Self-Confidence In Children:  A Parental Guide

By Mekhala Joshi

August 26, 2022

I CAN'T...


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Acknowledge the difficulty

Recognising the challenges a child faces while completing the task can help break them out of their “I can't” mindset. It lessens the child's fear of failure and motivates them to try the given task again.

'Yet' is a powerful word

Parents should instil in their children the importance of 'yet' to develop a feeling of optimism and possibility. Statements like “I can't do it” with the word 'yet' in the end will inspire them to prepare for and participate in the activity again after some time.

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Share your experiences

Children idolise their parents. So when children hear stories of how their parents have overcome similar “I can't” moments, it can be a massive inspiration. Parents can share their experiences from childhood as examples.

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Ask what they need

Parents must provide children with the skills and tools they need to go from “I can't” to “I can.” Asking children what they need helps them to complete tasks accurately.

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Focus on effort

Parental guidance is critical in helping kids focus on the process rather than the outcome. The child will be able to move past the barriers of 'can' and 'cannot.'

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Re-evaluate the task

It might be helpful for the child if parents reassess the task for its age-appropriateness and difficulty level to confirm that it can be completed. This will ensure the child has  fewer incidents of “I can't” and more opportunities to build an “I can” mindset.

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Make it silly

Making it silly and removing the pressure of performance are two additional strategies for helping the child get past the “I can't do it” stage. Parents of a child who says “I can't draw” can suggest drawing with them by saying, “Let's see who draws worst.” It will make everything seem silly and fun to explore.

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Offer a break

Parents can give their child a brief break if they keep repeating, “I cannot do this particular task,” as forcing them won't work. After a few weeks or months, they can ask the child to complete the said task again. Meanwhile, parents can try to explore the reason behind the child's plea.

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