As parents or caregivers, we want our children to grow strong and healthy. We also want them to have healthy confidence and self-esteem. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we may do things that actually hurt our children’s confidence and self-esteem instead of helping it.
Here are five ways parents can kill children’s confidence:
. Comparing them to others:
Instead of motivating your child to improve, comparisons will most likely make your child have low self-esteem. It is never a good idea to draw comparisons between siblings or those within their peer group. Children need to know that they are accepted and loved for who they are, not because they are better or not as “good” as another. You do not want them to feel like they have to act like someone else to get your approval.
. Always solving their problems for them:
Constantly solving a child’s problems or correcting their mistakes deprives them of a chance to learn, mature and develop self-confidence. This will ruin their chances of developing the skills and confidence required to navigate through life. When children solve their problems, even if they do not get it right, it is a great way to learn problem-solving skills.
Also, are you in the habit of speaking up for your child even when they are old enough to speak for themselves? This can make your child become withdrawn and lose confidence in their ability to speak for themselves. Allow your child to express themselves both in private and in public.
. Always shouting and nagging about their mistakes
Shouting at your children when helping them out with homework, or teaching them a skill can kill their confidence. As a parent, you have to be patient with your child. Making mistakes is an integral part of a child’s learning and growth process. At some point when you ask a question, they will be too scared to answer because of your shouting habit. Always correct them with care and make them feel that they can do it. But don’t over-pamper them. Teaching your child to accept mistakes and failures positively is a good way to go about things. There is a great deal of value in recognizing when you make a mistake and then correcting it.
. Making fun of their physical differences:
Many parents want their kids to be physically and emotionally flawless. They often view their children’s physical and emotional differences as imperfections to be corrected and/or changed. However, this has the opposite effect and gives the child a permanently poor body and self-image. Some young children have become anorexic just to escape being called “fat” while others become obese to avoid being called “skinny winky.” Most often than not, namecalling affects children’s self-esteem. These days, teenage girls cannot wait to turn 18, so that they can go in for surgery.
Focus on building your child up and preaching positivity. Instead of pointing out their flaws, help them develop their positive characteristics. Teach your child that no one is flawless and that everyone makes mistakes.
. Living your life through them and planning their careers:
There are parents who plan their children’s lives from birth to marriage to career and beyond based on what they want for themselves. They believe that they are making their kids’ lives easier and less stressful. However, they are doing irreparable damage and making their kids quite dependent and indecisive regarding the simplest life choices. Many people are living their parents’ lives, not their own authentic lives, much to their regret.
It is okay to set some boundaries and steer your child in a direction you’d like to see them go in, but let them have some independence. Support the choices they make and the lifestyles they want to live.
. Denying them your attention:
Children need and crave love and affection that only their parents can give. Not being there for your children creates “emotional neediness” in them. Some of these children crave and look for a “mother” and “father” figure in other people which could sometimes lead to abuse. Be intentional about spending time with your children. This might be difficult since we all live busy, stressful lives and have endless concerns as parents. However, give your children all your attention, some of the time! Whenever you have time to spend with your children, ensure that they have all your attention. The occasional hugs, kisses and “I love you” should also not be forgotten.