Teaching (entrepreneurial) kids to be confident

Believing in yourself and your abilities is a cornerstone for a successful life. Entrepreneurship is all about having faith in your own ideas and an entrepreneur’s confident decisions are rooted in early independence.

How to teach:

  • Encourage your kids to have opinions and give them opportunities to make decisions. Even if it’s not what you’d do, let them make choices and learn from experience. When kids are toddlers, you might give them the choice of spinach or broccoli with dinner, or let them choose their outfits. You’re exposing them to what it feels like to make a decision and helping them feel good for being able to do that. When kids are young, limit choices to only a few options. Kids can get overwhelmed if they have too many choices. As they get older, loosen the reins and trust them with bigger decisions. This links to and promotes independence.
  • Stop solving problems for your kids and instead, help them to deconstruct and then resolve them on their own. First, encourage them to identify the real issue, then brainstorm some potential solutions and then finally have them choose an option and go with it.
  • Stop giving ribbons for everything. Yes, I understand that we are trying to instil confidence and a sense of achievement. The problem is that when our kids finally reach that point in their life when they are not rewarded for doing exactly what is expected of them, they might lose the confidence we as a society spent so much time and so many ribbons trying to build. In the end, ribbons are the lazy way of dealing with the issue of losing.
  • We need to understand that for many people motivation is based on a drive to be the best. Take out “the best” from the equation, and motivation is lost. Granted, I understand that a win-lose environment may hurt more people than it helps, but I would argue that when only a few people are allowed to win, we either learn to deal with the disappointment or we strive to get better. If we want to raise well-rounded kids, parents need to instill the latter goal.
  • Give positive and constructive criticism.
  • Teach your kids the difference between confidence and arrogance.