If you are a father of sons, raising confident boys is your heart’s desire. I have never heard a dad say he wants his son to be shy and afraid of his own shadow. No, we want our boys to be confident and carry themselves with honor and dignity. But how do we do this?
I believe it is through strategic confidence-building moments that will instill resilience, independence, and swagger in our boys. Here are 9 confidence-building moments you can have with your son.
1. Learning a New SkillEvery project around the house is an opportunity to teach your son a new skill.
This past summer, my son and I built a treehouse. The boy who started the project was timid about using a power drill but ended the project no longer needing my help. Every project around the house is an opportunity to teach your son a new skill.
2. Setting a Goal and Achieving the Goal
Goal-setting is a vital part of being a productive adult. Teaching our boys to set and achieve goals is an easy confidence builder. Start small, but let them dream big goals for the future.
3. Delaying Gratification
Once, my son wanted a Death Star LEGO set that costs big money. I told him he had to save his own money for it. Many times, he was tempted to buy a cheaper LEGO set instead, but I wouldn’t let him. He took great pride in his purchase because he didn’t fall into the temptation. He waited it out to get what he really wanted.
4. Giving Him Responsibility
If sons are old enough to help around the house, it’s time to give them roles that have some weight to them. Taking out the trash or making sure the gates are closed at night are important tasks that may have consequences if left undone. If and when our sons fail to accomplish what their roles require, they need to feel the effects—they need to know how dropping the ball affects everyone in the house.
5. Working Hard
My oldest son was failing math in second grade and learned he would have to repeat the grade if he didn’t pull up his math scores. I sat down with him and told him we could plan to settle for repeating the grade or he could work harder than he has ever worked in his life. He chose to work—and he passed. We still talk about that moment in our house as a reminder of what he is capable of.
6. Letting Him Speak the Truth
Ask your son for honest feedback. “Does Dad do something you don’t like?” Letting him speak the truth to you personally helps build his voice and gives him the confidence to speak the truth to others.
7. Encouraging Him to Try Something New
My friend was a football guy and was reluctant to let his son play tennis. After he agreed to let his son try it, they both realized that tennis was his sport. Sometimes, letting sons try something new means we have to get out of the way and learn with them.
8. Talking Positively About Him to Others
One of the most positive things I remember about my dad is how he always bragged to his friends about how strong I was. He would say, “This kid is strong as an ox.” Every time, my chest would puff out a bit.
9. Helping Him Process Failure Appropriately
As dads, we want to rescue our kids from difficult situations. Next time your son fails, remind him (and yourself) of this question: “What can we learn and how can we get better?” What we learn through failure will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
Sound off: What else should dads do to ensure that they’re raising confident boys?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are you better at doing today than you were a year ago?”