Imagine a Black child who is told they are “too Black” or “not Black enough.” Imagine that same Black child being told or made to feel they are not good enough to be an athlete, musician, scholar or artist. These messages can crush the self-confidence of any person. In this blog post we will discuss how to build self confidence in children and why it is so important for success throughout life.
It may be surprising to some of you, but lacking confidence in childhood can lead to a lack of confidence in adulthood. The key is to build confidence as soon as possible, start building Black children up while they are young so they can carry confidence for a lifetime. This doesn’t mean that we are consistently praising our kids, although praise isn’t necessarily a bad thing but we must be realistic with our kids.
- Provide Encouragement: It is important for parents, teachers and other adults in a child’s life to provide encouragement when the child succeeds as well as constructive criticism when our children are performing less than satisfactory.
2. Tell them they are doing great: Black children need to know when they are doing well and that their efforts matter. We cannot allow our Black children in the United States, or anywhere for that matter, to grow up without a sense of self-worth. Just imagine what kind of negative effects this could have on society as a whole.
3. Inform them they are their own biggest competition: Encourage them to grow and to do better that they did yesterday. Rather this is at school, athletics, controlling emotions, doing house chores, etc. It doesn’t matter the setting, they must know that their biggest competitor is the reflection that stares back at them in the mirror.
- Black children need to know that they are capable of anything. That their dreams are valid, and that if they put in the time and effort, success will come with it. They should see themselves as an equal rather than a second class citizen or someone who is less important because of what skin color he/she has been born into this world.
4. Teach about powerful Black leaders: Black children should learn the history of powerful Black leaders, inventors, and scholars. Our children need to see people who look like them doing big things that involve using their brains and/or voices.
5. Tell them they are beautiful often: Black children should also be taught to see themselves as beautiful, perfect creations who deserve the same opportunities and love that any other human being is deserving of. They must feel loved unconditionally by their parents or guardians so they can form healthy self esteem in order for them to grow up with confidence.
6. Form a Village: Forming a supportive village around your child is a great way to help them push forward in life. This will let them know that they have people rooting on them to do well. This helps to push them forward when they know they have people who not only believe in them but will also be there to tell them when they need to do better. Our kids will understand that there is a consequence to every action and they will think twice, maybe three times before making their moves.
7.Get them involved: Extracurricular activities can also help to build confidence in Black children . They not only help to build self esteem but also teach them how to persist and to work in community setting. We aren’t just talking sports, we are talking taking them to protest, artist and political groups, music classes, the list goes on.
8. Let them be themselves: Freedom of expression, allow Black children to be who they are, not just who you have imagined they would be and not the idea of what society has told you or them they should be. Truly sit back and allow them to grow into their true self without trying to change their path (unless it’s harmful to them). Let them gravitate to the things they enjoy and let them pull away from the things they do not. This may not be easy for some, but remember, you are here to help them develop their true selves.
9. Know their circle of friends: Another way Black children can grow their confidence is by being surrounded with a group of friends where they belong. If you are around people that inspire, encourage and love on you then it will rub off on your personality too! Make sure you know who their friends are and what they stand for.
10. Communicate with them: Make sure you are giving your child the gift of communication. Many times we feel we are here to be authorities and while that is part of our duties. We must also know that we are raising future adults that deserve explanations. Take the time to explain what you want them to do and why it is important that they are doing this. If we can show our kids how much their behavior impacts others and themselves we can raise a world of more confident and more conscious Black children.
We hope that this has helped you to understand the importance of building your Black child’s self-confidence. While it can be difficult, we want you to know there are many simple ways for you to do so and give them a foundation for success in life.
Moms of Color