Written = Seonwoo Hyeonjeong (Clinical Psychologist/Mental Health Clinical Psychologist)
As the children of acquaintances grow older, the types of questions they ask seem to change. When children were young, there were many questions about whether there were developmental problems, and during infancy and early school age, there were many questions about learning, such as English nursery schools or agwons. As more children enter the upper grades of elementary school, they hear many new questions.
“What can I do to improve my child’s self-esteem?”
That was an interesting question. He felt that the parents around them knew what was most important for their child. ‘Self-esteem’ feels like it has no substance, but in reality, I think it’s the most important thing for a growing child.
Children with high self-esteem can discover and focus on what they like and do well. Also, in the process of communicating with friends, we form good relationships by adjusting our thoughts and emotions properly. It is a separate matter to study well, but a child can grow up to be a bright and healthy child.
The reason why a child with high self-esteem can grow up to be a healthy child is because they have confidence in themselves. A self-confident child knows what to do and what to keep busy with pleasure. And while enjoying the feeling itself, you will be able to pioneer your career path.
Even in relation to other children, they accept the other person’s intentions as they are without misunderstanding or distorting them, and they are good at expressing their thoughts or controlling their emotions. This is because you are very aware of the effect your actions have on the other person, and you also have faith in what kind of response will come back from the other person. As a result, it is sure to be popular among friends.
How does a child develop self-esteem?
In psychology, if you are asked to choose the most important thing in forming a child’s self-image, of course, ‘parents’ will be the first. This is because parents are the most important others who are always by your side from the moment your child is born.
Children create images of themselves through their parents, and form their beliefs about others through relationships with their parents. In psychology, this process is called ‘mirroring’, which means that we form an image of ourselves and the world through reactions from significant others, like looking at ourselves in a mirror. Healthy parental reflection helps children build a positive and strong self-image, which develops into self-esteem.
Meditation does not happen at a specific time. It is something that occurs naturally throughout everyday life and appears from all aspects of parenting.
Listen sincerely to what your child has to say
Parents who respect their children do not dismiss their children’s words as just ‘children’s words’. Always listen with genuine interest in why the child said it and what it means. This is evident from the non-verbal attitude of parents. While the child is talking, stop what you are doing and adjust your body direction to the child, lower your back to meet the child’s eye level, give a sincere answer and listen at the end even if seems meaningless, etc.
If we look back at our normal appearance for a moment, we can see that there are many cases of unintentionally ignoring the child’s words. Because I have to keep cleaning, I don’t look back at my child, and in a busy state, I don’t make eye contact with my child and answer dryly. So the child can raise his voice and try to get the parent’s attention.
Showing your child that you respect them should start with these small non-verbal gestures.
A negative evaluation doesn’t hurt
Of course, healthy reflection is primarily expressed through language. Of course, you should refrain from ignoring the child. Words that evaluate a child’s own attributes negatively, such as “I knew you’d do that”, “It’s the beginning again”, and “You’re doing that to meet”, are the most dangerous ones. At first, the child will feel depressed and say, ‘I didn’t do that on purpose’ or ‘I’m not that kind of child’, but if these negative evaluations are repeated, words of such settles deeply in the child’s unconscious. .
Of course, parents are people too, and when they get emotional, they may say these hurtful things. If you say something hurtful unintentionally, you must apologize and explain it to your child. In order to take back what you said in anger, you have to explain ‘you’re not that kind of child’ with specific examples that the child has been doing. A mere apology is meaningless.
Involve your child in the decision making process
Parents who respect their children also often ask what their children think. Rather than passively following the rules set by parents, he includes the child as a member of most decision-making processes. In the process, the child naturally feels that he or she plays an important role in the family.
There are endless opportunities for children to be involved in the decision-making process, such as letting children choose the snack menu they want to eat when they are young, and choosing the places they want to travel to when they grow up or choosing the school they they want to eat it. attend We must not forget that children are not our property and that they are important members of our family.
In fact, if you talk like this, there is no skill apart from raising a child’s self-esteem. You can always know that the aspect of respecting the child as a person from the bottom of your heart is the most important thing.
A sincere attitude of respect towards the child is passed on to the child as he is, and as a result, the child learns to care for and love himself.
I am a clinical psychologist working in the Department of Psychiatry. In particular, we focus on child/adolescent mental health, and we welcome communication in this regard.