As a girl that struggled with confidence when I was growing up, it’s important for me to ensure that my daughter doesn’t face the same challenges. I know how terrible it feels to be riddled by low self-esteem and doubt. It has dragged me to dark places. I have also passed up some opportunities because of thinking that I am not good enough.
Our children receive a lot of messages daily, either through TV or social media. It’s easy for them to feel like they aren’t good enough when they see kids their age wearing the latest designer clothes, going on holidays, or looking flawless.
So we must raise our children to know and feel like they are good enough.
But how can we do this?
Teach your child affirmations from a young age
The mind is a powerful thing. It can either aid you at doing very well or push you to lose all your self-esteem. If you keep getting constant messages that you are ugly and useless, this gets imprinted in your mind and you end up believing it.
This is why affirmations are so powerful.
You need to imprint positive messages in your child’s brain. Teach your child to say to themselves every day:
“I am beautiful.
“I am strong.
“I am an amazing person.
“I am enough.”
You can print out a list of affirmations and put them in their room and make it a part of their everyday routine. Children must think positively as that sets the foundation for how they will face the world, face challenges, and interact with other people.
Tip: Children emulate what they see their parents do. So, create an affirmation list for yourself also and make it part of your morning and evening routine. It will be easier to teach them affirmations that way.
Recognize and appreciate your children’s effort
Children love attention. I see how my two-year-old swings her dress around after she gets dressed. Without even saying it, she wants to be told she looks pretty. It’s easy to be consumed with everything and miss those small moments where they yearn for acknowledgment. Parents need to be present enough to identify these moments and reciprocate.
We also need to congratulate our children when they do well, or when they lose at something. Failure can dampen a child’s confidence. Feeling like you are not good at sports or a board game can have immediate, but also long-term effects on our children. So it is important to recognise when our children have made an effort but were unsuccessful. Encourage them to know that you admire them for their attempt and failure right now doesn’t mean failure all the time.
Do not criticise, provide feedback
We need to learn the difference between criticising and giving constructive feedback. One has a very negative tone. Watch how you speak to your children when they have performed poorly at school.
“You are such a disappointment” is very different from “why do you think you did poorly this term”. The latter allows for open communication and the conversation can have a positive build-up and allow for a healthy discussion.
The experience of being a child is as new to them, as the experience of raising them is to us. We are all just figuring it out as we go.
So let’s positively reinforce our children and let them know that they can be anything and do anything that they want to.