Every child is unique. Many children are also very self-conscious and unsure of themselves. This can stifle individuality before it even has a chance to develop.
There is a lot that parents and teachers can do to encourage a child to be comfortable and aware of their individuality.
Your child has many special qualities. Are you sure you’re aware of all of them?
- Ask for their opinion and use it. Kids become more confident when they know their opinion matters. Ask your child if the family should have pizza or hamburgers for dinner. Or if you should go to Colorado or Florida for vacation. Or if you should plant daisies or tulips in the flower beds.
- When they see that their opinion matters, their willingness to express their individuality grows.
- Be highly supportive of their interests. Whether it’s dancing, drawing, or basketball, show them that those activities matter because they’re important to your child. Once again, you’re teaching them that their opinion is important.
- Help your child to be great at what interests them. This might mean helping them to join a team, taking a class, join a club, or get a tutor or coach. They’ll love you for it, and love themselves more, too.
- Make a list of your child’s strengths and preferences. Find ways to help your child leverage those things. Combining your child’s strengths and preferences is a great way to ensure success, build confidence, and foster individuality.
- Accept your child for what they are. Give up whatever vision you might have of the perfect child. You’re not programming a robot. You’re raising a unique human being. Encourage their uniqueness and leave your own preferences at the door. You can change yourself all you like if you want a project.
- Give a lot of freedom when allowing your child to select clothes. Clothing selection is a harmless way for your child to express himself. Meet the school’s dress code, but other than that, get out of the way. If your child likes to wear mismatched socks or colors, great.
- Encourage your child to be assertive. An assertive child is much more likely to express their individuality freely. Help your child to be more assertive and share their opinions and preferences openly. Encourage your child to speak up and give their opinion. Teach your child not to allow themselves to be mistreated.
- Every child should respect themselves and appreciate their own value. You can help make it so.
- Avoid making comparisons. One way to damage your child’s individuality is to make comparisons between your child and others. Comparisons don’t bring about positive results. What one child is or isn’t doing has nothing to do with your child. Comparisons are for buying cars or a new lawnmower.
- Show your own individuality, too. Your child knows if you’re holding back. They’re always watching you. Be brave and show the world who you really are. Your child is likely to follow your example. It’s an opportunity for you to both grow together.
Everyone struggles to feel comfortable enough to be 100% authentic, including adults. The best time to begin creating this comfort is in childhood.
Help your child to show their unique nature to the world. Without a parent’s help, most children fail to develop the courage and comfort to be themselves. There’s much you can do to help your child develop fully.