When you see the signs of positive self-esteem and confidence in your kids, pat yourself in the back and say you did a wonderful job as a parent. You feel proud of those kids who make decisions on their own, are comfortable with themselves and are not afraid of expressing themselves.
You can identify the ways that boost your kid's self-worth. Watch out for the patterns that damage self-esteem. Do this and you will become a better parent. Your child will be thankful to you for years because you developed him/her into a strong person, who has a positive self-image and is confident of taking on any challenge in life.
If that is the way you want to raise your kid, read on. The tips look simple. They come from psychologists, doctors and happy mothers from around the world.
1. Be Attached To Your Kid
First two years are the most important phase in your child's development. Her brain is fast developing. She gets first lessons on social interactions. And she communicates by giving out cues – like a cry when she is hungry, raise hands when she wants to be picked up, and point to things she want to play with. With a little attention, you can understand what these cues mean and respond accordingly.
Responding to your kid's cue is very important – because, your kid learns she is worthy of your attention, your care, and your love. If you are in the child's position, you will feel: 'There is someone to respond to me. I am a worthy person'.
That is the first step to building self-esteem. You let your child see herself as a person worth your attention.
If the cues are not answered, she feels rejected. And she feels there is no one to take care of her. And that she is worthless. This is not some image you want to emerge in your kid's mind.
2. Work Your Own Self-Esteem
If you are always under stress, it affects your kid too. Be happy, self-confident, and in-control while around your kids.
Watch your body language: raise your shoulder, raise your chin, wear a smile and talk clearly. Your kid will see you are confident, strong, and self-sufficient.
In effect, your kids see you as a mirror and see themselves as strong individuals. Let your confidence, self-worth and strength permeate to your kid and help her grow strong.
You may have complaints about the way your parents raised you. It is time to move on. Your parents brought you up as best as they could. Leave the hard feelings about your own childhood (if any) behind.
3. Play With Your Child
Playing together builds strong bonds. Build strong bonds with your child through child plays. Join your child in the games she start. Add new twists to the game. Help her build new shapes with the building blocks.
And, give your undivided attention to your kid. If your mind is somewhere else, your child will sense it. So, play with all your attention focused on your child and nothing else.
On the surface, it may look like a terrible waste of time. But it is not. Playtime with your child is an investment. If you show interest in joining your child's activities today, she will show interest in joining you in your activities tomorrow.
The tips above are meant for very little kids. Now we will see how we build self-worth among school-going kids.
4. Praise the Efforts (Not the Person)
Giving praise is a skill all parents and teachers need to learn. It is an art and science in itself.
If you praise a kid (you are wonderful), she feels very bad when she meets with a failure. If you praise the effort (you did a good job), she won't feel bad at failures.
While both the praises look the same, the mental images they create are entirely different. Praise your kid's efforts and not her personal traits.
If you praise her personal traits, she will try to hide her failures. She also feels the failure is due to some personal shortcomings.
Subtle differences in self image leads to massive differences in exhibition of intelligence, and performance.
Bad praise can make your kids dependent on the opinion of others, something you don't want. Instead, praise the efforts your kid puts in and motivate her to put in more efforts for even better performance in whatever she does.
5. Encourage Your Kids to Express their Feelings
Healthy expression of feelings plays an important role in the development of every individual. Throwing tantrums is bad. So is stuffing feelings. Show them how they can express their feelings safely. Holding back all emotions is bad. So is emoting out in every occasion.
If you constantly neglect what she tells, or if you respond angrily when she expresses her feelings, she becomes a reserved person not comfortable of expressing her feelings. She may burst out when she gets a chance.
The feelings are the personality of a child. If you reject her feelings, you reject her as a person. Stay calm, and encourage her to express her feelings calmly. And empathize with her.
6. Responsibilities Raise Your Child's Self-Worthiness
Kids do like to do jobs and household chores. Assign them duties they like. It can start as early in two-three years. When you assign them a job, or a chore, like arranging tables, folding towels, cleaning sinks, etc, she develops self-confidence. As the child turns 10, you can assign family jobs. Assigning such responsibilities make her feel wonderful. If you don't let your child perform daily chores at home, you are not helping her develop into a great person.
7. Don't Compare Your Child to Anybody Else
Comparing your child to another one is a recipe for disaster. Look at that girl, she can draw pictures and you can't – such comparison will damage your kid's self-esteem.
Instead, help your child identify her strengths, and encourage her to work on her strengths. Whenever you feel like comparing your child to another one, remember it will damage her self-esteem.
Nurturing your child into a mentally strong, capable individual takes years of patience and perseverance. Learn the positive signals that make your child stronger and the negative signals that prevent your kid from developing into a strong, self-reliant individual.
Our article published in Arogyapadmam Magazine - December 2018
Our Article published in Our KIDS Magazine-October 2018