09 May Academic Confidence for College Success
It’s Not What You Know, It’s How Confidently You Know It
It’s the question weighing most heavily on your mind. As your child prepares for the final stage of directed development before adulthood, you’re wondering how you can reinforce all the work you’ve done so far and prepare your teen for lifelong success.
So, what’s the answer?
Confidence. Not just general confidence, but academic confidence.
Confidence is one’s general belief in themselves. It’s an important attribute, one your child needs to succeed. But confidence without direction can become detrimental. An overabundance of undirected confidence can drive an individual to ignoring their flaws and overlook opportunities for growth. This leads to breakdowns in communication, trust, and relationships.
Academic confidence is quite a bit different. It denotes an individual’s belief in their ability to learn; their aptitude for academic inquiry and pursuit. Individuals who are nurtured in their academic confidence enter universities sure of their ability and ready to excel. Students with high academic confidence have been proven to be high achievers.
We know that academic confidence helps young adults gain momentum quickly and set a foundation for lifelong success. But how do we help them acquire it to begin with?
Challenge them to expand their academic comfort zones. Did your child ever say to you, maybe in first or second grade, “I’m really good at this. I must be ready for college!”
That’s intellectual confidence, the belief in one’s natural intellectual talent. The problem with intellectual confidence is the unspoken attribution of aptitude to a natural gift. And when that natural gift doesn’t measure up to challenges as the child grows, the child will internalize the failure as evidence of deep-seated fault, depreciate themselves, and become depressed.
Challenging the child to test the mettle of their academic aptitude early helps them discover that their true skill is grit, and that’s an attribute they can choose to exhibit. Children learn that they can achieve their academic goals with hard work and rise to any challenge.
Expose them to competing ideas. Do you insulate your children from competing ideas? Keeping your kids in the dark not only hurts their trust in you later, it damages their sense of self and placement in the world.
The more your child comes into contact with competing ideas and different cultures, lifestyles, and beliefs, the more secure they become in who they are and what they believe. The result? Resilience.
Intellectual resilience sounds rigid, but it isn’t. As a matter of fact, it’s a natural defense against mentality rigidness that causes the cognitive dissonance in teens and young adults which leads to depression and eroded relationships.
Rather than cutting your children and teens off from the world in their developmental years, try exposing them to as many new ideas and concepts as possible. Give them to opportunity to test their beliefs against others to form the ability to take in and test new information for the rest of their life.
Let them fail. For many parents, letting our children fail is too difficult to even imagine. We want to spare them the pain. We fear failure will hurt their confidence. We believe the road to success is paved with achievement.
In reality, though, a tower of success is like a tower of marshmallows: as soon as it rains they get sticky and dissolve.
When our children are not challenged to overcome failure until college or even later, we fail to help them develop resilience. We fail to let them develop the skillset and the mindset every individual needs to overcome setbacks and learn from their mistakes.
A new world is emerging and changing all the time. Those who will succeed in this fluid new world will be those who flow with it; those who are driven to accept and adapt to change quickly and easily. That means learning all the time.
Academic confidence is a key component of your child’s success in college and career.
High school is an important time in your teen’s development and preparation for a successful future.
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