Promote Problem Solving
"Kids are confident when they're able to negotiate getting what they want," says Myrna Shure, PhD, author of Raising a Thinking Child. Her research has found that you can teach even a young child how to solve problems herself. The key is to bite your tongue. If your child comes to you and complains that a kid took her truck at the playground, ask what she thinks would be a good way to get it back. Even if her first idea is to grab the truck, ask her what she thinks might happen if she did. Then ask, "Can you think of other ways to get it back so that doesn't happen?" In one of Dr. Shure's studies of this situation, 4-year-olds came up with surprisingly mature ideas, like telling the truck-grabber, "You'll have more fun if you play with me than if you play by yourself."