Top 9 Techniques on How to Instill confidence in your child who is on the Autism Spectrum
One of the things I run across with my older clients (7 and up) is at some point they realize they are different than their classmates, and on some occasions, they either believe they can’t do it “because they have autism” or because they are dumb. Which you and I know, is not true. I like to remind them that everyone has strengths and weakness and we all can work to get better at them and the Autism is not an excuse. I like to encourage a growth mindset which basically says “I like the challenge, it means growth, failure is a learning opportunity, and I can always get better if I practice/work hard at it”
How do you instill a growth mindset in your children?
Let them fail, fail and fail again.
This teaches children perseverance, creates a good work ethic and builds hope to overcome struggles. Encourage them along the way, and point out the things that they did well and help them discover what they could do better.
Let them make mistakes
Help your kids develop a plan but let them carry it out, even if it isn’t perfect. Then look back at it, have the kids evaluate what they learned from it and make a new one.
Allow them learning experiences
Let the natural consequences of their actions play out , let them know it is okay to fail; it is okay not to be perfect. Also remind them of how their actions affect other people, “You choose to move slowly and missed the bus, so now I will be late to work because I have to drop you off at school”
Rather than giving children the answers allow them to trouble shoot when something doesn’t work out. Help them come up with a plan and let them carry it out and let them learn from what happened. Help them logically look at the situation.
- How did you feel about….
- What went well….
- What didn’t go well……
- What could you improve on……
- What did you do wrong……
- Another key thing to emphasize is the process or the journey and not just the end product.
Praise the accomplishment not their abilities
When you praise their abilities is saying to your child “you were born with these traits and we only like you because of those traits.” We are also telling them that “you can’t do anything about the things we are not good.”
When your praise their accomplishments by saying things like “I like how hard you practiced your spelling words this week so you could get a 100 %.” We are teaching them hard work pays off, determination, and that practice makes progress.
Be a role model of self-confidence
Your kids have eyes in the back of their heads too! I mean if you want your kids to have self-confidence you have to model it. Watch what you say to other adults because the kids are listening even if it doesn’t look like it. They hear you when you say “this is impossible, I am never going to understand why…… or my genetics are just like that”. Talk about your struggle, what you working on and celebrate when you accomplish something with your children. In your eyes you are super mom or dad you can just do everything, so let them know how long you had to practice before you could type at lightning speed, or before you got a good three point line shot.
Set them up for success
Give your children chores, make sure they are age appropriate (insert link), which allows them to grow a sense of responsibility. We can help instill this feeling of responsibility by saying things like “ I really like the way you …………….. so what is the plan for…………………..” or “ I would really like to take you to the park to see your friends but you have chores to do”
Front end loads them, give them the tools and skills they need to be successful. ie before starting base ball practice throwing, catching and hitting months before joining the team. Set realistic expectations; break things down into manageable parts, and remember they are still learning.
Giving children a confidence boost always helps too. We can do this by picking one of their biggest goals and creating opportunities for that to happen. For example, if your child wants money to buy some cool runners then have them do chores to raise the money they need.
Don‘t let them quit
Encourage perseverance and when they get really frustrated hint at a solution but don’t give it to them. Praise them when they do well, they need to hear it more than what they are doing wrong.
Give them choices whenever possible
It helps children develop a sense of identity, and self-worth, confidence, character, and independence. I give the children I work with choices all the time, usuallly they are all things on my agenda to be done but I let them choose what order we do them in, or what game it is we are going to play with a friend.
Help them to become confident speakers
Give them your undivided attention when they are speaking to you. Ask meaningful questions, and repeat back when you are not sure. Speak to them like you would another adult, they hear the change in tone or the change of language.
Some good ways to encourage confident speaking and language development are to ask about your surroundings, play games like eye spy, what am I? and guess who?.