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I can confidently tell you that I took up responsibility for my neatness to school right from when I was less than 10 years old. That should be a good thing, right? Only that my white shirts never stayed white and my confidence for the most part, went down the drain. I hated how I looked whenever I took a glance at other students’ uniforms. They could probably afford house helps, washing machines, bleaches and all to be able to stay squeaky clean… You see how something so basic could make me feel? Well, this post is not about clean or unclean uniforms, but about building a positive sense of self in your children which begins from how they feel even in school. Every morning, I see kids who attend both public and private schools with their worn our uniforms, school shoes, bags and unkempt hair going to school and I wonder how they are supposed to feel upbeat in the midst of their peers.
Children with high self-esteem feel confident, competent and joyful and this begins with the way you make them feel at home.

In order for your child to feel confident, make them look the part.

The same way you pay attention to your looks, endeavor to take second glances at your children’s looks too. Most of what they need are not as costly, depending on where you go to get them. That uniform might just need a Do It Yourself (DIY) treatment with a needle and thread. The leather shoes might still be great but are in need of a resole as against buying new pairs, or perhaps what’s needed might be a little polish. Your daughter’s hair might just need a few ribbons to stand out. Go to a low-cost store if you must but ensure that you imbibe a culture that your children follow through with once they’re able to cater for themselves.

Allow them to make choices and be responsible for the outcome of those choices.

As parents and teachers, it’s time to empower our kids. I know that African parents want to make all the choices for their kids. They push on the “what’s”, without giving a “why”. Growing up, we were hardly allowed to ask why, but that era is gone. In this age and time, it’s okay to give a set of options to your kids but allow them the power of choice from an early stage. This way, they grow up becoming responsible and able to make decisions.

Do not draw comparisons between your kids, let alone with other kids

I know we are tempted every once in a while to compare our kids either among themselves or with other kids. By our own hands, we have groomed sibling-rivalry and a feeling of incompetence among our kids – feeling that is extremely hard to erase. I say put a stop to this. If you look closely, you will find something unique about that child who is not so great in the area where you want them to be great at. Hone that uniqueness. Appreciate their individualities and mean it.

Don’t do everything for your children

Your kids follow what you do, not necessarily what you tell them to do. However, you cannot afford to do everything for them. As you show them the way, give them tasks as well as monitor them. The more they learn to do things on their own, the easier it becomes to build new skills. Just like adults, this rebuilds their confidence in more ways, knowing that they are capable and that you can trust them to handle more tasks.

Speak positive words about your children

This is for the African parent who is a quick to call their children names or use phrases like, “These actions you’re exuding towards me, your children will do same to you”. I know we never mean those words we say, but they stick like glue. The difference between the child who radiates confidence and the one who doesn’t is the fact that one feels loved and the other doesn’t. One goes about with positivity deeply rooted in his subconscious, and the other goes about feeling like a looser. Speak only positive words over your children. Listen to them, do not be quick to criticize them. Tell your kids daily how much you love them and be sure to say the words: “I love you”. In fact, when they do something wrong, remind yourself that it’s not them you don’t like, only their behavior. Punish them when you must but stay away from exuding negativity towards them.


Encourage open communication at home. Let them know that they can come home to a peaceful abode and can talk about anything. Teach them control, even in speech, but avoid shutting them up. Bonding time with your kids should not be traded for anything. Alone time is the best time to catch up, talk about what’s on their minds as well as check that their self-esteem is budding. Our kids will make mistakes. And with self-esteem, it’s not something tangible that we can really put a hold on, but we will know for sure if it’s missing. Children with high self-esteem are more emotionally mature and stable. They also tend to be happier and do better academically. Help your child build their confidence quotient today.  
About the author: Amy Afebuame recently kicked off My Writing Corner for Kids and Teens, a platform set to help kids in building and harnessing a reading and writing culture, to encourage self-expression, research, instill confidence and positive exposure in youths. This will help in the development of kids writing and reading abilities, whilst catching them young. You can contact Amy at; also find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Click here to visit her website.

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This article was first published on 24th August 2018


Amy is a Creative Writer, Editor and Director at Aimee’s Library & Recreational Centre. The creativity enthusiast is very much engaged in influencing the world around her through books and other educational resources. She is totally sold out to developing smarter kids who constantly improve themselves and develop a healthy reading lifestyle through her monthly kids book club activities as well as other biblio-events.

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