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Does Confidence Help Kids
Do Better in School?

By Mikkie Mills

What traits do kids need to be successful in school? One answer might be confidence. Confidence appears to have a strong positive correlation with academic achievement, so if you'd like your kids to thrive in school, you should encourage them to develop this quality. Here's an explanation of why confidence is linked to better grades and more satisfaction in school, as well as some tips on how you can help your kids become more confident in the classroom.

The Difference Between Academic Confidence and Self-Esteem

It's important to note that confidence and self-esteem are not the same thing, especially in a classroom setting. Many people conflate the two, but academically confident kids do not necessarily have high self-esteem, and vice versa. Self-esteem is the quality of valuing the self highly -- in other words, people with lots of self-esteem have a strong sense of self-worth. Self-confidence, on the other hand, has to do with feeling secure in one's own abilities. A confident person knows that they can handle the situations they find themselves in, but they may or may not have high self-esteem.

Surprisingly, while high levels of confidence tend to go hand-in-hand with academic achievement, high self-esteem doesn't necessarily have the same effect. In fact, self-esteem has been shown to have little impact on how well a student performs in the classroom, and it may even have a slight detrimental effect on student performance. The reasons for this are not clear. One possibility is that children with high self-esteem may feel less motivated to work hard in school because they already feel secure in themselves.

Of course, having self-esteem is not a bad thing. Plenty of children with good self-esteem thrive in school and make good grades. But this trait does not appear to be linked with school performance in the same way as confidence.

How Confidence and Academic Performance Are Related

Confidence has a snowball effect in the classroom. Kids who are confident about their ability to learn new material are more likely to put in the time and effort necessary to master it. And the more new topics a student successfully tackles, the more confident they'll feel in their ability to learn even more.

A lack of confidence can snowball in the same way. Students who are nervous about a subject or who don't feel up to learning it will likely struggle. This isn't because they're less intelligent, but because they talk themselves out of pushing the limits of their own abilities before giving new things a chance. This can lead to falling behind, which erodes confidence further.

Helping Your Kids Develop Confidence in Their Academic Abilities

If you have kids in school, there's a lot you can do to encourage them to develop strong academic confidence. (And if you're a student yourself, building your confidence will help you earn better grades and enjoy your classes more.) Here are a few simple tips for building academic confidence in students of all ages.

  • Find a school where your kids are comfortable. Having skilled teachers and the right environment for learning can make all the difference in how confident your kids feel. (If you don't live in an area with a good school system, consider contacting home builders in Houston to start the process of moving to a more promising area.)
  • Praise your kids when you see their hard work paying off.
  • Offer to help your kids with their homework if they get stuck. Don't come up with the answers for them, though -- that won't do anything for their confidence.
  • If you notice your child falling behind in school, find them a tutor to help them master the difficult material.

The Takeaway

Confident students tend to be high-performing students. Help your kids build their academic confidence, and you'll set them up for a lifetime of academic achievement.

About Mikkie Mills: “I’m a Chicago native who loves to share her expertise about personal development and growth. When I’m not writing, I’m chasing the little ones around or rock climbing at the local climbing gym.” More articles by Mikkie
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