My child’s self-confidence: keys to boosting it

Our confidence in life is strengthened in our younger years. Like grown-ups, children can doubt themselves, fear failure and the judgment of others. Discover our tips to help your children assert themselves and develop their resources and skills from an early age. You’re not born shy or self-conscious, you become it. Boosting my child’s self-confidence can be as simple as applying a few simple principles: Encourage, not compliment. Facing problems, not running away from them. Pass on your passions, not impose them.

You’re not born shy or self-conscious, you become that way.

Encourage, not compliment

Facing problems, not running away from them

Pass on your passions, not impose them

“My child doesn’t trust himself”, “My child doesn’t dare”, “My child doubts himself”.

A child’s self-confidence is largely developed at school and at home within the family circle. It can also develop outside these two major spheres, when a child engages in an activity that opens him or her up to a group other than the school or family.

The child then discovers that he or she possesses certain skills that are not necessarily developed elsewhere. It’s by discovering their potential that they gain self-confidence.

You’re not born shy or self-conscious – you become it!



1- Encourage, not compliment or overrate, to boost my child's self-confidence

What to avoid: over-complimenting, which is nice to hear and flattering, but makes children dependent on other people’s gaze and external validation of their actions.
Examples: “You’re the best!”, “You’re handsome and smart, that will always serve you well in life.”

What’s best to do: positively nourish the child’s self-image with encouragement; by highlighting the child’s know-how, he’ll become aware of the value of effort and gain confidence in his abilities.
Examples: “Well done, you’ve managed to make your pool bag all by yourself!”, “You can be proud of yourself, it wasn’t an easy exercise and you’ve found solutions.”

It’s vital to respect and value your child, to help him or her develop self-esteem and self-respect. However, over-valuing is just as harmful as under-valuing. It weakens us, because it doesn’t allow us to acquire an accurate awareness of our real potential. The future adult will be condemned to constantly measure up to the oversized image his parents have asked him to embody, which is doomed to failure and will generate a feeling of inadequacy. Compliments don’t initiate discussion and can be confining. The child is given a label. He’ll cut himself off from his true motivation to perform an action and think he just has to be the best at everything.

Encouragement is essential!

We encourage more than we compliment. The compliment is often an adjective accompanied by the good deed: “You’re the best, you swam really well! But there’s a difference between being and doing. Ditto when a compliment consists in saying a formula of positive appreciation about a fact or a state: “Your drawing is pretty!”, “You’re a good boy because you finished your plate.”

Encouragement means valuing effort, hard work, progress, intellectual and physical processes, and skills acquired through experience. For example, we might say: “Great! You managed to do the starfish on your back all by yourself!”, “Bravo, you were able to put your head in the water all by yourself from the 1st exercise!”

In school and outside, encouragement can also be given without counting the cost! The more a child feels appreciated and valued, the more they want to move forward. He will become more involved in his activities, develop his autonomy and feel able to take on challenges. Regular encouragement is necessary to make children feel strong and happy. Positive appraisal based on experience leads to autonomy and self-confidence!

2- Face problems, not run away from them

What to avoid: ignoring difficulties, reassuring without listening or discussing; burying one’s head in the sand and not paying attention to inhibitions won’t enable the child to understand, deal with and overcome them.
Examples: “It doesn’t matter, it’ll pass…”, “Whatever happens, you’ll succeed in life!”

The best thing to do: talk about inhibitions and choose levers together, encourage physical activity; moving is not only good for physical health, active children feel better about themselves too.
Examples: “I see you’re not very comfortable with the other kids when we go to the park; what’s bothering you?”, “If you had to choose a sport, which one do you think you’d feel good in?”

He doesn’t dare speak up in class, he finds it hard to approach other children to play… Building a child’s confidence also means helping him by being attentive to signs of inhibition and finding solutions .
The lack of dialogue, which consists in preferring to tell oneself that everything is fine so as not to worry and to preserve oneself psychologically, will not enable the child to overcome its inhibitions. They would have quickly disappeared, however, if they had been addressed in childhood.

Health benefits!

We identify the areas in which our child seems to have difficulties in society. He’s rather shy and has trouble making friends? Extracurricular activities (sporting and cultural) help children to overcome various obstacles, to believe in themselves and thus build their self-confidence.

It’s scientifically proven that sport greatly improves well-being and self-confidence. In addition to all the obvious health benefits, it’s a great way to develop new skills, join a group and make friends.

Combat sports, team sports and individual sports will help you develop control over your body, and therefore feel better in your sneakers!

Other complementary activities such as acting, drawing, singing, music or meditation can be very effective in overcoming the fear of public speaking, letting off steam, expressing yourself, relaxing… The important thing is to enjoy the activity, otherwise the opposite effect can occur, generating stress and a drop in self-confidence.

3- Pass on your passions, not project your dreams

Things to avoid: transferring your frustrations, putting pressure on yourself to achieve personal goals, getting stuck on and projecting your childhood regrets.
Examples: “Where I have failed, he will succeed! “Since you’re not very graceful, you’ll take up dancing, it’s the best thing.”

The best thing to do: talk about your passions to open up your mind, offer to try out different activities and then talk about your feelings and the benefits.
Examples: “I’ve always really liked gymnastics and I’d love to do it at a high level. What about you, are you attracted to any sport? Do you like water? Do you like animals?”

As we’ve known since Freud, parents can’t help projecting their dreams of grandeur or personal disappointments onto their children.

Whether you wanted to be an architect, an opera rat, a writer or a champion equestrian, your child is different and has his or her own aspirations and affinities. Especially since if he doesn’t fulfill your wishes (which is still likely), he’ll be disappointed. And since parents’ words have oracular value, the child effectively imagines that he’s not worth much. These events create inhibitions that can later affect various areas: relationships with others, love, work…

Extracurricular activity!

We pass on our passions in a healthy way to our children, to open their minds and make them think.Your biggest regret is not knowing how to play an instrument, not being able to coordinate, or not knowing how to swim the 4 strokes?

Turn any regrets you may have into an opportunity for discussion! Dancing “like Mom” isn’t her thing after all? Let’s try gymnastics, circus or martial arts, which have equally laudable benefits.

Let’s not forget that the key word is pleasure!

We’ve even produced an eBook about it! The benefits of extracurricular activities and how to choose them


– The role of parent-child relationships in the process of building self-confidence is well established.

– Taking part in extracurricular activities has many benefits, both physical (staying healthy, getting exercise, relieving stress…) and intellectual and emotional (developing creativity, mastering emotions, building self-confidence…). And that goes for all ages!

– Active children have better self-esteem, confidence and body image.

At what age do we start our activities?

– As soon as possible if we can! From a very young age, you can enroll your child in baby swimming, baby gym or children’s yoga classes, which involve parents and help build children’s confidence. Around the age of 4 or 5, children start to develop a sense of sensibility, so you can start asking them for their opinion on what they want to do.

Don’t hesitate to take advantage of the many discovery classes that allow children to get a feel for the activity!

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