How To Increase Your Child's Self Esteem.
I think most of us parents worry about our children’s
morals and for them to grow up into fine honest respectful adults. In our
effort to make them perfect, even though we are not perfect, we tend to be
too critical of our kids. I know I used to correct the minor errors when my
kids drew pictures, cleaned up their rooms and such. They would bring home
a school paper that they were proud of doing. I would say what a great job
but then point out the minor errors. If they do a job that is good for
their age, then praise them and drop it. They will make careless mistakes
in their school work and chores around the house… just like we make careless
mistakes at our work or personal checkbook.
One of our sons took violin lessons at age 5. The
Suzuki instructor told us never to criticize… only praise him that he is
doing better. So the first lesson he grabbed the violin and bow in his
fists and scratched the strings. Sounded like a cat dieing. She clapped
and said you are doing well. I’m thinking “I paid $15 dollars for this?”.
We go lessons once a week but the parent has to do the lesson the other 6
days. So as time goes my wife performs most of the lessons. Occasionally I
would be off and do the lesson. Being a doctor and needing to be precise, I
tended to be more critical. The violin is hard since just a few degrees off
and you are on the wrong string. So I tended to fuss at him: “You finger
is on the wrong string! Move it over!!!” and his reaction was to put it
down and frown. Then I would remember the teacher’s instructions so I would
say: “you were close …. Keep up the good work. You are doing better.”
After 6 months he was playing Twinkle Twinkle flawlessly and in 2 years
playing Bach and Beethoven. Never being critical… just encouraging him to
do better. So when your child tries to pick up their room and misses some
items on the floor, don’t be critical of the errors and mistakes. He did do
a good job for an 8 yr old. He isn’t 25 yr old. Just ignore the mistakes
and complement him. Go in there later and pick up the things he missed. Or
go in there later and pickup the things they missed. Compliment them that
they did a good job of cleaning the room and they will continue to do a
better job as they get older.
Never say anything negative in your child’s hearing
range. They hear every word even though they look like they are not
listening and just playing over there. It really is more effective in what
you say to others in your child’s presence rather than what you say directly
to them. And you should tell them you think they are smart, etc. But if
you are talking to Grandma on the phone or in person telling the bad things
you child has done, they are getting the impression of poor self-esteem.
But if you are bragging about things they did well, then they are over there
thinking that they are a wonderful person. If you need to complain and
gripe about the bad things, do it when they absolutely cannot hear you.
Also if the child is starting to lie or do things that
are not proper and moral, then brag to everyone in their presence how they
are honest and never lie. Now they have to try to live up to your
expectations. And you are drilling into their mind that “I am honest and
don’t lie”. We tend to complain how the child lies all the time and you are
instilling that attitude into their minds. You could try the reverse and
brag how good they are to other people in their presence.