It takes confidence to be a kid.Whether going to a new school or stepping up to bat for the first time, kids face uncharted territory daily.Naturally, parents want to instill a can-do attitude in their kids so that they’ll bravely take on new challenges and, over time, believe in themselves. While each child is a little different, parents can follow some general guidelines to build kids’ confidence.Self-confidence rises out of a sense of competence. In other words, kids develop confidence not because parents tell them they’re great, but because of their achievements, big and small. Sure, it’s good to hear encouraging words from mom and dad. But words of praise mean more when they refer to a child’s specific efforts or new abilities.Martial Arts Instructors call this “Stacking”. When students first come aboard we talk to parents about avoiding comparing their kids with other kids. In martial arts, a students real opponent or competition is themselves. In the beginning, instructors are “good finders” – we are always trying to point out each child’s strong points and praising them while challenging them to do more.Once the journey begins, kids start gaining competence at basics, drills, patterns, self defense and free style sparring. They earn and are rewarded with belts, stripes and awards for practicing, patience, courtesy, goal setting and more, This “Stacking” of success references gives kids confidence to try new things and reach new levels because they are accomplishing things very few of their peers will ever do. A child that becomes a Black Belt is like a scout that becomes an “Eagle”.Martial Arts is also just fun, healthy, great for fitness and more. The gift of martial arts lessons is a gift that will go a long way.