Although we sometimes talk about confidence as something that a person “has,” confidence actually involves a very specific set of behaviors.

Identifying these traits as desirable is the first step. Children need a clear set of expectations that they understand are important and know they must follow.

To help them recognize the importance of the goal, these qualities must first be labeled as positive.

Let’s take good posture, for example. In martial arts class the instructor would say, “Black belts have their backs straight and chests out. You do want to become a black belt, don’t you?”

Or, “I know you are good looking, so let’s accentuate it!”

Or, even point out the negative: “When you’re slouching like that your posture looks so weak and I know that’s not case. You are a strong person, so back straight and chest out. Go!”

Stating the issue, explaining its importance and giving children a clear directive will help children understand the link — in this case, that standing up straight makes them project the look of confidence.