Children blossom as confident adults when they grow up feeling worthy of themselves. Unconscious or unmindful parenting can cause a huge damage in a child’s self-confidence as they grow-up. It is important for parents to realise the fine balance between over-parenting and under parenting.
Some of the behaviors that parents and teachers display while interacting with children may be rather unconscious or because they do not understand the long-term damage these interactions are causing to a child. This article explores 5 common mistakes most parents and teachers contribute to a child’s self-esteem.
1. Embarrassing a child
Adults should first recognise that all children are individuals. As the children grow, they acquire emotions like anger, frustration disappointment, embarrassment etc. They also have the right to feel these emotions and display them in their day-to-day interactions with others around them. Most parents tend to put the child on a spot when they want to show off the child’s talents in singing or dancing, in front of strangers. When the child resists, they force the child. Parents feel embarrassed and make excuses for the non-performance of the child, while they have actually put “the child” in an embarrassing situation. Parents should respect the child’s decision when the child says “No”! Offering excuses only undermines the child’s feelings.
2. Shaming the child in public
This situation is not uncommon in a school setup. Teachers are compelled to discipline a child immediately when they catch them doing wrong. Shaming the child in public will only cause harm and the child will not be able to see beyond the embarrassment he or she is facing in the presence of its peers. A more effective method is for the teacher to discipline the child in private.
3. Threatening a child
Parents sometimes fail to set boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors in their children. This may lead to embarrassing situations when children misbehave in a public place or while visiting friends. Unfortunately, parents fail to recognise that public place is not the right place to discipline children. Setting up a new rule in a public place is a battle the parent will not succeed. The other common strategy most parents adopt is to threaten the child of a consequence of the unacceptable behavior. This will leave the child feeling completely confused and angry. The behavior that was acceptable and was probably praised at home has suddenly become an issue in public. This severely impacts the child’s confidence.
4. Labelling a child
Parents and teachers often end up giving labels like “untidy child or lazy child or crybaby or slow child or clumsy child”. Children tend to feel isolated when they hear these labels. They will start feeling that there is something wrong with them and children will refuse to try out new things with the fear of doing something wrong. E.g. Children who have not developed a sense of time may be slow when labelled these children may end up not taking initiative with the fear of not being able to complete the task. Then, they get called as lazy and the cycle goes on.
5. Physical abuse
Some parents think that there is nothing wrong in physically abusing a child as they recollect their childhood and how they were raised. Parents get away by saying “My parents used to hit me, OR My teachers used to hit me” but I have turned out quite fine. Really!! If you look deep down, these instances would have left a scar on the parent’s emotional well-being and have left them angry. The abused child will also grow up angry, hurt, emotionally scarred and with low self-esteem.
Children are growing up as individuals with their own personality. Parents have the responsibility of raising them into well rounded and emotionally strong individuals. Parents and teachers should develop self-esteem in children by loving and treating them with respect. Setting clear boundaries and communicating them to the children appropriately will empower the children. This empowerment will help them to be confident young people with high self-esteem and high self-worth.
More related articles