This 'gentle parenting' guru gives her tips for raising confident kids

According to one childcare author, a close relationship with your child that is based on empathy, mutual respect and trust can help them feel more confident.
Sarah Ockwell Smith, author of "The Gentle Parenting Book", told CNBC by telephone that gentle parents understand their children's capabilities so expectations for their behavior are appropriate for their age.

She said that gentle parents aren't expecting their child to behave like an adult, but they do empathize and understand their actions. She said that, for example, if they are unable to behave, a gentle parent will try to help them express their feelings better than punishing them.

Ockwell Smith explained that children who grow up in homes with less punishment and shouting have a greater self-esteem.

She said that calmer and more compassionate parenting had a positive impact neurologically on the development of the amygdala (the brain part responsible for emotional regulation). Ockwell Smith stated that research has shown that children who grow up in supportive and nurturing environments have a larger brain.

Ockwell Smith said, "So they've literally grown that part of their brain responsible for their emotions. And being calm when it's older."

A University of Montreal researcher published a March study that showed "hard parenting" can actually hinder a child’s brain growth. Washington University academics conducted a 2012 study of preschool children that found a positive effect of early supportive parenting on healthy Hippocampal Development. This is the brain region responsible for learning, memory and stress modulation.