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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Chang

Does your child lack confidence?

Updated: May 14, 2021

by Joanne Chang (Founder of Owl Academy)

We live in a very negative world. In Singapore, this is amplified by our so-called "complain culture" which stems from not having a predisposition towards feeling content with what we have and who we are. Things are never good enough. It is no wonder why children these days struggle with confidence issues when they are bombarded with so much negativity. They turn the negative narrative of the world on themselves and grow to become self-critical as a habit.

This self-criticism is something that children must be vigilant to guard against to build healthy self-esteem. I tell my students that they have to be their biggest cheerleaders because they are the only ones who are guaranteed to be with them from cradle to grave. Of course, they must maintain a humble spirit in the process as well. It's a fine balance they need to strike.

What can teachers do?

I highly recommend that teachers employ positive reinforcement (focusing on increasing positive behaviour). This is a far better approach than punishment (focusing on decreasing negative behaviour). Both can be effective methods of behaviour modification but positive reinforcement has longer lasting positive effects and develops self-motivated individuals. It shapes a more positive mindset and builds trust between the teacher and the student. Using punishment may get quicker results but it can build resentment and cause the child to lose confidence.

Throughout my 20-year career in education, I have counselled many students. A very common scenario with deflated students is their defeated statement of "I can't do anything right." Teachers play a key role in encouraging students because childhood is an opportune time to build grit so that our children can grow up to become strong, confident and resilient adults.

What can parents do?

Check out the following guide from PBS for helpful tips.

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