All parents want their children to be happy, well adjusted, independent individuals who are in charge of their own destiny. It’s what we would want for ourselves after all, and those attributes are certainly some of the traits we’d love to know our children are endowed with. But we all make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes can have an effect on the way our children turn out. Of course we don’t mean to, but as they say, ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’.
You can’t force shy children to become confident, gregarious outgoing individuals overnight, but you can teach them confidence and self security, it’s just a case of breaking habits and changing points of view.
Don’t Pass On Phobias
When they’re born, babies are only frightened of falling and loud noises. All the other phobias that they experience are leaned responses. If you’re scared of spiders your child is almost guaranteed to be as well. If you can act not being frightened around them, your children won’t pick up the fear. If you can’t even pretend not to be afraid, look into cognitive behavioural therapy for yourself. If you can cure your phobia everybody wins.
Lay Off The Pressure
It can be incredibly frustrating to watch your own child hang around the outsides of a social group but forcing them to get involved is counterproductive and damaging. If their natural response to groups is reluctance, then telling them that it is ‘wrong’ to be shy will only make them feel bad about themselves. Children will naturally flock together, but sometimes it just takes time.
Teach your child to give compliments, so long as they mean it. In How to Win Friends and Influence People, Carnegie tells us we should always give compliments to everybody, even if it isn’t any advantage to us. It just makes people’s days and they’re better disposed toward us in the future.
Back complimenting behaviour up with examples. Every night, when you tell your kids ‘goodnight’ add ‘you’re awesome’ or remind them something they did that impressed you that day. Such a lovely thing to go to sleep on.
Sharing Really is Caring
Teaching your kids to share has to be one of the most important factors in creating a balanced, likeable child who will grow into an adult with similar qualities. As well as sharing, it’s also important to teach them that sometimes other kids won’t want to share, and that’s OK too. They might be doing something really important or just having a bad day and want to keep things to themselves.
‘Helicopter parenting’ refers to parents who hover around their children when they’re at play, ready and waiting for something to go wrong so they can dash in and come to the rescue. Ostensibly the child is confident that they won’t come to any harm, however, helicoptering actually impedes development as the child never learns from mistakes. Let them do their own thing, let them fall down. They will get up and they will learn what they did wrong and how to avoid repeating it. Of course, you can make sure the toys and other things they’re playing with are safe and good quality. Read reviews on sites like toddlersstuff.com. They also have some useful advice for parents.
The Prize Plaster
Kids do fall over all the time. If they get cuts and grazes, treat plasters like a little prize for being brave. If they’re not afraid of getting hurt then they will be more adventurous and self-confident. Don’t worry that treating plasters as rewards will encourage your children to engage in dangerous risk-taking behaviour; the pain will teach them that it’s not a good idea to be repeated, they just won’t be afraid to try new things.
Don’t Fight Over Food
When they’re little, children have virtually no control over anything that happens to them. One thing they can try to control is their diet. To the frustration of every parent, a food that was perfectly acceptable one week will be the cause of hours of teatime argument the next. Instead of trying to force a child to eat something they don’t like, simply tell them “you don’t have to eat it”. Rather then prepare a plated meal, serve the elements of the meal separately. If they don’t want cabbage or broccoli, but hey do want carrots and potato, let them choose that and have as much as they want. You won’t have to worry that they’re not getting enough to eat and you won’t be fighting with them every day.
Of course every child is different and any or all of these recommendations might not be suitable for your particular situation, however, it’s worth bearing in mind that in any given child-rearing situation, there are options and the most obvious to you might not always be the way that works best with your kids.A