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How to help your child be more confident

As parents, Zahir and I have issues with one of the girls where her confidence has been very low. We saw a change in her personality. She became aggressive. Her confidence was low because she wasn’t coping at school. Sometimes she didn’t understand the work the teacher was explaining to her and she was afraid of informing the teacher thereof. She isolated herself at school, she didn’t want to make friends and she didn’t want to play outside but rather stay alone in the classroom. It was heart breaking for us as parents to hear that our child wasn’t doing well.

It’s funny though because when she comes home from school, she would unleash all her anger and boredom and feelings out of her family but mostly Tazkia. We started talking to her and promoted communication and expressing her feelings. The more she spoke about her feelings the more she became herself. It’s still an on-going progress but below are some tips we have tried that I thought you might like to try if you find that your child is in a similar situation.

  1. Promote body acceptance – You can promote body acceptance by focusing on health and not weight. Don’t be a scale watcher. Your kids often mimic what you say and do. So, if you show your child that you are okay in your body. You accept that your body is beautiful and that it doesn’t have to be a certain size and shape to look beautiful. There is no such thing as a perfect body. Your child needs to understand that any shape and size can be beautiful. That working out to be healthy is a more positive outlook.
  2. Let your child play some kind of sport – We’ve decided early on that the girls would play some kind of sport. The girls love swimming, and from an early age started swimming classes. They are fearless when in the water. Teaching them swimming techniques really helps them be more confident in the water. This gave us peace of mind and kept them active. They love swimming. However, when they moved to grade R, water restrictions prevented them from continuing. The girls decided to join gymnastics classes. Tazkia is super into it and loves it, but I’m not so sure that gymnastics is Zia’s strong point. She does it for the sake of doing it but that’s okay, maybe the water restrictions will magically disappear soon and she can go back to swimming classes.
  3. Encourage assertiveness – My kids are very vocal when it comes to expressing their feelings, whether it’s happy and anger or sadness. At the time we thought that Zia was being bullied because of her eczema. She started showing more aggression and moodiness. I think that children act out when they are not able to express their feelings. Some adults are not able to express what they feel now imagine a 6 year old, that is angry and/or sad and not able to say why. Zahir and I always encourage our girls to voice their feelings. We often explain why bullying is bad, but also that the girls should always show that they aren’t scared. It’s hard though because they are only 6 years old. I was thinking of letting them join karate classes. They will be able to defend themselves and learn some much needed discipline techniques. Win-win situation for all.
  4. Let your child help you around the house – The girls have one chore. They must clean their room. Like properly clean their room. We have to involve some threats and bribes but the girls get the job done. This way the girls learn independence and working for what they want instead of expecting things to be given to them. In this day and age children are so entitled. Unfortunately it’s our fault as parents because we feel that we didn’t get everything we wanted growing up so now because we are by the means we give our children everything that they want. We just want what’s best for our children. But the girls need to learn to be independent and confident.
  5. Listen to your child – I know it’s hard because you would rather want to eat or read or take a shower. Essentially by not listening to your child when he or she speaks, you are indirectly telling your child that his or her feelings aren’t important. Ask questions like how was your day? What did you do at school? Did you make any friends? Are you happy at school? By doing so your child will feel like you are interested in what’s happening in his or her life. This line of communication will be vital when your child becomes older.

Let me know if you have experience a similar situation with your child and what you did to help him or her be more confident.

Photo credits: Namreen Sonday

Until next time.




  1. Shukran for this I have 2 boys 18 months apart and they are both a handful. My five year old doesn’t have much confidence in himself as well and has a concentration problem. He often zones out and the teacher often has to tell him to pay attention. He has a wild imagination.
    He doesn’t learn as fast as my 3 year old who knows his colours well and absorbs every bit of information. When we ask a question my 5year old often waits for his brother to answer and then repeats what he said.

    I also find that my 3 year old is a bully and bullies his older brother including the kids at school. I think he is bored and therefore picks fights out of frustration. He craves attention and likes to keep busy. He is even an awesome liar not sure where he gets this from lol.

    He often plays by himself as he is in his own world. I’ve tried karate classes but he cried the entire session that we had to leave as he was disrupting the class.
    How do I make my 5 year old confident when his younger brother is always bulling him and also knows he is smarter than his brother. He starts grade R next year and will be in his own for the first time.

    • Slm, shu this is a tough one but I totally get where you coming from. The one twin is a total over achiever and always wants to be the center of attention. What we normally do is interrupt her is she is speaking over the other and let the other one complete what she was saying. Fighting drives me crazy. I make the bully apologize to the other. We constantly tell them to look out for each other at school and at play grounds etc.

      We’ve considered an occupational therapist. Just to help find a solution . Because we really don’t like seeing our kids unhappy. We haven’t taken her yet though because it’s so expensive. She seems to be doing better. We promote communication to. Allow them to talk about their feelings. Ask them about their day. We show interest in their day. Even if it’s just for a few minutes while we having supper.

      We also try to show more affection because sometimes we dote too much on Yameen and they notice.

      Hope this helps and please do let me know what you have managed to get right with your son.

      Cheers x

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