Every parent would love their kids to have healthy self-esteem, and for a good reason.
Over time, research has proven that there are lots of benefits involved when a child is confident, such as little anxiety, healthy relationships, increased performance in school and the ability to overcome difficulties.
As a psychotherapist, I have witnessed a lot of parents use tactics that they think will build up the confidence of their children.
Some of these tactics might backfire, thereby creating a chain reaction where children find it difficult to maintain healthy self-esteem. Because of this, parents might have to spend more time looking for ways to boost the self-esteem of their children.
Here we have the seven big mistakes parents make that kills their child’s confidence:
- INSTEAD OF DISCIPLINE, THEY’RE RATHER PUNISH THE CHILD
There’s a need for children to understand that there are consequences for their actions. Also, there is a huge difference between punishment and discipline. A child that was punished believes “I’m a bad person”, while Disciplined kids believe “I made a bad choice”.
Punishment the child reason that he or she cannot do better, while discipline makes your child confident and makes them the reason that they can make smart and healthy decisions in life.
- EXPECTING THEM TO BE PERFECT
It’s okay to have expectations, but there are consequences when parents expect too much from their children. When children see an expectation as too much, they might decide not to try at all or think they’ll never meet up to the standard.
Instead, explain your long-term expectations, and set milestones for them as they go. For example, leaving for college is a long-term expectation, so assist them in drafting a short-term goal as they go by (e.g. reading, doing their homework, getting good grades).
Yes, making sure your child is well protected makes you feel better. But you’re not helping them grow when you isolate them from challenges.
See yourself as their guide and not their protector. I know letting go is not easy, but you need to allow your children to experience life. This will help them have confidence in themselves and their ability to handle life’s difficulties.
- ALLOWING THEM HAVE THE MENTALITY OF A VICTIM
Telling your child “we can’t afford new shoes like the other kids because we come from a poor background” is further buttressing the point that a lot of situations in life are out of their control.
Instead of allowing your children to exaggerate their problems or host a pity party, help them to take actions that are positive (e.g. setting up a lemonade stand so they can save up to buy things they want or need). It makes them more confident in their ability to make a better future for themselves when they understand that they have a lot of choices.
- SHIELDING THEM FROM THEIR EMOTIONS
Parents are oftentimes tempted to always try and calm their children down when they are angry or make them feel better when they’re sad. How we handle our children’s emotions is very important in developing their self-esteem and emotional intelligence.
Help your children to identify those things that trigger their emotions and show them how to regulate themselves. Give them an outline explaining how they are feeling, so that it’ll be easy for them to handles their emotions in the future, in a way that is socially appropriate.
- STOPPING THEM FROM MAKING MISTAKES
It is hard watching your kid fail, mess something up, or getting rejected. A lot of parents rush in to save their children before they fall when this happens. Not allowing them to make mistakes, deprives them of the opportunity of learning to bounce back.
Whether your kid gives the wrong question in their math test, or before a big game of soccer they forget their cleats, mistakes are their greatest teacher in life. Every mistake they make helps them build mental strength, so that next time they can do better.
ALLOWING THEM TO ESCAPE RESPONSIBILITY
You might believe that chores will give your kids more stress and weigh them down, however helping at home will make them even more responsible humans.
Doing work that is age-appropriate will help them feel accomplished and have a sense of mastery. So anytime you tell your kid to take out the trash or do the laundry, just know that these responsibilities are ways by which they see themselves as people who are competent and capable.