Self-esteem and self-confidence is the core of a healthy personality. Self-esteem refers to whether one appreciates and values oneself and self-confidence is the belief in oneself and one’s abilities. Contrary to popular belief, self-esteem is not an innate quality that a child either has or lacks; it is part of the child’s unique personality but also substantially influenced by social interactions and life experiences. About 80 percent of a person’s personality development takes place in the first seven years of life that shape their entire future.In today’s environment of competition, helping your child build confidence and self-esteem is one of the most important objectives for parents. A child with a strong self-esteem tends to be more resistant to peer pressure and is better able to deal with the challenges of life. They manage their emotions in a more effective manner and have lower rates of anxiety and depression.
The role of parents largely defines how a child perceives themselves and how much faith they have in their abilities, thus determining their emotional quotient. Parenting is tough and emotionally challenging but realizing how our behavior can mould a child’s entire life can help us to live life to the best for ourselves and for our children to follow suit. Mothers, especially, being the primary nurturer since birth and staying around their children more throughout their formative years, have a profound impact on the self-esteem and confidence of a child. A connection between a mother and her child is a determinant of what personality the child would bear later in life. A responsive, respectful, empathetic, supportive and emotionally strong mother would yield an emotionally strong progeny.
A surge in competition and survival skills has given rise to anxiety and depression. Inculcating self-confidence will raise emotionally strong kids who, after all, are our ultimate investment to let humanity prevail. In order to foster empowered personality in our children, here are some guidelines that we can practice.
Children learn more through observation than verbal guidance and teaching. A practical demonstration will yield better results than verbal commands. Respect begets respects and a mother who is respected by others and primarily respects herself will instigate the development of self-confidence in her kids. Children who grow up seeing their mothers value and consider themselves worthy will develop the same attitudes. Self-respect keeps one steady in ambitions and strengthens belief in one’s capabilities. In our traditional parenting style, we often neglect the fact that kids are just as human as us. Specifically, for shy and introvert kids, instead of pushing, let them wait it out until they can settle down in their skin and show up when they feel ready to do so. We need to validate their feelings and value their emotions as seriously as we do for an adult. This instill a sense of belonging and security in children and boosts their self-esteem.
Communication is the key to success in every relationship. A mother who is an open and patient listener will encourage honest, understanding and non-judgmental communication. When a child has the security of being emotionally vulnerable about sharing their thoughts with their mother without having to worry about bringing out any kind of adverse reaction, the child will acquire a sense of security in the relationship. Such children develop trust and practice honesty. To foster communication, whenever children come from home, a mother can try to patiently listen to all the details of their time outside with interest, affirmation and without judgment.
Unconditional love and appreciation are the breeding grounds of self-esteem. Make sure your child knows that you love them unconditionally. Remind them that their presence brings you joy as it will boost their self-esteem manifolds. Accept them at their worst and let them know that no matter what, nothing would alter your love for them while correcting them simultaneously. However, it is only human for mothers not to be at their best at all times, so when it gets tough, remind them that scolding doesn’t mean you stop loving them. With that, express often that ‘I am blessed to have you as my child’ and ‘you make me happy’.
Providing children with the autonomy to take their own decisions can spur independence and confidence. Mothers quite naturally want the very best for their children and try to offer the safest way but we need to remember that our children are not extensions of ourselves but instead are independent, individual human beings with their own frame of mind, sets of ideas and choices. By withholding criticism and instead gently guiding them through logical reasoning followed by supporting them for whatever they decide on, our children will acquire self-confidence and it will allow them to claim responsibility for their actions. As parents, reminding them often that you are proud of their actions and encouraging them to accomplish their aspirations will create a healthy bond. Let them know that you trust them more and more every day and believe in their potential. Appreciate when they attempt tasks beyond their comfort level. When they know that they are accepted and appreciated for who they are, they will feel +positive about themselves.
If a child is encouraged to pursue their dreams and allowed to independently tackle challenges they encounter along the way (with parental support when required, of course), they will see that they are competent. This will empower them to make their own decisions, employ creative problem-solving and eventually develop a sense of mastery over their own circumstances.
As a parent, you strike a balance between letting your child make mistakes and reminding them to not set unrealistically high expectations of themselves. Tell your child that it is okay to mess up, and what matters more is that they keep on trying. Be a source of advice, rather than criticism.
Dealing with Failure
Dealing with a failure in life is never easy as it breaks and shakes even the most confident of individuals. Demotivation gets to children as well. Mothers being around their kids the most can significantly vary their thought processes by offering unwavering support at such times by acknowledging their efforts and reminding them that it is the hard work and effort that matters. Evidently, the disappointment gets to them but saying words like ‘it’s ok to make mistakes’, ‘that’s how we learn’, ‘you will do better next time’, ‘your results are not conditional to our love or there is no failure as long you keep trying’ can make a huge difference. Reminding them ‘every step is progress’ and ‘keeping on trying is the real success’ can really lift the morale and confidence of children.
Young children love to be asked for help. There is always something to be done about in the house. Mothers can foster independence by giving their child a responsibility and letting them complete the task on their own and then rewarding and praising them for their effort. Including children in age-appropriate household chores can instill a sense of responsibility that progresses into self-esteem. Asking children for help in setting up or cleaning off the table, feeding the pet, picking up toys after them or even putting clothes in the laundry basket can help build character step by step. Daily routine stuff about petty choices such as choosing a dress to put on, deciding on a game to play, or asking for preference in lunch or snack makes them feel included, which is good for a confident personality development. Appropriate appraisal after completing these tasks gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. When you see them help someone, may it be holding a door open for some stranger or saying kind words or showing empathy to someone in distress, do appreciate their kind gestures and efforts.
Mothers are tempted to step in for childern in difficult situations, especially where the bullying or beating is involved. While standing up for children has a positive impact, we must encourage children to stand up for themselves as parents cannot be around all the time. Instead of telling them to play tit for tat, (which demonstrates inadequate control of emotion) teaching childern how to be assertive without violence will enable them to be more in control of their actions and emotions. Practicing positive assertiveness will also make them resistant to peer pressure as the aim is not to teach bullying or bossing around but to protect and defend oneself. This trait can help in upbringing of emotionally stronger and calmer individuals.
A very crucial component of life is to teach kids that vicissitudes are a part and parcel of life. Life cannot be an easy ride forever. It will hit rock bottom at times but there will eventually be shores too. The only thing to remember is to have faith in oneself and believe in one’s abilities whilst remembering that nothing is permanent and that this too shall pass. This resilience will incur stable emotional intelligence thriving on a positive attitude and will enable our future generation to face challenges of the life ahead.
The future of humanity lies in how we bring up our children. Apart from all other qualities, it is very important that we teach our children emotional intelligence. We need a generation who thinks and cares about how their lives affect the lives of people around them. To teach that effectively, we need to groom ourselves as role models for them to follow. HH
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