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4 Signs Your Child Is Struggling With Confidence
(& How To Help Build It)


Young girl in classroom writing.

Many students struggle with feeling confident in their abilities. New subject material and regular testing can make it challenging for students to really feel self-assured.

Everyone doubts their own abilities from time to time. However, extended periods of low self-confidence can hinder a student’s ability to succeed in school.

What makes identifying students with low levels of confidence difficult is that they often won’t come forward to admit they are feeling this way. Many students keep these feelings to themselves and try to work them out on their own. Fortunately, there are some stand-out signs parents can watch for and many ways they can help get their child’s confidence back up!

Keep reading to learn about the 4 major signs that indicate that your child is losing confidence as well as the strategies for bolstering confidence in students.

Telltale Signs Your Child Is Struggling With Confidence

1. Not Setting Goals For The Future

If your child seems uninterested or indifferent when asked about school plans, it may mean he or she has lost confidence in future success. Your child may show little motivation to achieve high grades and may not seem excited about class material.

How to Help

Sit down with your child and discuss his or her progress. Ensure your child knows he or she is fully capable of achieving great things and has what it takes to excel in school—he or she just has to set goals and work hard.

Work with your child to create attainable goals. As your child starts meeting these goals, he or she will be more inclined to make more goals and see his or her potential. Planning for the future and having a plan to get there will allow your child to be much more confident in class.

2. Complaining About The “Smart Kids”

If you notice your child seems envious of other kids in his or her class and speaks about how easy they have it, his or her confidence may be down. When students are feeling insecure, they often turn to self-comparison and feel jealous of those they think are doing better.

If you notice your child referring to other kids as the “smart kids,” it means your child doesn’t include him or herself among them. This feeling is understandable, but completely untrue—your child just needs the confidence to see that!

How to Help

Every student is different—there is little value in comparison as every student is on his or her own learning journey. The time your child is spending comparing him or herself to others is time that can be used to work on self-confidence! Go through all the material your child was learning years ago and compare it to the material he or she is learning now. This will show your child how far he or she has come. This will also encourage feelings of pride for taking on such advanced material and ultimately help boost confidence at school.

3. Getting Defensive or Acting Out

Next time you ask your child about school, take note of the reaction. If your child responds with aggression or defensiveness, he or she may be feeling insecure about school abilities and is lashing out as a result. A common example of a student lashing out is withholding grades and getting upset if you ask to see them. Another example is if your child asks you to leave him or her alone when you inquire about school.

How to Help

Have a serious discussion with your child about his or her actions and let your child know that there is no shame in asking for help. Make sure your child knows that he or she isn’t alone and that steps can be taken to improve his or her confidence in school. Once your child is open to receiving help and able to create an action plan, he or she will start to become more confident in his or her abilities.

4. Constantly Needing Approval

Students who lack confidence in their own abilities often turn to others to feel validated. They need others to constantly tell them that they are capable and place a lot of importance in others’ perception of them. If your child keeps asking you “do you think I’m smart?” or “I don’t know if I can do this assignment; do you think I can?” it means your child is hoping that you can give reassurance.

How to Help

Help your child break down large tasks into smaller ones so projects don’t seem so overwhelming. Completing small tasks can help build confidence: once children are able to start creating project plans themselves, they should be able to tackle the workload with more confidence.

Extra-curricular activities are another great way to build confidence in students. Sports teams, art classes, school plays, and other activities grow students’ confidence tremendously; this confidence extends into every facet of life—including school. Ask your child what he or she is interested in and enrol them in a class!

More Resources For Building Confidence In Students

HELP YOUR CHILD DEVELOP CONFIDENCE

HOW TO OVERCOME TEST ANXIETY (ACCORDING TO STUDENTS)

HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD DEAL WITH SCHOOL STRESS

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