Parenthood is a constant question with no definite answer. Will this benefit my child? How will my choices and actions affect them in the future? The truth is, everyone is doing their best. And as a parent trying their best, you must understand that your child is also doing their best. In your efforts to push them to success, you may be hurting their self-esteem  in the process.
Expectation Isn’t Everything
All parents want what is best for their kids, and for them to have the opportunities that they didn’t. Or perhaps they just want them to follow in their footsteps to achieve the level of greatness that they have, or better. That’s why they choose to instill those values in them at an early age. To work hard, and to do well.
Children absolutely need that encouragement and that support to excel and flourish. But there definitely is a limit. When the need for success is taking a toll on your child’s happiness,  parents need to look at the bigger picture here. Their personal well-being is more important than achieving a perfect score. Parents’ needs for their flawless success could be blinding them from their deflating ego. While children need their parents’ support to thrive, they need it even more when they fail.
We all excel in different forms of intelligence.
This unnerving need to succeed, achieve, and win can have some very negative effects on a developing child’s well-being. They will harbor this supposed value throughout their lives, leaving them completely devastated in the event that they inevitably fail. College students especially struggle with this when they are unable to achieve sometimes unrealistic expectations.
This negative reaction to failure is an indication of low self-esteem, which is a learned reaction that deepens over time. To these kids, it is completely unacceptable and they are less of a person for making a mistake.
What these children never learned, because their parents may have not been aware, is that there are nine types of intelligence’s. Just because an individual does not excel in one area does not mean that they are unintelligent or incapable.
- Nature Intelligence
- Musical Intelligence
- Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
- Existential Intelligence
- Interpersonal Intelligence
- Bodily-Kinetic Intelligence
- Linguistic Intelligence
- Personal Intelligence
- Spatial Intelligence
If your child is struggling academically, look at their strengths and weaknesses. Help them to excel in the areas that naturally “click” with them, and get them extra help where they might come up short. Consider your own strengths and weaknesses, are they similar to your children?
Pressuring the children can cause them not to trust their parents.
Although parents may think they are disciplining their kids for the good, they could actually be doing them more damage than good. Because these children are intimidated by their parents, they are less likely to approach them during a time of need.
Children may assume that their parents lack all capability of understanding, so instead of asking your permission for anything, they will sneak around. Children of strict parents tend to become masterfully manipulative and deceitful; a well honed skill that they acquired after years of tyrannical oppression.
This lack of trust is incredibly damaging to an emotionally developing individual. They need an environment where they are allowed to make choices, and don’t question if they’ll receive their parent’s support if they make a mistake.
There are some methods to help nurture children’s self esteem.
It can be difficult to watch from the passenger side when all you want to do is grab the wheel. But you’ve raised a very capable little human, and you need to let them fall a few times so they know how to pick themselves back up. Here are a few tips  to help them learn for themselves and build up their confidence.
Praise them for their efforts, not their outcomes.
The common term “ya win some ya loose some” takes strong precedence here. Because although it is cliché, the fact that they tried really is the most important aspect of all. What techniques did they use in the process? What are some ways that they overcame obstacles and thought outside of the box? These are the variables that you need to focus on, so that next time they will do better. Praise them for those little accomplishments along the way. Next time they will take them so much further.
Let them fail and own the consequences.
The best way to learn is by experience. You can tell someone not to do something time and time again, but that curiosity will get the best of them eventually. Instead of sheltering and shielding them, allow them to make some mistakes. Allow them to fail. Let them find their own way to absolve the situation or at least learn from it.
This will help them to build their confidence and self awareness. It hurts to watch them fall, but think of how proud you will be when they dust themselves off and outsmart the odds.
Don’t focus on the negatives, look for the strengths.
Remember what we spoke about the nine intelligence’s? Well, they’re making a comeback. Instead of focusing on what your child cannot do, help them search for what they can. They’re not a failure because they’re not an all-star athlete like their parent. Perhaps they are book smart or artistically talented instead. Help them to identify these strengths and nurture them. You will have a common goal, and it will only bring you closer.
Give them responsibilities.
By doing so, you are putting your trust in them to do a job well done. It is now their personal responsibility to complete these tasks, which gives them a sense of obligation and achievement.
Home is where the heart is.
Make sure that they know no matter what, home is where they can feel sake. Home is where they are accepted, and where they are loved. Always take the time to show interest and affection to your children. Let them know all of the qualities that you love about them, and ask them to name what they like about themselves. Practicing love and self-love is the best thing you can do for their emotional well being.
Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io
|||^||Cardinal Glennon: Parents can influence child’s self-esteem|
|||^||KidsHealth: Developing Your Child’s Self-Esteem|
|||^||Skyview High School: The Nine Types of Intelligence|
|||^||Developmental Psychology at Vanderbilt: Instilling Self-Esteem in Children|