“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.”― Mark Twain
The following 7 items are a recipe for squashing your child’s self-esteem. If you want to raise emotionally healthy and stable children, do the opposite of the following:
1. Don’t Listen
Our children need us to REALLY listen to them. I’ve been guilty of “listening” while checking e-mail, or cooking. However, I only gave a head nod. I truly wasn’t listening. When I slow down, step away from my own agenda, and truly listen, my children feel valued and important.
2. Nag & Use Threats and Intimidation
I want what I want when I want it. If it isn’t done instantaneously, I obsess about getting it done. This deflates my children. They want me to have confidence in their abilities; thus, they only want to be told once. If they don’t follow through, then I may gently redirect them teaching, coaching, and guiding instead of squawking orders. Additionally, have a system in place for following expectations. The system needs to include predetermined consequences for not following the rules. Then, be consistent. Stick to the system instead of threatening your children or using intimidation. This creates fear which leads to smashed self-esteem. Instead, be consistent, follow through the first time building trust and security.
3. Do Everything For Your Children
I have friends that do everything for their children thinking that they are showing love and doing them a favor, but in reality, it makes the child feel helpless. Instead, train and role model while guiding them through what they need to learn.
4. Don’t Give Time
Study after study clearly states that all children want from their parents is quality time. Give your children your undivided attention. When children don’t get their parents undivided attention, they don’t feel worthy. Unplug from all technology and go do something fun, regularly. Build memories that will last a lifetime.
5. Be A Perfectionist
I had a friend tell me that she was “plagued by perfectionism.” It struck a chord with me. My children never felt like they measured up, because whenever they would accomplish a task, I gave them a bigger task to conquer. In my quest to shape them into the best that they could become, I squashed their self-concept making them feel like they could never do anything good enough. My lesson learned: Strike a balance. Set high expectations, but don’t expect perfection. Remember to praise all the amazing tasks your children do accomplish. Calm down and enjoy the moments; life will never be perfect.
Yelling creates resentment, low self-esteem, and a fight. A soft approach works every time. You get more honey with kind words rather than kicking the bee hive.
“If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the bee hive.” – Dale Carnegie
When you kick the hive, you create a swarm of mad, stinging bees. This is also true with our children. Kind correction is sweet like honey.