Thursday, August 02, 2007

A child's self esteem - dealing with mistakes

How best to deal with a child who has made a mistake is a question that recurs over and over for most parents. After all, we all make mistakes. Some of us are able to forgive ourselves more readily than others. I have real trouble with this myself. During childhood, I was taught over and over about sin and punishment; and even now when I make a mistake I am almost completely unable to forgive myself.
Some ideas to consider when you want to take your child's future self esteem into account when you reprimand them to discuss their mistakes with them:
1. If you need to reprimand a child for a mistake, be careful to focus on the behavior and not the child. What a child did may have been misguided or plain naughty, but that does not mean the child himself is naughty through and through - so always make sure your language reflects that.
2. ALWAYS give a child the opportunity to explain his mistake and give you his side of the story.
3. Give a child the space and time to learn from his mistake and choose how to apologise in his own way whenever possible. If you constantly rush in with instructions on saying "sorry", you are not letting him learn how to apologise in his own way.
4. Represent mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve. Do not allow your child to see a mistake as a reflection that he is "useless" or "bad".
5. Point out to your child that everyone makes mistakes. Encourage him to forgive others for their mistakes and - just as importantly - make sure that he learns how to forgive HIMSELF when he makes a mistake.
Wishing all children all over the world happiness and a high self esteem!

No comments: