Drinking your milk: growing up confident

From playing Trivia Crack to taking an AP exam, it is safe to say that most students have had moments in which they doubt their first choice and change it, only to realize that their first answer was right after all. Self-doubt exists on all levels – and this self-doubt, especially during childhood, plays a crucial role in one’s development.

Self-doubt inhibits kids from learning more than any other factor. According to parenting educator Michael Grose, confident children want to learn more, actually achieve more and have more friends than do children with less confidence. They are not afraid of consequences, which encourages them to take risks – they do not worry as much about failure and success. People feel happier when they are confident in their abilities, and they crave for more. Because they want to learn more, they have an advantage over others due to their attitude during their adolescent years. This advantage will accumulate over time, causing a long-lasting impact.

A study found in an issue of Child Development states that children who suffered from self-doubt and anxiety problems were more likely to view themselves and the world in a negative manner. To build confidence during adolescence, Grose recommends parents to establish a curious and adventurous mindset in their children. It is important for teenagers to know that while they reach for new opportunities without supervision, they will still have the support of their parents.

“I used to doubt myself a lot, but I realized that I should believe in myself and be optimistic in order to achieve my goals,” Sophomore Christopher Chen said.

High school is an especially important stage of life. In an environment full of human interaction, many students become more self-aware and compare themselves to others. Ann Haugen , E.D. Counselor, said that students gradually learn to be independent from their parents and think for themselves. While trying to define their identity, insecure people can place too much significance on how other’s perceive them.

“The truth is people do not think about you as much as you think they do, because they also worry about how others judge them as well. Do not be afraid of the judgment,” Haugen said.

According to Haugen, the biggest consequence of self-doubt is losing the incentive – and ability – to change. Individuals may want to live in the same place, work at the same location and keep the same friends because they are afraid of the unknown. Familiarity becomes comfortable and safe, yet limits them to a risk-free, static life. To live life to the fullest, one needs confidence to try new options. There is a difference between being careful and being afraid. It is important to determine which of the two traits is in effect.

“Everyone has self doubt. Self-doubt is one of the things that unites us as humans. It’s important to be grateful and appreciate who you are. Think about all that you do have, rather than what you do not have. Sometimes, the amount of love we have for ourselves is the only real antidote to dealing with our self-doubt,” Haugen said.