How to boost confidence and self-esteem

Author: Caroline Day

A worry for any parent is seeing their child struggling with confidence and self-esteem and forgetting how wonderful they really are. This Tip is a simple technique that you can use with your child to reinforce all their best qualities and help them feel really good about themselves.


To give your child the best start, it’s really important that they’re certain about two things: They are valuable members of the human race with an important role to play. These come from their inner security, their self-esteem and what they believe about themselves.

Something that can damage their internal image is unguarded statements about them which they overhear and from which they then create an identity they believe is true for them – lazy, bad speller, hopeless at maths, no good at games etc!

Here’s a recent example: I was working with a young girl recently who had overheard another person identify her as ‘the fat one’ – and boy had it stuck! It wasn’t even said to her directly but it’s like her life was in tatters. She now saw herself as fat, believed that being fat stopped people seeing who she really was and was convinced that she no longer had a future. This was dangerous thinking, so I took her mother through a simple technique that made an enormous difference. And you can do this with your child too.


This technique uses the power of an overheard comment to drip-feed meaningful praise that will build your child’s confidence and self-esteem. You can use it at any age.


So, you’re having tea after school or college, or you’re out shopping, and your child is telling you all about something that happened that day. You might listen carefully and then [Noticing Out-Loud] you could say something like: You’ve always been good at knowing just the right thing to say.’

What you’ve just done is praise your child’s ability to think on their feet but it’s like you were talking to yourself and they overheard it. Kerching

Most children will brush off a compliment – especially from a parent – but affirming a behaviour in this way bypasses conscious resistance and goes straight in. That’s because:

  1. you’re not looking for a response from them; and
  2. it has the advantage of being undeniably true because they’ve just told you they did it!

Here’s another one: They tell you how they helped out a friend today by suggesting something else they could try. What could you Notice Out-Loud? How about: “You always have such good ideas”.  Kerching

Suppose they tell you that it had been a bad day and they fell out with someone. What could you Notice Out-Loud? How about “Working out how and why it happened is a very mature thing to do.”  Kerching

Get the idea? They key thing is that this isn’t a ‘conversation’ – it’s a ‘reflection’ that you’re not giving them the opportunity to deny. It all depends on what your child is telling you but if you’re really listening, there are always things you can Notice Out-Loud.


The most important thing is to keep your focus on good things your child does that they probably don’t even realise are quite special. And keep it casual. Here are some pointers to get you started:

  • THINK WHAT WOULD MOST HELP your child to be more of, or better at.
  • PRACTICE LISTENING carefully to what they’re telling you..
  • SEIZE THE MOMENT to say something nice.

More Tips:

  • FOCUS ON BEHAVIOURS: This is to do with things your child does [i.e. being supportive] not things they are [i.e. clever].
  • LESS IS MORE: Don’t over-do it.
  • MEAN EVERY WORD: This has to be genuine or they won’t believe you.

Most important is to keep it simple. You could drop these comments into a lovely chat the two of you have every day and your child will start looking forward to having a conversation with you that makes them feel good about themselves. Kerching

If you are interested in finding an easier way to be a parent, why not contact me now to see how I can help.

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