In this blog from Solstice Behavioral Health in Shelton, CT, we discuss ways to build self-confidence in your child as the both of you navigate their autism journey together.
What Are Ways I Can Build Self-Confidence In My Child With ASD?
1. Focus On Your Child’s Strengths.
2. Encourage Your Child’s Special Interests.
3. Use Positive Reinforcement.
4. Provide Plenty Of Opportunities For Success.
5. Be A Model Of Healthy Self-Esteem.
Focus On Your Child’s Strengths
What is your child good at? What does your child do well? You should know better than anyone. Make note of these strengths and let them know whenever you can. The more you focus on your child’s strengths over areas of difficulty, the more this improves their self-esteem.
- Verbally acknowledge what they do well. For example, say “I saw that you completed ____________” and let them know they did a great job. The words you speak to your child are impactful and affect how they view themselves.
- Emphasize the positive. A common rule of thumb in parenting is to offer five compliments for every one correction you make.
Encourage Your Child’s Special Interests
Take an interest in your child’s special interests. Your child’s special interests can be strengths to encourage and utilize as you develop their learning and social skills.
- An interest in collecting toy cars, trains, or planes can be used as an opportunity to teach your child how to count
- An interest in a specific animal can be an opportunity to read and learn about the animal and its habitat
- Use a character from a book, TV show, or movie that your child has a special interest in as a good example: “Spider-man believes in being responsible and finishing his homework.”
Use Positive Reinforcement
Everybody responds well to praise. In addition to words of encouragement, there are a number of ways to let your child know you are proud of their achievements.
- Create ways to remind your child of how proud you are throughout the house and show off their accomplishments. Display the drawings your child made on the fridge. Hang their certificates in a frame on the wall. Tell them you want to keep the crafts they’ve made for you on your desk so you can think about them as you work.
Provide Plenty Of Opportunities For Success
The more you learn about your child’s strengths and areas of difficulty, the more you can apply this knowledge.
- You have a lot of power as you choose activities, events, and classes for your child. If you feel a certain setting may be too loud or overwhelming for your child, you have the power to ask about accessibility, accommodations, or other options, or say no altogether. The more your child sees that they can do well in different settings and opportunities, the better they will feel about themselves.
- When you notice your child has a passion or talent for a certain hobby or activity, encourage them and nurture their gifts.
Be A Model Of Healthy Self-Esteem
Being an excellent example of self-confidence can be the best way to teach it to your children. You are important to your child, and they learn a lot simply by watching you.
- Avoid being too critical of yourself or any negative self-talk–the more your child is exposed to these behaviors, the more they will apply these habits to themselves.
- Let your child know that not only is it okay to make mistakes, but you also make mistakes, and mistakes do not change our value as people. While it is important to set goals and work towards them, we’re all only human.
At Solstice Behavioral Health and Consulting, we are proud to offer a number of services for you and your child with autism, such as diagnostic services, Applied Behavior Analysis, and an afterschool program. With more than 20 years of providing support and training for families, Solstice Behavioral Health and Consulting in Shelton, Connecticut strives to become a bedrock for autism awareness and education. Contact our office at 203-900-4720 to see how we can help you and your family move forward together.