A child’ self-worth and overall confidence can have a great impact on his progression throughout the various stages of development and maturation. As clinicians, parents, and teachers, it is essential to realize how much of a role we actually play in shaping the thriving of our youths. Our precious children are constantly listening, paying attention and soaking up adult dialogue like a sponge and internalizing what is being transmitted to them. The words used toward children can either facilitate or impede their progress into adults. The language children are programmed to believe about themselves can create a self fulfilling prophecy for them and determine the overall outcome of the way they view their self worth. If children are to have a satisfying, fulfilling and productive future, their self- esteem must be protected and nurtured. We must remember that children are our most valuable assets; they represent our future, our society, and ultimately — the continuation of our human race.
- choose your words wisely
- pay your child, student, client compliments daily
- praise children for a job well done from early on
- encourage them to verbalize their attributes
- criticize or name call
- dismiss their dreams as foolish or unimportant
- ever get too busy to pay attention to them
- forget to seek positive outlets so your child can showcase their talents and aptitudes
Do choose your words wisely
Our children can be seen as blank slates and we as adults representing the sum of their experiences contributing toward their internalization of “words they pick up” toward the completion of their tabula rasa. We must be extremely mindful of the words we use when speaking to their self concept, realizing that we are influencing them to write their internal dialogue and self talk from very early on. For example, rather than saying, “You make stupid mistakes in math, say, “It is much gentler to say something like, “It is interesting how you get the really tough problems right and miss the easier ones.”
Do pay your child, student, client compliments daily
Find the time to point out a good quality in the child daily, and reinforce for them their strengths so that they may be able to hear this positivity through repetition, become comfortable in their own skin, and be more eager to achieve more once they can see themselves through the eyes of the adults around them. These affirmations can have a tremendous effect, since it is difficult for children to formulate an opinion of themselves; they often rely upon the feedback they receive from adults around them and cues they take in from the environment, such as applause, smiles, and hugs.
Do praise children for a job well done from early on
It is very important that no good deed go unnoticed. A child must be recognized for his/her accomplishments. No matter how small or insignificant it may seem to us, the child is constantly craving for the approval of elders, and phrases like, “Good Job!” “Well Done!” and “I am so proud of you!” can go a really long way and create the building blocks for a child’s self worth. Each time you pat a child on the back, he/she in turn does the same and this begins the formation of self esteem.
Do encourage them to verbalize their attributes
Once the child has been taught this language and internal dialogue, they are ready to verbalize it with their own mouths. This will become the way they will view themselves and contribute to society as a result thereof. Have the child write down their five best qualities and recite them daily, so as to ingrain their positive self image creating for resilience and confidence.
Do not criticize or name call
Name calling can be extremely painful for a youth who is desperately seeking the social approval of those around them. Verbal insults of any kind can cause the child to retreat and think very low of themselves, causing them to take a completely different path than they may have originally taken. Talk to your children with tender love and care. Teachers and therapists must be aware of the language they use to boost a child in all instances so as to not harm them psychologically or emotionally in any way. Verbal abuse can leave long-lasting scars and should not be taken lightly. Think before you speak!
Do not dismiss their dreams as foolish or unimportant
A child’s dream is what propels them to strive and succeed. Their vision is theirs and they are entitled to it. Don’t ever stifle that sweet innocence by crushing their dreams or telling them they can’t achieve what they are hoping for in their lives. The little inner voice inside them just might be right, or at the very worst, it forces them to work toward a goal and become something else in the process. An active, imaginative, busy child is a child who stays out of trouble!
Do not ever get too busy to pay attention to them
Parents’ involvement is of paramount importance regarding a child’s/adolescent’s well-being and performance in school. This positive parental involvement can definitely exert a significant impact on the child as a whole, even in terms of interactions among peers.
Do not forget to seek positive outlets so your child can showcase their talents and aptitudes
Joining of a club, group or positive extracurricular activity will have a direct effect on the children’s overall well being. It will increase their self-esteem, social skills, and reduce their chances of depression and inclination toward substance abuse.
Via positive reinforcement, strength based therapy and promoting socialization along with several group activities, children can become the most productive, capable citizens they can be as opposed to engaging in a life of crime, recklessness and self-pity. We will strive to create an environment where they can grow, thrive and succeed by improving their self-worth, and giving them a sense of purpose and providing a safe, confidential forum in which to discuss their fears, feelings, hopes and dreams. Many organizations will also serve to provide a positive outlet for children to release their energy through sports and other social interactive activities.