Building self-confidence in your child
Self-esteem is your child’s passport to lifetime mental health and social happiness. It’s the foundation of a child’s well-being and the key to success as an adult. At all ages, how you feel about yourself affects how you act. Think about a time when you were feeling really good about yourself. You probably found it much easier to get along with others and feel good about them.
Self-image is how one perceives oneself. The child looks in the mirror and likes the person he sees. He looks inside himself and is comfortable with the person he sees. He must think of this self as being someone who can make things happen and who is worthy of love. Parents are the main source of a child’s sense of self-worth.
Lack of a good self-image very often leads to behavior problems. Most of the behavioral problems that I see for counseling come from poor self-worth in parents as well as children. Why is one person a delight to be with, while another always seems to drag you down? How people value themselves, get along with others, perform at school, achieve at work, and relate in marriage, all stem from strength of their self-image.
Healthy self-worth doesn’t mean being narcissistic or arrogant, it means having a realistic understanding of one’s strengths and weaknesses, enjoying the strengths and working on the problem areas. Because there is such a strong parallel between how a person feels about himself and how a person acts, helping your child build self-confidence is vital to discipline.
Throughout life your child will be exposed to positive influences builders and negative influences breakers. Parents can expose their child to more builders and help him work through the breakers.
1. PRACTICE ATTACHMENT PARENTING
Put yourself in the place of a baby who spends many hours a day in a caregiver’s arms, is worn in a sling, breastfed on cue, and her cries are sensitively responded to. How do you imagine this baby feels?
This baby feels loved; this baby feels valuable. Ever had a special day when you got lots of strokes and showered with praise? You probably felt like queen for a day and hopefully you behaved accordingly. The infant on the receiving end of this high-touch style of parenting develops self-worth. She likes what she feels.
Responsiveness is the key to infant self-value. Baby gives a cue, for example, crying to be fed or comforted. A caregiver responds promptly and consistently. As this cue-response pattern is repeated many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times during the first year baby learns that her cues have meaning: “Someone listens to me, therefore, I am worthwhile.” A stronger self emerges.