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Self Esteem & Disciplining Children


How To Boost Self-Esteem While Disciplining Your Child

It happens from time to time: Your child will do something wrong when attempting to complete a task or will do something that he or she was not supposed to do.

Most parents’ first reaction will be to come down hard on their child and really punish him or her for doing that task incorrectly or doing something that is considered inappropriate.  They’ll often do this out of anger for the child doing the task incorrectly or doing an inappropriate action, plus do it out of fear because the parents are desperate to keep the child from displaying this type of behavior or even dangerous action ever again.

While it is certainly important to keep a child from doing an inappropriate or dangerous action again, there are really two ways to do it: One way will help to lower and even destroy the child’s self-esteem, while the other way will help to raise and strengthen the child’s self-esteem.

The way to lower and even destroy your child’s self-esteem when they do something wrong is to call your child names and to berate him or her for doing the wrong action or doing a task incorrectly.  Calling your child “stupid” or “ignorant,” telling them that they are “not good at anything,” and saying that he/she is “impossible” will only reinforce inferiority and damage their self-esteem.

This will only increase the chances that the child will lose confidence in their own abilities for future tasks and either make them want to avoid doing those tasks for fear of failing to do them properly. It could cause them to revolt and be difficult when confronted with difficult tasks because of the negative experience they suffered before from doing a similarly difficult task incorrectly.

For instance, say your 7-year-old son is learning how to bag groceries properly, and he puts the jugs of milk on top of the fruits and vegetables that are on the bottom of the bag.  As a result, the fruits and vegetables are bruised and battered, making them less than ideal for consumption.  You scold the child, saying, “You dummy: You don’t put anything heavy on top of delicate fruits and vegetables.”  Your son begins to cry because you called him “a dummy,” and he runs to his room.

Conversely, a parent can discipline their child in such a way that the child can learn not to do a certain action or do a certain task in an inappropriate way, yet still be able to boost their self-esteem at the same time.

It is important for a parent to NEVER call any child names like “stupid,” “ignorant,” or “idiot”. These names will only encourage a negative perception of oneself, causing the child to doubt their abilities in the future when dealing with challenging tasks, exactly what the parent wants to avoid.  Instead, you want to avoid calling names, praise their effort, and point out exactly why what they did was not the best course of action and what to do instead.  Then, you give them another chance to do the correct course of action.

Referring back to the earlier example, you take your 7-year-old son grocery shopping and ask him to load the groceries into bags.  He puts the milk jugs on top of the fruits and vegetables, bruising them.  You notice this and tell him that he did a decent job for his first time, but point out that the fruits and vegetables get bruised from having heavy objects on top of them.

Then, you show him that putting the milk jugs in first are best, followed by the fruits and vegetables.  You then let him do it right away to get a feel for what is proper.  Then, go to the grocery store again the next day or soon thereafter and allow him to do it again to show that he has learned how to do the action properly.

This will help to reinforce a positive self-esteem for your child and let them know that you can make mistakes, learn from them, and still have confidence in their abilities to solve challenging tasks.  This will help to serve them throughout the rest of their lives.  By helping to encourage their self-esteem, your children will have a much better chance of adapting to challenging problems throughout life and making the best decisions possible to face and overcome them.

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