Promoting Independence and Self-Confidence – attachment perspective

The boy runs freely on the placard in the kindergarten.

Developing self-confidence and promoting independence is essential at any age but even more so in a child’s formative years. A child must have positive feelings about themselves, such as generally believing that they are a good person and are capable of carrying out everyday tasks. Right from birth, through the teenage years and into adulthood, it is the role of the parent to show that they have confidence and belief in their child while also encouraging them to be more independent.

Young children are entirely dependent on their parents to do everything for them. This dependency is known as attachment theory and is the bond that connects two or more people. As the child gets older, they will, initially, become dependent on more people and form more bonds. At first, this will be with family members, but as the child goes to kindergarten, it will be promoted by the teachers and their assistants, just as we do at Kidz Village.

What is self-confidence?

Self-confidence is an overall sense of contentment and being happy with who you are. With it, you believe in yourself, and you are prepared to try new challenges. You will have a sense of belonging, as is the case with attachment theory, and you will have an appreciation of the importance and know that you fit in within the family group. It will result in you feeling wanted, respected and perhaps most importantly, valued. At an early age, children must build this self-confidence with the help of those around them.

Why is self-confidence important?

Self-confidence will help encourage a child to try new things which, in turn, helps to develop greater independence. It also helps a child to develop better coping strategies when things do go wrong and find ways to make changes and good choices. When they believe that they really can do or achieve something, it will help to build their confidence further, which will make them happier and more fulfilled. In essence, confidence builds confidence.

How can you help build self-confidence in a child?

Babies, toddlers and young children will develop their early confidence by knowing what they can do as their parent will have confidence in them and encourage them. Showing a child that you believe in them is an essential part of building self-confidence. There are several ways that a parent can help develop a child’s confidence develop such as: (omit one)

  • Making them feel loved and cherished
  • Spending time with them when they are the focus of attention and doing things that they want to do
  • Offer smiles and encouragement when they do something right and do something for themselves
  • When appropriate, the parent should demonstrate love by giving hugs and kisses for no reason, just so that they feel loved and reassured and know that this remains
  • Where possible, and it poses no danger, let children do things for themselves and encourage them to try again when they fail. Try to demonstrate that learning any new skill takes practice
  • Encourage your child to learn and name their feelings so they can express them when they are sad or angry
  • Try to let children learn things for themselves rather than giving them all the answers
  • Allow a child to make choices. It will be simple things at first such as choosing a T-shirt but will expand as they get older
  • Try to encourage your child to trust another person who will “be there” for them such as a grandparent as this will help them to appreciate that their feelings are important to others
  • Always protect children from your problems. If you have relationship issues or work problems, these are adult problems that a child shouldn’t have to deal with
  • Never let your child see you arguing or fighting
  • Never belittle them in front of others or compare them to other children
  • Always try to keep praise balanced, too much praise can be taken for granted which will lessen its effect

What is independence?

Independence is the ability to do things on your own and children from a young age will strive to be more independent. They will try to hold their bottle, feed themselves and explore new places and, where possible, parents should encourage this. Naturally, this needs to be in a safe environment, and indeed, one of the primary roles of being a parent is bringing up children who are independent, capable and motivated to do things for themselves.

As the child gets older, the desire to become more independent will inevitably grow. However, a good parent will also make a child aware that it is good to draw upon the support and help of others in appropriate situations.

Why is independence important?

Independence and self-confidence are closely linked. An independent child is usually a child that has higher levels of self-esteem and self-worth. The more independent a child becomes, the more they will achieve, so encouraging a child to more independent and more self-motivated is crucial. Independence is essential in later life and will play a massive role in what your child achieves in school, in relationships and their future careers. It leads to a sense of accomplishment which will improve how they view themselves.

How do you teach children to become independent?

It is the role of adults and in particular, parents to encourage their children to be more independent. As parents, we can be anxious about giving our child too much freedom and being overprotective. While this is natural, it is not benefitting your child’s development. Here are some things that you need to do to teach your child to be more independent:

  • Don’t become the barrier to your child’s independence. Do you do things on your child’s behalf such a tidying their toys or cleaning their room? It can be an easy solution, but it does little to build independence so encourage them to do more on for themselves
  • Understand what children should be doing for themselves at different ages such as putting on their clothes or taking a shower and allow and encourage them to do this
  • Let your child do things for themselves such as choosing their clothes to wear and making a snack
  • As your child gets older, let them know that your expectations have increased. It will help to make them self-motivated and therefore more independent as they will want to meet your expectations
  • Allow your child to do things on their own but make it easier for them to achieve something in the early stages, gradually removing any assistance that you offer
  • It is important to reassess what your child is capable of and adjust the levels of independence that you afford them accordingly

We hope that you found this article interesting and maybe it answered some questions that you may have had. Here at Kidz Village, we believe in teaching students to be independent and disciplined while building their self-esteem and confidence. Our acclaimed International School in Bangkok strives to provide the ideal environment to promote learning. For more information, please call us on +66 2888 3337 and we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.