- Every parent dreams of a confident child who can bravely navigate through life.
- While this is meant for the better, children can become overly confident and borderline selfish.
- Here are the signs to watch out for, what to do to break the cycle and teach your child healthy self-confidence.
Boosting your child’s confidence is the golden rule of modern parenting – and rightly so, they do better in school, have realistic expectations, are generally optimistic and enjoy life more than children with low self-esteem.
They can handle conflict more easily, deal with disappointments, make friends and resist negative peer pressure.
But has a well-intentioned boost in self-esteem turned into a relentless ego boost? Are we raising overconfident children who are out of sync with the challenges of the real world?
Here we discuss what every parent should know about overconfident children and the changes you need to make to get your kids back on their feet.
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Overconfidence: the signs
Your child thinks they’re pretty good, no problem. They think they are superior, beware, warn the experts.
“In extreme cases, overconfident children show narcissistic tendencies,” says Professor Jean Twenge, author of Generation I.
Studies show that these children have inflated self-esteem, lack humility and empathy, are vain and materialistic, and have an inflated sense of entitlement.
“In the playground, they are more likely to engage in antisocial behaviors such as bullying, being overly aggressive, controlling and dismissive of others,” says child psychologist Catherine Boland. “They have a diminished radar for how they come across and how their self-centeredness affects others.”
Besides being the life of the party, overconfidence can be detrimental to your child’s well-being.
A recent study conducted at the University of Buffalo Graduate School of Education showed a clear link between overconfident students and low reading comprehension – an essential part of learning.
“Overconfident children do not accurately assess their strengths and weaknesses,” said study author Professor Ming Ming Chiu.
For example, overconfident children will choose to read a difficult book, such as Under the spell of the Ringand stop reading after a few pages.
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Conversely, self-confident students are more likely to choose an easier book, such as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. They will finish it, keep reading more books and develop their understanding and learning skills in the process.
Overconfident teens, on the other hand, are more likely to describe themselves as “A” students when in reality they are not and are more likely to drop out of school because they think they are smart enough and aren’t. have to study, says Twenge.
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These teens don’t do well in relationships either.
A recent study conducted at San Diego State University found that overconfident college students with narcissistic tendencies were more likely to break up their close relationships, have more short-lived relationships, lack emotional warmth, play games, and be dishonest and dishonest. predominant.
And according to Boland, they don’t do well in the workplace because they lack essential employee skills, such as being able to delay gratification, tolerate criticism and empathize with others.
Overconfident children set wildly unrealistic goals for themselves, which often amount to nothing more than delusional thinking and can result in great disappointment.
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Breaking the cycle of overconfidence
“Teaching your child to empathize is the cornerstone of reversing overconfidence and raising a grounded and confident child,” says Boland.
It is important for your child to know how to identify and understand the feelings of others and how to tune into someone else’s emotional world.
Children who are comfortable with “It’s not all about me” become adults who experience more successful, integrated relationships in the community, at work, and in their personal lives.
“Start by encouraging your child to see the world through someone else’s eyes,” suggests Boland.
It’s something you can do every day and it’s fun. For example, the next time you’re in line to buy ice cream, ask your kids what the person behind the counter might be seeing. Ask what she or he might feel when people are impatient and rude?
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“Another essential part of breaking the cycle of overconfidence is to stop telling your kids they’re ‘really special,’” advises Twenge.
Kids are self-centered enough as it is. And while you’re at it, avoid non-specific, exaggerated praise. For example, if your child’s grade on a math exam was mediocre, don’t exaggerate and tell him it’s incredible.
Your child will know when they’ve done an average job, and if you keep praising them, they’ll think that mediocrity deserves praise and that “not doing much” deserves a gold star. It creates a distorted sense of entitlement and a child who is out of touch with the rest of the world.
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What is reality-based trust?
“A confident child has a strong sense of self-reliance,” says Boland. “They feel competent and think they have the necessary resources to try something.”
It’s a concept they learn from the cradle. For example, when toddlers take their first steps, they try, fail, try again, fail again, and finally succeed.
Whether learning to read or tying their shoelaces, each time your child experiences competence, their confidence grows and they develop a healthy “can-do” attitude based on a positive experience.
Your child develops confidence not because you tell her she is special, but because she feels competent about her abilities.
BUILD A HEALTHY CONFIDENCE
The do’s and don’ts
SET BORDERS AND BORDERS FOR YOUR CHILDREN
Many parents today, feeling guilty about working long hours, a contentious divorce, and/or bitter custody battles, give in to their child’s every whim by way of compensation. But ask yourself if you’d rather be liked or raise a responsible child who doesn’t expect everything to be handed to her.
DON’T FIGHT YOUR CHILD’S BATTLES
“Allow your child to have some failure experiences and focus on helping your child develop coping skills,” suggests Boland.
For example, if your child failed an assignment, avoid belittling the teacher with something like, “Your teacher is hopeless. I’ll talk to the school about it and make sure your project gets noticed.”
Instead, teach your child a valuable life skill by encouraging them to use failures and feedback as an opportunity to learn.
Ask your child, “What were your teacher’s comments? Do you think your teacher’s feedback is valid? Are the comments something you can use for your next assignment?”
Your child develops a healthy self-confidence based on his ability to accept feedback without taking it personally, and to solve problems and deal with challenging situations.
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HANDLING WITH AN OVERCONFIDENT ATTITUDE
Help your child deal with inflated self-esteem by listening to statements that indicate your child feels superior, lacks empathy, or feels entitled.
They are often vague, wildly unrealistic goals, such as, “I’m so incredible.” I’m going to get rich. Known. A rock star.” Don’t let them go unchallenged. Try: “Being a rich and famous rock star requires a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and discipline. Are you cut out for that? Do you have a plan? ”
Make sure your child is a silent achiever whose actions speak louder than his/her words.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO USE PEER EVALUATION
Your child can use his classmates as a yardstick to evaluate his strengths and weaknesses.
Encourage your child to ask simple questions such as, “Do I understand the book as well as my classmates?” can help him assess himself and it allows him to set realistic and achievable goals to start a positive cycle of high motivation, healthy self-confidence and achievement.
PRAISE YOUR CHILD, BUT MAKE IT SPECIFIC AND FAIR
Focus on rewarding the process rather than the end result. For example, say, “You didn’t get 10 out of 10 on your assignment, but I noticed how much effort you put into your project. Well done. I’m proud of you.”