Guidelines On Keeping Your Children’s Self-Esteem Intact While Still Disciplining Them
You don’t want to penalize your children, but you want them to start behaving more respectfully. Having worked as a clinical psychologist and a mother of four, I’d like to convey the magic of “soft criticism.”
It seems clear that our children should love themselves because we love them so much. Everyone aspires to have the self-assurance and be at ease in their skin. You may postpone dealing with your child’s lousy conduct because you don’t want to hurt his self-esteem if you’re a parent who values these attributes. According to my book Kid Confidence, children need to learn from their mistakes—and parents can still hold them accountable without making them feel like horrible kids.
One of the things we can do for our children is to show them how to interact healthily. They must be aware of the impact their activities have on others and the kinds of behaviors that are acceptable and unacceptable. Moral development requires a person to feel remorse for their actions. A sense of “Ooh, I messed up” develops within them due to this experience, and they become more motivated to set things right. Feeling guilty without feeling embarrassed or worthless is not the same as having healthy guilt.
Answers to common inquiries from parents and tips for empowering children to solve their difficulties are provided here.
When I Point Out My Child’s Misbehavior, They Become Angry. Why?
Some children have a very high threshold for criticism or low self-esteem when it comes to self-esteem. The conventional wisdom is to focus on a child’s behavior rather than the individual child, yet most children aren’t able to tell the difference. People can justify their actions by saying, “I messed up, but I’m a decent person overall.” A child’s mind is a simple black-and-white one. They feel terrible as soon as they realize they’ve done something wrong.
The question is, how can I gently handle a situation without absolving my child of all responsibility?
A three-step process I term “soft criticism” is the best way to handle the situation. Using it with a group of coworkers or business partners is no problem.
Make an explanation for their actions. An excellent way to begin is to remark, “I understand that you were trying to” or “I know that you didn’t mean to.” This reassures them that you believe they are a friendly kid, even if they make mistakes.
Explain to them how their actions harmed others. Say, “Your brother’s arm hurt a lot when you punched him.” No amount of convincing them of their badness will make your message any clearer, no matter how tempting it may be to add, “You always treat him that way” or “You don’t care enough about other people’s feelings.”
Continue on your path. We don’t want to leave our children feeling horrible about themselves because they can’t undo what they’ve already done. Ask your youngster what he can do to make his brother feel better, such as, “What can you do to make your brother happy?”
Depending on the scenario, it’s up to you to think of ways to make amends. Apologizing, soothing, sharing, cleaning up, or completing a duty like sorting the recycling are all examples of ways to help someone in need. Any time your child has done anything to harm the family, it is possible that they can also help the family. Express genuine gratitude when they do something friendly or helpful to make amends.
There’s a lot of room for improvement for my kid. Which Way Do I Have to Point?
It’s helpful to have a direct conversation with your child in which you express the problem by saying, “On the one hand… but on the other hand…” and then urge them to come up with viable solutions. You can virtually see your child’s brain grow as soon as you offer the scenario in terms of two perspectives. They’re going beyond just saying “I want” to include other views.
Kids’ first suggestions for solving a problem are frequently absurd (“My sister should just move out!”). And your role is to respond, “The other part of the problem would remain unaddressed if you chose that route. Do you have any other ideas?”
Your child can learn to generate ideas and develop them if you are patient and help them think things through. Then you can add, “Wow, your idea worked,” if your child’s solution is a success. To motivate today’s youth, a sense of accomplishment is a powerful motivation.
Should I Worry if My Child Has Low Self-Esteem?
It’s anguish for us parents to hear our children make self-deprecating remarks about themselves. It makes us want to jump in and show them how much they mean to us right away. Contrary to popular belief, the evidence does not support the notion that happy youngsters are those who have a positive self-perception. Studies show that higher self-esteem is not linked to academic performance, stronger relationships, or even happiness; over-the-top praise can backfire. Trying to convince your child that they are a great person will make them more convinced that they are a terrible person or will never be able to measure up to your expectations. There have been numerous studies in which children have been given self-esteem-building courses, while others have received direct academic training. Who came out of the gate more self-assured? The children who genuinely learned to read and write. Instead of persuading our children that they’re great, we should help them form meaningful relationships and gain confidence in their abilities.
However, we don’t want our children to have poor self-esteem since they’ll be miserable and more likely to suffer from mental illness. If a kid is hesitant to try something new because they believe they will be awful at it or avoid social situations. After all, they believe they will be rejected; it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s also possible that they’ll go to the other extreme and become obsessively critical of everything they do.
Your child’s self-esteem isn’t the problem; it’s what you do about it. So that they don’t become bogged down in self-centeredness. In the modern world, people are under a lot of pressure to take care of their image and how they’re perceived. True self-esteem does not come from adoration of oneself but rather from letting go of the constant worry of “Am I good enough?” Consider a time when you and a close friend are together. You’re not trying to figure out if they like you or not. A friendship or an opportunity to learn about a topic that interests them are two ways we want to help kids connect with something greater than themselves.
Will a Child’s Self-Esteem Increase if They are Successful?
It’s unfortunate, but some young people are eager to downplay their achievements when they do achieve them. Even if they’re right, they’ll point out flaws in their performance. After a victory, persons with low self-esteem feel more worried than those with high self-esteem. They’re afraid they won’t be able to do it again or that people will expect more of them after they’ve done it once.
You can be a “biased biographer” for your child to help them feel more confident in their abilities. Inspire people by sharing stories of how they overcame adversity to achieve their goals. “I remember when you were learning to ride your bike, and you fell and fell, and now look at you, zipping around the neighborhood!” Pay attention to what you can do now that you couldn’t before.
Even though I know my child can do what I ask, what should I do?
Make sure your expectations are realistic before you begin. Even if you think your child should behave in a specific way, you must cope with the child you have in front of your eyes. After 30 minutes of asking, they’ve only taken off one sock each night, so you need to try something new to urge them to get ready for bed. Most kids her age can get prepared for bed independently, even if her younger sister isn’t relevant. Most of the time, or just a little bit beyond that, I regard our children to be able to do what we demand of them as realistic expectations.
How Do I Inspire My Child To Behave?
Let them know it is feasible to meet your expectations. Reward them for their hard work and progress. As a parent, one of the most selfless acts you can perform is to grant your children amnesia about their past transgressions. There’s no point in bringing up anything your child did a month ago because they’re essentially a whole different person now.
You can also discuss their development or evolution: “That back seat arrangement you and your brother came up with was ingenious. “You helped the new student learn how to use the computer at school. You’re getting better at bargaining and compromising” Seeing a need and stepping in to help others is what you’re developing into.”
The power of the language of becoming lies in its message to your child: “If you’ve made mistakes in the past, don’t worry about making mistakes in the future either. There’s reason to be hopeful right now, right in front of me.” It’s a beautiful thing to offer a child as a present.