How to Build Your 10-Year-Old's Confidence

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Kids entering the “tween” years on the brink of adolescence often suffer a hit to self-confidence. The causes of faltering self-confidence include major physical, emotional and social changes that often place significant pressures on youngsters, according to Terri Apter, writing on teen self-confidence for a "Teaching the Tweens" conference. If your 10-year-old needs a confidence boost, use specific techniques to restore his perception of himself.

Understanding Tween Angst

  • Before you can really help your youngster, it helps to understand some of the issues that could be hampering his self-esteem and self-confidence. During young childhood, kids usually engage in ongoing exploration to discover what they can do and what things cause challenges. Even when challenges occur, kids often have the ability to roll with it – especially when parents and other family remain positive and supportive. At about age 10, however, kids suddenly realize that life is full of complicated and difficult hurdles. Some kids react to this realization with a marked decline in self-confidence because goals can seem overwhelming.

Resolving Learned Helplessness

  • One coping strategy employed by youngsters involves “learned helplessness,” according to psychologist Robert Brooks, Ph.D., writing for the GreatSchools website. Kids exhibiting this manifestation of low self-confidence may feel like nothing they do will help them succeed. Weighted down with this belief, efforts seem fruitless. A child often begins avoiding situations where she will need to work or perform to meet a goal. Instead of trying to learn a new activity such as roller-blading, the child will instead choose not to participate to avoid failure. If your child is avoiding situations because she thinks she will fail, teach her to look at mistakes differently, counsels Brooks. Instead of letting mistakes define your youngster, help her discover what mistakes she made and brainstorm new approaches that should avoid the mistakes in the future. Make sure that your approach to mistakes shows this problem-solving technique, also.

Nurture Interests

  • Everyone has gifts and interests that spark energy and creativity. Help your youngster find her special talent or niche to build confidence. In the exploration phase, encourage your child to try out for various sports teams and other extracurricular activities. Eventually, she will find something that she loves, and wants to spend time doing. With energy and effort devoted to this interest, it’s likely she will experience success.

Praise Appropriately

  • Resist the urge to become too effusive with praise as you seek to bolster your 10-year-old’s self-confidence, warns speaker and author Silvana Clark, writing for Brainy Child. Praise becomes diluted and meaningless if you’re praising everything. Instead, keep your positive feedback appropriate for the situation. Strive to praise effort rather than intelligence and talent, also. You might say, "You worked so hard and studied for this test and look at the grade you got!" By praising effort, you encourage your child to continue trying and improving, according to psychologist Laura Markham, with the Aha! Parenting website.

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