Simple Ways to Foster Self-Efficacy in Your Child

Self-efficacy is defined as one's belief in one's own ability to perform a task or deal with a situation ( Children with high self-efficacy feel capable, confident, and able. As a parent and a counselor two of our many goals are to help increase both confidence and self-efficacy Below are some simple ways to help promote self-efficacy:

1) Praise. When your child perseveres through difficult obstacles both small and large praise them for their effort not the outcome or their abilities. Praise reinforces your child's behavior, which will help promote resilience and perseverance in future situations.

2) Allow your child to try. In child-centered play therapy one of the golden rules is to be present in the space while the child tries to accomplish a task on their own. Whether your child is trying to open a new box of cereal, or is figuring out how to put together their new LEGO model, rather than immediately jumping in to help, give your child the space to figure it out on their own. If they are having difficulty reflect to them that they are having trouble. Wait until they ask for your help before you step in. Praise their effort no matter the outcome.

3) Teach rather than do. If your child does ask for your help teach them how to complete the task they are requesting help with rather than just completing it for them.

4) Encourage new situations. Encourage your child to step outside of their comfort zone and engage in something new. Acknowledge the fact that they have decided to step outside of their comfort zone and praise them for their effort.

When a child feels a sense of mastery over something new, they are encouraged to continue to try new things throughout their lives. Remember that being a supportive parent is helping your child see that just making the effort is a success. Criticism of their ability will only deter them from trying in the future. Noticing that they were willing to try will promote trying again.