Everything begins and ends with you, as a parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent and friend. We are often, actually always blinded by our expectations of others, but do not realize that others too expect change from us, such as our kids.
There is only one Man that created us and He created us and blessed us with individuality, with individual brains too.
We were blessed with a cognitive to look at each and everyone, even our children, in different perspectives and apply different approach methods. We have however, failed our children, as society has brainwashed us from kids rights to their individuality.
This often influences our way of thinking on how we would want to and how we should approach correcting our kids failures, learning gap or even poor academic achievements. Taking into account that whatever your “sensible” approach might be, will influence the reaction and damages caused to their self-esteem, self-confidence, self love, respect and acceptance of themselves.
I lived a life of comparison, as my dad would always point out someone more intelligent than I was, but his motivating strategy that he implemented had a long term effect on my perception of me.
His acceptance of “me” was always questionable, as it always felt like I was not good enough for him, hence me saying that, us as parents should not approach things the way we want to, but to apply some “kid friendly” approaches to avoid the long term damage we plague our kids with.
Once the damage has been done, then you have already created the monster that you were hoping to avoid.
Kids who have low self-esteem will most likely feel unsure, question acceptance from their peers, allowing ill-treatment, such as bullying, which means they will avoid standing up for themselves, avoid challenges, socialising, and promote “throwing in the towel” when they cannot resolve mistakes or persevere. This will create a poor success path, and it will limit their options. After all, self-esteem is the cognitive emotional appraisal of their worth.
I always possessed self-confidence, the feeling of “I can”, however, my self-esteem was low because even though I knew “i can”, I would always question the “I am”, which was the acceptance factor, questioning whether “I am” good enough for my dad and if my effort to achieve anything was satisfying.
Self-esteem created by appraisal has it’s limitations, because it is an achievement based “worthiness”, it often promotes fear of failure and because our children’s achievements are out of our control, it does not equipped us with a secure enough foundation to address and build their self-esteem.
However, be careful that you do not confuse self-esteem with pride and arrogance. This will open up a new can of worms if there is a lack of knowledge differentiating between these traits.
Building self-esteem should however not be done by giving false appraisal to avoid damaging the way they feel about themselves.
Motivate your child to set goals, visualize, mind-map their dreams, set financial goals and if failure happens that perseverance will determine success.
- Avoid over-praising (if effort is not earned then this creates a sense of false hope, be truthful in an un-harsh way which displays your support)
- Praise effort rather than fixed qualities(praise taking on new challenges rather than praising being smart and always achieving A’s)
- Be a positive and good role model(kids brains absorb anything like sponges, so ensure that you display effort driven achievements that you are faced with)
- No harsh criticism(do not address failures with negative approaches, this tends to engrave a message of “I’m not good enough”. Negativity is not motivating, but rather damaging)
- Nurture strengths(know what your child loves and is brilliant at, develop these strengths and motivate them to enhance their strengths by taking on opportunistic challenges that will help them grow, personally, interpersonally and successfully)
Parents need to come to terms with the fact that their kids will never be alike, and that not all can be academically inclined or athletically inclined. They are individuals, possessing their own unique strengths, accepting that as a parent is your first step to helping your child possess self love, self-worth, self-confidence, respect and self acceptance. This will aid them to stand up for their morals and values, avoid living up to someone elses expectations other than themselves, live up to their dreams and goals and place them on a road to success, emotionally and psychologically.