Monday, August 4, 2008

Building Self Confidence In children

The other day I had gone to this shop to get a few papers xeroxed. I had gone to this shop once before this and there was a young man who had done it quite fast and so I went to this place again. This time I found a little girl of eleven behind the counter. Thinking that I had to wait for the man to come I enquired as to how long I had to wait? The little girl asked me for the papers and started xeroxing my papers. Her movements where so precise that I had no doubt that she had been doing this for a long time. She was efficiency personified.

Not only this she was handling other customers coming there to call as there was an STD booth attached and they were also selling SIM cards and other items. This little girl was handling everything with ease. I thought she would be the right kind of person to train some of the inefficient people that I had come across. For that matter I thought even I could not have done what this child was doing with such great efficiency. What struck me about her was her immense self confidence.

That set me wondering about how important it is to build up confidence in children. The dictionary meaning of self confidence is relying on one's own powers. It is something that we as parents need to inculcate in our children. Here are a few thoughts that I have as to what might lead to low confidence in children and what we as parents could do .

Some of the things that lead to low self confidence in children are, parents being over protective about their children. These parents feel that they have to protect their children all the time. They feel children are incapable of taking care of themselves. Such children cannot take decisions on their own. They look for their parents approval for every little thing.

Another thing would be when parents interfere in every little thing, whether during their child's play time or study time or eating time the parents are there behind them 24 x7. They also feel very satisfied that they are being around their children all the time and doing everything possible. But here again all the decisions are taken by the parents and the children are just supposed to toe the line.

I have come across children who are over confident too. Children expecting their parents to do evrything for them. They shout at their parents and demand things and parents give in to their children meekly. Sometimes I have seen parents feeling very proud about it too.Welcome to the world of over indulgent parents. The whims and fancies of the children are catered to in every possible way. We get to see these incidents specially when we visit malls.

Some parents I feel are indifferent. They let their child do whatever they want and are not involved in any thing. Hence the child is confused wondering whether what they are doing is right or wrong.There is no one to guide them. Self confidence is again at stake.

What can one do to boost the child's self confidence? First I feel their self esteem has to be high. Children are to be cherished like little flowers. Too much of water and sunlight will wilt the flowers. Too less will again lead to same result. The name of the game is "Balancing the Act".

Let the children take decisions on their own. This should start from their childhood. This can be as simple as what they would like to do, when, where and how. Respect their view points and Listen. If however we know for sure their decision is going to go wrong then we have to learn to put it across in such a way that at the end of the explanation say " don't you think so?" or" what do you feel?" instead of saying outright "I know for sure your decision is not right."

Allow the child to make mistakes. He will learn more out of this. Let the child take responsibility for his or her actions. If the child has done something wrong then do not criticise nor as we are habituated to say, do not say "I told you so". I am sure we have all made mistakes and are still making mistakes. Just because we feel we have this power over our children it does not give us any right to boss over them or lower their self esteem. Just accept and move over.

Entrust a few tasks to your child . Something which will make him feel grown up and big. When visiting the book store or buying grocery you can ask the child to choose fresh veggies for you or decide on a book..... ofcourse within a budget. The main thing here is they decide. Appreciate them for good work done .

Hats off to the little girls mother who has done her job of parenting so well.

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