4 Ways to Promote Confidence Over Cockiness in Your Child

I grew up a Detroit Lions fan, and my favorite player was Barry Sanders. During his Hall of Fame career, he scored over 100 touchdowns, and what impressed me as much as his speed and skill was the way he celebrated. He just handed the ball to the official. I have been coaching for over 20 years, and one thing I have noticed is that when I have two players who have equal talent, the one who is more confident in himself typically has more success.

The thing you need to watch out for is that he stays humble. The difference between cocky and confident is a fine line. Here are 4 ways to promote confidence over cockiness in your kids.

1. Teach them about having gratitude.

One of the biggest differences between cocky and confident is having gratitude. When your child has a mindset of being grateful for what he has, it can lead to increased confidence. When it’s a talent in something like academics, music, or sports, spend time helping him improve his skill with positive reinforcement. Talents are gifts, and working hard to enhance them will pay off. Cultivate your child’s confidence by reminding him about being grateful for the talent he has.

2. Teach them about controlling their emotions.

This is easier said than done, especially when your child is going through changes in life. If you have kids in junior high, you know what I mean. Teaching them how to control their emotions is huge in their personal development. It seems like everything is a big deal to your kid. Talk to her about having perspective and about how sometimes, you get disappointed. Failing at something builds character and gives your child the opportunity to try again. Cocky kids fly off the handle and tend to make excuses. Confident kids look forward to the opportunity to try again.

A confident kid knows how good he is and lets his actions speak for themselves.

3. Teach them about humility.

Humility is a virtue that seems to hold less importance today. Social media has given people a platform like never before and the constant self-promotion that your child is subjected to can build a sense of arrogance. Teach him about humility at a young age and that actions can speak louder than words. When he scores his next touchdown, encourage him to just hand the ball to the official instead of doing a crazy celebration. Confident kids act like they’ve done it before and expect to do it again. Cocky kids tend to put on a show and make it about themselves. A cocky kid tells you how good he is. A confident kid knows how good he is and lets his actions speak for themselves.

4. Teach them about respect

Teaching your child to respect others when she is young is an important part of building her character. This includes the way she speaks, her body language, and her actions. Encourage her to address adults with a sir or miss and to look them in the eye when she speaks to them. When playing a sport, she should always respect her opponent and the officials. The difference between cocky and confident usually resides in the way kids respond to others. A cocky kid tells you how good she is. A confident kid knows how good she is and lets her actions speak for themselves.

Sound off: What are some other ways you can promote confidence in your child?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Do you know why I’m proud of you?” Then, tell them, but focus on their character qualities instead of their accomplishments.