How to build your child’s character

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'Each milestone has significance and a child must spend time in each phase in order to develop all areas of his/her intellect.'

It is time we took a stand and challenged the socialisation practices imparted to children.

Every child is entitled to feel confident and secure.

It’s true that “God does not make rubbish” and one should not judge a person by the presentation and outward appearance.

Children sometimes believe that they are not wanted and are hated.

What a waste of potential. Children should not be rewarded for their beauty but honesty, courage, loyalty, patience, diligence and other virtues.

So what can we do to enable children to develop formidable characters? The following is a suggested strategy for parents.

iol life 16 may np building character pic Scolding-Child

Children sometimes believe that they are not wanted and are hated.

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EXAMINE VALUES IN YOUR HOUSE

Parents are also products of society. They all want superchildren who will amaze the world.

Parents can be their kid’s worse enemies - yet the home should be the child’s sanctuary and fortress.

They don’t intend rejecting their sons and daughters, and they work hard to conceal these inner thoughts.

The first step in building a child’s self-esteem is for a parent to examine their own feelings.

Did you want a girl instead of a boy? Is your child stupid? Does he embarrass you because of his hyperactivity?

What right have you to demand a superchild when you may be so ordinary yourself?

A child’s self-concept is formed from how you see him.

The child convinced of his parents’ love and respect is inclined to view himself as worthy.

They may know they are loved but not valued and held in high-esteem.

It’s very easy to love and disrespect at the same time.

You may be tense when your child speaks to guests or outsiders.

You butt in to answer for him. You give him a lecture on how to not make a fool of himself.

These are subtle signals that you don’t trust him. Love is a private emotion whereas confidence and admiration have social implications.

Loving your child therefore is only half the task of building self-esteem.

Unless someone believes in a child, the child cannot believe in himself, leaving the world a cold place.

There are five common barriers that cause a child to doubt personal worth, even when deeply loved.

1. Parental insensitivity

Guard what you say in the presence of your child. “He had a high-fever at 5 months and now Tim will not be the same – he’s a dumb one you know”. Sensitivity means tuning in to the thoughts and feelings of your child, listening to the cues they are giving us.

2. Fatigue and time pressure

Dad may be holding two jobs and mom does not have time. She buys take-always and hope the children stay out of her hair.

Little Jim says to his mom “Look what I have drawn.” She says “Uh huh”.

Parents are always too busy and who is the loser?

“Play a game with me, dad” but dad is pooped. Besides he has a briefcase full of reports to complete. Children just don’t fit into a “to do list”.

It takes time to be an effective parent when children are small. Indifference can be interpreted by the child as a lack of love and respect.

Slow down, parents!! Your children can be gone so quickly. I am not saying sacrifice your careers or jobs but your children must fit in somewhere

3. Guilt

Parenthood is a very guilt- producing affair.

The conflict of interest between the needs of children and the demands of adult responsibilities always strike some level of guilt.

Parents are also constantly questioning their actions. Was I too hard? Did I overreact? Did I cause the accident?

Parents engage in self-doubts and agonise over their decisions, even when it is not their fault.

They misinterpret disaster as punishment for their past sins – “the karmic effect”.

Guilt can interfere with healthy parenting. It can cut the joy out of parenting.

Also children carry the guilt in some hidden way – and question “is it my fault?”. Guilt can be a hindrance to self-respect.

Parents need to confront their guilt. “Is your guilt really valid?” “Can I do anything about it? If so, how?” None of us is perfect!!

4. Rivals for love

How often have I heard the confessions of anger when a baby brother was born and the silent loathing?

“Mommy I am not being ugly but I wish Betty was not born!”

Most children will not describe this feeling. But parents need to be perceptive to the feelings of their older child. They feel replaced!

Bring feelings out in the open and help the child verbalise them.

5. Set rules and boundaries

Meet the child’s needs that observe the status of her being older.

We must not look too soon in the child for the person he will later become. It is unfair and damaging to judge too soon.

Be patient and give your child time to mature, and the privilege to be a child. - The Post

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