I often speak to parents who are concerned about a lack of self-confidence in their sons. They see their boys’ unwillingness to take initiative, discomfort around others, and general lack of purpose as signs of insecurity. It also manifests itself as lethargy and lack of motivation. But building confidence in boys is critical work.
And building confidence in boys is part of a parent’s job. We long to see our sons step into life with the certainty that they’re up for the challenge. Here are 5 habits that’ll change your son’s self-perception in such a way that he will step up.
1. Sitting up Straight
I know what you’re thinking: “Really? THAT’S what you lead with?” Yes! According to a recent study conducted by Ohio State University, posture impacts how you feel. It makes sense when you consider that the body is integrated with your emotions and thoughts. We tend to think the body is one thing, our emotions are another, and our thoughts are still something else. But they are all connected. Therefore, by positioning your body in a way that conveys confidence, you’re actually sending signals to your brain that you are capable, courageous, and confident.
2. Looking People in the Eye
Making eye contact with others exhibits confidence and communicates that you like them. It also tells them they have your attention. People respond well when they feel liked and listened to. This creates a positive feedback loop. You make eye contact and the person responds positively. This reinforces your sense of confidence.Success breeds confidence.
3. Picking up a Hobby
Success breeds confidence. If your son learns to do something well, even if it isn’t something of great significance, it builds his confidence in his abilities. Depending on the hobby, it may also create natural circles of community with others who share that interest, which will further increase his confidence as he builds friendships.
4. Serving Others
Serving others is great for building confidence in boys. It gives them purpose and shows that, no matter who you are or what your level of giftedness, you have an important contribution to make in improving the world around you. Cultivating a life of service for our sons also helps them to lift their eyes off of themselves and to pay attention to the needs of others.
5. Cleaning His Room
Have you ever taken the time to clean your desk or your car, or heck, to clear your inbox? Isn’t it remarkable how that small act can generate satisfaction and a sense that you have some control over your environment? This is the main reason it’s important for our sons to learn to clean their rooms. It’s not just so you don’t break an ankle tripping over his basketball (though that’s a good reason, too). But as much as he complains about it, he’ll learn that he’s capable of bringing order to his world (at least in some ways).
Again, I don’t want to give the impression that building confidence in boys is simple. There are layers of complexity in every situation. But these simple habits can have an impact on helping our boys grow in confidence regardless of what’s going on around them.
Sound off: What other ideas do you have for building confidence in boys?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Why is it important to clean your room sometimes?”