Teach Your Kid Confidence -- from Birth

Confidence Busters

As a parent, you want your child to develop the confidence necessary to succeed academically, stand up to peer pressure, and feel good in his own skin. To accomplish this, here are some things you should never say or do to your child.

Don't overdo discipline. "The goal of discipline is to help the child learn to act right without you, and to learn from his mistakes," says Borba. Not every offense requires a time-out, and all discipline should include a teachable moment where you show your child what he should have done differently.

Don't engage in self-criticism. Every time your child hears you say "I'm too fat" or "I was never good at math," she questions her own appearance and abilities. When a parent is confident, her children are more likely to be confident themselves.

Don't shield your child from all disappointments. "Disappointments, hurts, failure, and mistakes teach us how to be flexible in the face of life's demands," says Young-Eisendrath.

Don't do everything for your child. Sure, he's going to make a mess the first time he feeds himself oatmeal. Let him. Making mistakes is part of the process of problem solving. Avoiding these pitfalls will leave you more time for important things such as helping your child discover what he's good at.

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