We all want our children to be forthright, confident people, not shy and retiring. It’s a delicate balance to make. After all, we don’t want to be over protective, and it’s important to let our kids find their own way in life. So what can we do to help our children develop in a way that is best for them?
Think About Your Compliments
It all starts when they’re really little. You need to think that if your kids are used to hearing “that’s great” every time they build a tower out of bricks, or they kick a ball, and then they may struggle to understand when it’s actually worth celebrating their achievements. Instead of lavishing praise on them every time they brush their teeth, say “thank you.” It also helps to be specific if they’ve done something that is worth noting. For example, if they’ve done a drawing, you could point out the nice use of a certain color.
Let Them Interact More
If you’ve got a young child (more specifically, an only child) and they don’t interact with people their own age, it can be a harsh lesson in life. If you keep them in their own bubble where they are the focus and attention, it can be a shock to the system when they realize that they’re not the most important person in the world. Conflict is a natural part of life, and if you let them make their own decisions without any recrimination, it will be a big dent to their pride. It’s never too late. Even if you have tweenagers, you can enroll them in debate summer camps or try them with an after-school drama class. The more different types of people they can interact with, the sooner they will understand the concept of conflict. Conflict is really important because it teaches us all the skill of resilience. And this will only be achieved if we do the next point…
Let Them Make Mistakes
Decisions and mistakes are all part of life, and while it can be very demoralizing to constantly make mistakes, this is where you can help them to focus on the glass being half full rather than the other way around! Because if they come home and didn’t get the lead in the school play, it doesn’t help for you to say to them “well, I think you’re a star!” Instead, you can say something like “I can see that you’re disappointed, why don’t we come up with a plan so you can get the part you want next time.” By protecting them from their failures, they will never learn the value of problem-solving. It’s difficult to strike the right balance between being “too sensitive” or hardening up every time they get a knockback, but mistakes are very important to learn. From the very start, you can tell them not to touch something, but if they don’t know why they just feel that they’re being told off for being naturally curious. Mistakes are important.