Building Your Kids’ Confidence: How and When to Start?

Building Your Kids’ Confidence: How and When to Start?

By Nohad

Expert Advice|Little Kid|Parenting|Teens

By Nohad Mouawad


Raising kids today is complicated stuff. You want to give them the best of everything, and, at the same time, make sure that they’re prepared for adulthood and to face the world one day on their own. For previous generations, this meant disciplining your kids, keeping them fed, clothed, and presentable and making sure that they do well at school. This generation of parents, though, is much more aware of our kids’ emotional needs, and our role in helping them grow as people and not just doing well at school. These days, there is a lot of talk about building kids’ confidence and raising them to be confident and self-assured. But what does that actually mean, and how can we do it?

At QiDZ, we spoke to Jasmine Navarro, an award-winning life coach, specialised in coaching teens through education. She runs workshops to help parents and their teens build the confidence they need as they navigate adolescence and growing up.

Can you tell me a bit about your experience working with school age kids and teenagers and their parents?

When I came to Dubai, I wanted to change careers from teaching, so I did a coaching course for myself and eventually trained to be a life coach. I started coaching adults, but I realized that when I was a teen, if I had had those skills and resources, I would have dealt with the grief I went through (from losing my father) so much differently. I wanted to develop a workshop for teenagers, with simple tools and techniques, and I realized I wanted to help parents too.

When I started giving workshops to teens, I started to notice that when they became more confident, they had so much to say, they found their voice and they wanted to help others.

How would you define being confident or a confident kid?

There’s surface confidence and core confidence. One is based on external things, like you’ve had your hair done and you feel great, or you’ve passed an exam, but those can be taken away. Core confidence can’t be taken away from us and it’s related to certainty. How can teens have that if their lives are so uncertain? They can focus on what they can control. If you want to get good grades, focus on what you can control: saying “I’m going to do my best” vs. thinking “I’m going to score 100% on my exam.” There’s always something you can feel certain about, and that certainty will increase your confidence.

Does a kid’s confidence mainly come from their parents and home or is it more from peers and the school environment?

It definitely comes from family. Everything starts at home. It’s where you spend the most time and where teens model and copy what their parents do.

When I work with parents, they think I’m going to tell them what to do with their teens, but I actually start with the parents themselves, because you can’t help your kid before you’ve helped yourself.

What can parents do to help build a kid’s confidence? Is it ok to start as late as adolescence?

Any time is a good time to start. It’s never too late. I would say, first of all, you want to have that safe space with your child.

If they don’t trust you, they won’t open up. Do not judge or say that they will be criticized. Actively listen, don’t jump in and try to solve the problem or their situation. Listen with an open mind. Articulate their thoughts and feelings back to them, and they will probably figure it out themselves just by sharing and talking about it.

Another key element to building your child or teen’s confidence is to love them and accept them for who they are, not for who you want them to be. Don’t compare them to their brothers, sisters or other family members or friends. Ask them questions about how they see things, to help them figure out solutions to their issues.

What if my kid or teen doesn’t want to talk to me at all? Or they spend all their time in their room and shut me out, what then?

Take it step by step. Start by respecting your pre-teen or teen and asking them questions, instead of telling them what to do and giving them orders. Also, when you express your feelings, are human with them, and show them that you’re not perfect, then they will feel more ready to talk to you and admit how they feel.

If you’ve built a strong relationship and trust and understanding, then you can talk to them about it and even ask them what they think. Give them a voice. If there’s no communication and you just tell them don’t do this and don’t do that, it won’t work. They won’t listen.

Are there any techniques or tools that you use as a coach for building their confidence?

One of my favorite techniques is to encourage positive self-talk through positive affirmations. Have your kid write their own affirmation on the mirror. This will help them change the negative way that they used to talk to themselves into something positive. I used this technique with one of the teens I worked with. She couldn’t even raise her hand in class, and, because she couldn’t get the help she needed, she was getting bad grades. After working with her to change her thinking to positive thinking, her confidence grew so much, that, unbelievably, she eventually organized a prom for 80 students.

What do you think about the impact of social media on teen boys and girls’ confidence? Would you advise limiting social media use in teens and kids?

I think so, because it does get out of control, but at the same time, they can’t survive without social media. Instead, we need to educate them about how to use it, and we need to use social media in the way we’re teaching them as well. Like, we shouldn’t use our phones at the dinner table, if we don’t want them to.

If your teens have a social media account, or follow social media, ask them about it. Say: what do you think about what this influencer did, is it right? How do you feel about this? If they’re able to communicate with you, they’re less likely to talk to strangers online or suffer online bullying in silence, without coming to you for help. If they’re afraid of being punished for using social media, they won’t talk to you at all.


What else should we work on at home with our kids to make them more confident?

We all need to work on our emotional awareness. What happens to a lot of teens and adults is that when they feel certain emotions, they think there’s something wrong with them just for feeling, and then they avoid social contact, isolate and spiral into negativity and depression.

I think emotional wellbeing is the biggest link for core confidence. If you are carrying something painful from your childhood, and you don’t process your emotions, that’s going to dictate your life and decisions.

If you are aware that your feelings are completely normal, and you just acknowledge your emotions, name and identify them, then these emotions become neutral, not positive or negative. Once we and our kids have learned to name our emotions, then we can teach ourselves and them what to do when we feel certain emotions. If we are feeling angry, then we can set a boundary, for example. When we are feeling anxious, we can do breathing techniques, etc. In that way our emotions become a part of our life that we accept and learn to cope with.

For more information about building confidence and to contact Jasmine Navarro visit withnava.com


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