Strategies to Increase Self-Confidence

  • Situation

    As a parent I would like to know some ideas or tips to help boost my children’s self esteem. It seems that they both struggle with not having much self confidence in what they are doing, mostly in school. They are very bright but doubt themselves in most things they do. Does anyone have any helpful ideas or tips that I can try? Thanks!

  • Summary

    What we believe and feel about ourselves develops early in life as we are presented with numerous messages from family, friends, media and culture. Those experiences begin to shape the way we view ourselves and the world around us. Strategies that may help to improve self-confidence may include:

    1. Be aware of personal strengths. It is a known fact that we all have strengths and weaknesses, but for some reason we tend to focus on areas that we struggle with and forget to develop and embrace our strengths.
    2. Talk with your child’s teacher to determine strengths.   The teacher can help identify and consequently translate strengths into activities that can build self-esteem and confidence.
    3. Model people with confidence. We learn much of what we do from modeling.  The people we associate with have a major impact on the person we become. One way to feel more confident is to learn how a confident person thinks, behaves and interacts with others.
    4. Work as a family.  Working together on community volunteer events builds confidence by accomplishing goals.  Working together with family support can make a task more doable and less daunting.
    5. Achievement and accomplishments. A factor of healthy self-esteem is trusting that we are able to achieve a given task.  Focus on accomplishments not appearance.
    6. Use positive self-talk and avoid negative self-talk. Learn how to focus the brain on encouraging  positive ideas, images and beliefs about ourselves during self-talk.
    7. Learn to be optimistic. Having an optimistic outlook provides the key to staying more positive, resilient and confident.
  • Definition

    Exploring and implementing the above strategies may help support a more positive outlook and thus begin to build self-confidence.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 6-10, 11-13, 14-17
    • Planning Effort: Moderate
    • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Pre-requisites

    Plan for 1:1 meeting time to individualize and explore confidence building strategies.

  • Process

      1. Be aware of personal strengths. Through discussion, determine and make a list of his/her strengths and abilities.  Continue the discussion by talking about possible ways to develop and embrace those strengths (i.e. academics, hobbies, organizations, groups, etc.).

      2. Talk with a teacher your child admires or has a close relationship. Teachers who are liked and respected and know their child best, can assist with identifying a child’s strengths and how to best use them in the school environment.

      3. Collaborate to determine concrete translation of these strengths into activities or ways to use the strengths in positive ways in school settings.  Activities in school may include tutoring, developing and running a school store, choosing a charity and organizing fund raising with students.  Starting with the child’s strengths is the key to identifying activities that will build upon their positive sense of self.

      4. Work as a family.  Identify volunteer organizations where your family can work together as volunteers.  These activities can build a sense of accomplishment and may then help your sons branch out into other organizations that may interest them.  In addition, they may then connect with others of their own age and continue to develop interests and positive relationships.

      5. Model people with confidence. Describe the personality traits of family members, friends, school staff, mutually known people and even public figures that may project confidence. Continue by identifying specific personality characteristics that a confident person may possess. Consider taking an acting class to practice modeling these strategies.

      6. Achievement and accomplishment.  By identifying one’s strengths and abilities, it may make achieving a goal or accomplishing a given task more attainable.  Keep in mind to focus on accomplishments rather than appearance.

      7. Use positive self- talk and avoid negative self-talk. Learn to focus on those strengths and abilities during self-talk and be as optimistic, resilient and positive as possible.

  • Documents and Related Resources

    Self-Esteem and Character Building Activities (website)


    Self-Esteem Resources for Boys (website)


    Real Girl – an empowerment program for girls (website resource)


    Socially Curious and Curiously Social: A Social Thinking Guidebook for Bright Teens and Young Adults (book)


    9 Ways we are Screwing up Our Girls (book)



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