10 things that can hurt your child’s self esteem
Are you doing these things and hurting your child's self-esteem unknowingly?
Parents want the best for their kids but at times, their good intentions serve as roadblocks in the development of a strong sense of self.
Self-esteem is a feeling of self-worth that enables kids to be resilient in the face of life’s challenges. Over-parenting and many seemingly inoffensive gestures can sabotage your kid’s self-esteem.
We bring to you 10 times when you might be hurting your child’s self esteem unintentionally.
Name-calling your child
This also includes sarcasm. Words hurt. Censure the misbehaviour. Not the child. We tend to brand our kids as ‘brats’ or ‘good-for-nothings’ based on their past misdemeanors.
The child is likely to internalise these labels leading to a slow erosion of his spirit, continuing the cycle to confirm the label.
Against conventional wisdom, it’s not the outcome that you should be praising as much as your child’s determination in overcoming the obstacles in achieving it.
Let them learn to embrace criticism as constructive. Let your compliments be real–specific and earned. Not just, “Great Drawing…” but “The colour of the sky is gorgeous…” This will raise the bar for them.
Making things too easy
Don’t do things for your kids that they can do for themselves.
Offer just enough information to your kid to get started with tasks. Demonstrate the process, step back and let your kid make the choices.
For for example, crossing levels in video games. Offer hints that lead them to make connections. This will egg them on to take chances and foster a sense of independence.
Mistakes or failures help us stretch our mental muscle. If kids are denied the opportunity to look for alternative strategies, their coping skills could be thwarted.
Being yourself is more important than a societal standard of ‘perfection’. Be around as your kid tries to pour water in his glass even if it means that he could spill it. If the latter does happen, ask him for suggestions to take care of the mess at hand.
Not spending enough time with him
Let your kid know that he is worth your time. Even doing nothing in the company of your kid can induce a positive self-image. Fix things like leaky faucets with them. Instead of taking the car, walk to places to spend impromptu time with your kids.
Saying ‘I will love you if…’
The most detrimental consequences follow when your child is led to believe that your love is conditional.
This behavioural pattern may hound them into adulthood, where their actions are determined by the approval they crave. These kids are also more vulnerable to sexual abuse.
Allow your kids to help with chores in the house–be it making a sandwich or folding clothes. This will help them believe that their contribution is cherished and will encourage initiative.
Tasks like doing your own dishes can help kids have realistic expectations of the big bad world outside. Being at their beck and call is damaging to their competence.
Saying ‘Everything will be alright…’
‘We will figure this out. I’m with you in this…’ is a more effective approach. Encourage them to talk about their feelings and find words to describe them–frustrated, angry, sad or disappointed.
Awareness is the first step to resolution. It will also teach them that pushing things under the carpet is not cool.
Scientists champion the idea that brains can be rewired with practice.
Surrounding your kids with ideas of endless possibilities can help them cultivate an attitude of not giving up on life. Laugh at your problems, share inspiring stories and teach your kids to be like a proton – positive.
Not walking the talk
If you are not able to lead by example, you won’t be able to drive the message home. Kids watch what you do more often than hear what you say.