DO'S AND DON’TS TO HELP CHILDREN BUILD SELF-CONFIDENCE
‘Where there is a will, there is a way’: this is what we usually say to a person when (s)he faces a difficult situation. But why only in difficult circumstances? Even for everyday tasks one needs to be confident and motivated to complete them with ease.
Psychologist Eric Erikson devised the Psycho-Sexual Theory of Human Development. According to his theory, human development is divided into 8 stages. At every stage individual fights a battle to achieve what (s)he desires. Between the age of 1-3 years the child battles to achieve autonomy or is stuck with doubt and shame. Similarly, during the age of 3-5 years, the child battles to take initiative or drowns in a pool of guilt.
An individual will take initiative only when he feels confident about himself. An individual will feel complete within himself only when he is happy and satisfied with himself. One has the trust in his abilities and potentials. Having self-confidence makes everything possible, be it climbing Mount Everest. But lack of self-confidence makes everything very difficult: deciding what to wear is also a humongous task.
Maintaining self-confidence within a child requires conscious efforts on the part of parents. Children get affected by each and every happening around and with them, from writing their names correctly to reciting a poem in front of the entire class.
Parents play a very eminent role in developing self-confidence within their child. Sometimes, parents consider a child’s struggles of less importance than theirs. ‘You’re very young, you haven’t seen anything in life!’: these are the words that parents use randomly without considering what effect they have on the child. Parents have a lot many expectations from their children. It’s not wrong to have expectations from children but unrealistic expectations are harmful, they create unnecessary pressure on the child. They hamper the child’s self-confidence.
Parents can do small things to maintain and increase their child’s confidence. First and foremost is spending time with their children. Today, majority of parents are working. Running after their work targets, they forget that they must devote time to their family as well. The parents are so busy that the child doesn’t find time to let parents know what (s)he is going through. At the end of the day, parents must spend at least 15 minutes with the kid and ask him/her about how was his/her day, one good thing that happened, one bad thing that happened or just praise the child’s effort and achievements a little bit.
Children commit a lot many mistakes. In order to ensure that they do not commit the same mistake again in the future, parents scold them then and there, believing that the child will never do it again. But parents do not realise that scolding and shouting will always have a negative impact on the child.
The child might be scared of the scolding, but will never understand the difference between right and wrong. Rather than scolding, sitting peacefully and talking can make things better. We must understand that a child is ought to make mistakes. Making a child understand that he will learn only if he makes mistakes, he will better be able to face the situation by himself.
Being parents, we may have a very extensive experience of life. We very easily call a child stupid, senseless, etc. We do not realise that these words have a very negative effect on the child. It is very important to let a child take decisions based on his/her understanding and capacities. This will not only compel a child to ponder, and also will make the child accountable for the decision taken. The child will learn to have faith in oneself.
A child tries to seek adult approval. A child feels very proud of himself when s/he is handed over some responsibility. Every child must be given tasks based on his age and abilities. For instance, a 10-11 year old child will experience responsibility when asked to buy something from the corner departmental store. A 14-15 year old child will take extensive care when left alone in the house.
Every child is different. Every child’s needs are different. Some children feel confident when praised while some feel confident when given responsibilities. Parents need to understand this.