.

It is unfortunate that many young children are unable to receive proper education regarding the importance of being self-confident. Although those who were not taught to grow up with self-confidence sometimes eventually learn the trait, it is undeniably more beneficial and long-term to be taught to be self-confident when young. Young boys and girls who were taught to be self-confident are shown to grow up with more self-love and care for themselves, regardless if they were either chubby or slim.

It is true that many young children, especially those who are plus-size, have a more difficult time accepting their bodies. They see themselves in a rather bad light as society has made them believe that their bodies aren’t valid or do not comply with the norm. This results to them growing up believing that they are worthless and could eventually lead to them feeling insecure, having low-esteem, and could even lead to depression. This could apply to any child; whether they’re too tall or too short, too chubby or too thin, too light-skinned or too dark, or too much of anything that society deems abnormal. As changing the way society views the world or people in general is a very difficult thing to do, the best thing to change is the mindset of young children. Raising them to believe that they are amazing just the way they are can already help change the way majority of people across the globe think. Having young children grow up with self-confidence yields an endless amount of benefits. Here are a few ways to teach young children to grow up with the trait:

1. Reassure them of their beauty and uniqueness

Children do not want to grow up thinking that they aren’t beautiful or unique in some sort of way. Parents and guardians should reassure them on a regular basis of their qualities, talents, and sometimes even looks. They need to grow up knowing that they are special in every way and that no other child is just like them. This should be done especially when they are down or picked on by other children. Talks like these can easily boost their mood and help encourage them to come to realize what they have been told.

2. Never compare

If they have siblings, do not ever compare them to the other/s. They will only grow up to believe they are less important or less special. No child should grow up watching their parents praise their other siblings, they should all shine together. On top of this, also do not compare your children to other children. They will grow up feeling the same way if they were compared to their sibling/s.

3. Never point out their flaws in a derogatory manner

When pointing out certain flaws that could include unusual eating habits, too much or too little physical and academic activity or time with friends, sit down with them and explain to them the downsides of their behavior or habits in a good tone, and refrain from scolding (unless needed or if their behavior/habits are done repeatedly). Children could result to doing more of those flaws in anger rather than learn from them.

4. Encourage them to be less shy

As much as it has been debated, shy children tend to grow up refraining from engaging in beneficial social events as compared to confident young girls. These social events include curricular and extra-curricular activities. They should not grow up to become those men and women whose voices are unheard and whose words are left unsaid. Encouraging them to be less shy will motivate them to speak up for what they believe in wrong and voice out what they believe is right.

5. Teach them how to stand up to bullies

Many of adults today carry the painful words of their bullies on their shoulders. They allow themselves to be reminded of the bad aspects of their childhood when they were bullied or teased by mean children because of the way the looked or because of the way they were. When a young child is bullied, they often keep it to themselves and do not tell their parents. If their parents are open to sensitive conversation, children will be able to open up about their experience with bullies and how they feel about them. Parents should go back to Number 1 of this list and remind them of their beauty and uniqueness, therefore encourage them to fight back through verbal communication and prove to their bullies that their words can’t hurt them because they know they are valid. Raise a child to stand up for themselves and know their worth. This way, the words of bullies will be the only thing invalid when they pick on young children.

There truly are limitless advantages when you are taught to grow up with self-confidence. It improves the quality of life even at a young age and allows you to achieve so much more than if you were not taught to grow up with the trait. Learning this at a young age helps you live life better in school and work in the future, or in whatever situation or place you may be in. Growing up with self-confidence is usually not a priority to most parents, make it one of yours.

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Kyla Larrauri

Kyla Larrauri is a university student from the Philippines that enjoys promoting body positivity and self-acceptance. She enjoys writing, graphic design, musical instruments, art, etc. A plus-size woman herself, Kyla helps other plus-size or curvy women celebrate their figure and embrace their bodies.