Monday, May 2, 2011

Self-esteem is a major key to success! The development of a positive self concept/ healthy self esteem is extremely important to happiness & success!

Self esteem boosts personality development

Self-esteem is a major key to success. The development of a positive self concept or healthy self esteem is extremely important to happiness and success of children and teenagers. This is very important even for the adults.

All humans have a need to be respected. Also known as the 'belonging need', esteem represents the normal human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People need to engage themselves in something to gain recognition and have an activity or activities that give them a sense of contribution, to feel accepted and valued, be it a profession or hobby. Imbalances at this level can result in low self esteem or an inferiority complex.

In other words, self esteem is how we feel about ourselves and our behaviour clearly reflects those feelings. According to eminent psychologists, the first five years of any human is the deciding factor or the best period of life.

Our behaviour reflects how we feel about ourselves

During this period the child should make his path to high self esteem. For example a child with high self esteem will later be able to:
* act independently
* assume responsibility
* take pride in his accomplishments
* tolerate frustration
* attempt new tasks and challenges
* handle positive and negative emotions
* offer assistance to others

On the other hand, a child with low self-esteem will:
* avoid trying new things
* feel unloved and unwanted
* blame others for his own shortcomings
* feel or pretend to feel emotionally indifferent
* be unable to tolerate normal level of frustration
* look down on his own talents and abilities
* be easily influenced

Parents, more than anyone else can promote their child's self esteem. Most parents do it without even realizing that their words and actions have great impact on how their child or teenager feels about himself.

Suggestions for boosting self esteem
When you come across something commendable about your child, mention it to him. A mother of two daughters aged 11 and 13 in Kamburupitiya maintains a note book to record all good deeds of her daughters, each marked with a star. At the end of the month she counts the stars and rewards each child accordingly.

But in our country, a majority of parents are often quick to express their disappointment, but do not get around to commending their children. Children do not know when you are feeling good about them and they need to hear it from you. Especially in the mornings as children get ready to go to school, they could hear only the negative and frustrating comments of parents. Parents forget that children remember positive statements.

They store them up and 'replay' these statements to themselves. Practice giving your child words of encouragement.

Praise should be in public and discipline in private. Use 'descriptive praise' to let your child know when they are doing something well. You must of course be in the habit of noticing situations in which your child is doing a good or displaying talent.

When your child completes a task or chore you could say, "I really like the way you arranged your room. You found a place for everything and put each thing in its place." This is Seiton.

When you observe them showing a talent you may say, "That song you sung a little while ago was great. You really have a talent for music." Don't be afraid to praise them, even in front of family or friends. Use praise to point out positive traits. For instance, "You are a very kind" or, "I like the way you stick to things even when it's tough." You can even praise a child for something he did not do by saying "I really liked how you accepted 'no' for an answer without losing your temper."

Teach your child to practice making positive self statements. Self talk is very important. Psychologists have found that negative self talk is behind depression and anxiety. What we think determines how we feel and how we feel determines how we behave. Therefore, it is important to teach children to be positive about how they 'talk to themselves'.

Arrange some kind of tapes for your child to listen on 'Self image for children' or 'Successful teens'. These tapes combine relaxation techniques along with positive self statements and mental pictures to help kids and teens develop their self esteem.

Criticism that takes the form of ridicule or shame should be avoided. There is no argument that sometimes it becomes necessary to criticize a child's actions and the parents have every right to do so. When, however the criticism is directed at the child's personality, it can easily turn into ridicule. It is important to use 'I statements' rather than 'You statements' when criticising. For instance say, "I would like you to keep your clothes in your closet or drawers not lying all over your room," rather than saying "Why are you such a lazy slob? Can't you take care of anything?"

Teach your child about decision making and to recognize when he or she has made a good decision. Have you noticed that Children make decisions? The reality is that they make decisions all the time, but often are not aware that they are doing so. There are a number of ways parents can help children improve their ability to consciously make wise decisions.

1. Help the child clarify the problem that is creating the need for a decision. Ask him questions that pinpoint how he see, hear and feel about a situation and what may need to be changed.

2. Brainstorm the possible solutions. Usually there is more than one solution or choice to a given dilemma and the parent can make an important contribution by pointing out this fact and by suggesting alternatives if the child has none.

3. Allow the child to choose one of the solutions only after fully considering the consequences. The best solution will be one that solves the problem and simultaneously makes the child feel good about him or herself.

4. Later join the child in evaluating the results of that particular solution. Did it work out well? Or did it fail? If so, why? Reviewing the tactics will equip the child to make a better decision the next time around. Develop a positive approach to providing structure for the child. All kids and teens need to accept responsibility for their behaviour. They should learn self discipline.

To help children learn self discipline, the parent needs to adopt the role of coach or teacher rather than that of disciplinarian and punisher. Learn the 'Three Fs' of positive parenting. (Discipline should be fair, firm and friendly).


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