We are not perfect (nor need it). Supermen and super women do not exist. Sounds obvious, right? Well, if we as adults endowed with presumed maturity have a hard time assuming it, let's imagine what is cooked in the mind of a child when he comes out of that warm family nest that shelters him to face the 'mini-jungle' of the schoolyard .
Mom and dad are not there to cheer her up when she kicks in the door and the ball goes out through the 'corner' at the watchful eye of the fifth malt that shouts at her "what a package you are . " No, Grandma is not going to comfort her by telling her that Dad was just as stuffed when he was little but that, eating well and playing sports, he became a bull. Nor will they be there when they fail again in that math exercise before the laughter of the group of 'popular'.
Then, Pullita to Pullita, one bad day, the girl, who spent the day with the ball stuck to her feet, no longer wants to play football and the boy thinks it is useless to study. How do we recover our children's self-esteem without falling into overprotection? Alba María García Rasero and Rosa María Portero Ruiz, Health Psychologists at the Center for Clinical Psychology (Madrid) help us to undertake this complicated path.What is really self-esteem? Self-esteem is the vision that each one has of himself regarding the different capacities, characteristics and personal resources. It covers all aspects of the person, from the most manifest, external and observable, to the most internal and intimate. On the other hand, self-esteem is affected by the way in which we interact with our environment. In fact, the context in which we grow is the first factor that influences the development of one's vision. It is influenced by internal factors (our thoughts, ideas and beliefs) and external factors (culture, education and values). At what age and why do children begin to 'stop loving each other' despite the absence of a specific age in that 'children stop loving each other', as they turn years they are exposed to more contexts in which they will be evaluated by others and by themselves , and this can affect self-esteem. In childhood, the context of Children are usually reduced to family members, or schoolchildren in case they go to daycare. In this way, the little ones are perceived based on their name, age, physical appearance, etc. That is, they are valued based on very specific aspects in very small contexts. As they grow, they are exposed to more different scenarios and are related to more people. Now we not only meet the family interaction, but there are also the teachers or the family of the other children . In addition, the school context begins to be more complex, since the first homework begins to be sent, the first exams are carried out, etc. This means that the child is increasingly seeing how he develops in different facets , and how others evaluate their performance and compare it with their peers. That is when it begins to be described based on more abstract aspects, such as personality traits. On the other hand, we also have to refer to the links that children establish with their attachment figures. The secure bond is one in which the attachment figures, usually the parents, are present both physically and emotionally when the child resorts to them in difficult situations. We must analyze whether the parents are present when the child begins schooling and the first "serious" crisis situations appear for the child. In conclusion, we can say that there is no specific age at which self-esteem is impaired, but that As the child advances in age, factors that influence it appear. However, the start of schooling and the fact of spending less time with parents can be a turning point if there is no secure link. What does more damage: their opinion of themselves, that of other children or that of parents? First, self-esteem begins to be forged from our childhood. For this reason, the messages we receive from our parents seal the image that, in the future, we have about ourselves . The self-esteem that we constitute as adults is going to depend largely on the bond we have with our parents. A secure attachment generates security and autonomy in our children . In this way, it is essential that parents recognize, understand and forgive the imperfections of their children since they are also human beings like adults, however, self-esteem and self-concept are evolving throughout our lives, either by lived experiences, circumstances or because of the context that surrounds us. Therefore, adolescents have as a reference their peer group to continue building their self-esteem and self-concept . Obviously, their relatives will continue to be important for the evolution of self-esteem, but they will remain in the background. At first, we all need to receive an external feedback of our behavior and qualities (this is essential in the early stages of life, being the parents in charge). The family first, and the environment of equals, then, are the factors that shape the child's self-esteem. Subsequently, it is the child who must give himself objective feedback. The opinion of others (parents and environment) does not hurt us so much if we have developed good self-esteem. The worst judge is always oneself , since poor self-esteem prevails before the positive opinion of others. What can parents do and how should we work with teachers? Broadly speaking, some of the characteristics that help promote self-esteem Positive in children are acceptance, unconditional support and family communication. What should parents do? 1. Do not use labels to define them ("you are a disaster", "you are clumsy"), since this can lead to the child being perceived according to that label and behaving accordingly. 2. Foster a climate of affection in which the child feels loved, safe and accepted. 3. Try to establish a secure bond, that is, be physically and emotionally present when the child requests our help. Do not confuse secure link with overprotection! 4. Highlight, first of all, what it does well to later ask you what is good to change (eg "you have a very tidy desk, congratulations son. Surely you can improve your toys are stored in the closet", instead of, "you are a mess, you have it all thrown away. Order your toys at once") 5. Underline their qualities and adequately say what aspects can be improved, avoiding comparisons with other children. 6. Strengthen achievements and offer solutions to mistakes. If we only criticize some behaviors, this can generate uncertainty and feelings of inferiority. 7. Take your opinion into account and give you responsibilities, so we will be showing you that we trust them. 8. Respect the child, treating him with education. 9. Establish rules and limits. The "democratic" educational style (characterized by the show of affection for the child and the use of norms and limits) is directly related to positive self-esteem. The lack of limits and norms is considered as a form of child abuse. 10. If inappropriate behavior needs to be corrected, describe it objectively and using non-evaluative language. 11 . Make corrections in private, not in front of other children or adults. 12. Try not to overprotect. Do not offer constant compliments for free and, even less, if they are not true. 13. Help the child to be able to be critical of his behavior so that he is able to recognize his limitations by always offering a way to improve. 14 . To favor in the child an assertive communication, that is, that oriented to the defense of their personal rights. And in school? 1. Study and analyze the case of each child. That is, knowing the reality of each student, their qualities and their limitations. 2. Foster acceptance by teachers and students through open communication. 3. Pay special attention to the difficulties and needs to offer help or strengthen other areas (each child has its rhythm and level of maturity) 4. Strengthen the achievements. 5. Do not ridicule or compare with other students. 6. Encourage group work, since greater integration in the classroom is achieved. 7. Strengthen the child's strengths and use them to acquire an active role in the relationship with other children working or playing in a group. And what is the worst? To what extent giving 'flattery' is counterproductive? Flattery is necessary in its proper measure. They have a motivating effect. However, excessive recognition and positive reinforcement can be counterproductive, especially when they are free and under the umbrella of overprotection. There is no one to do everything right. For parents, our children are the best and we expect them to be above others. This is a double-edged sword because, on the one hand, we can be constantly critical and demanding and, on the other, we can continually offer compliments. When we are repeating to our son what he does well, we are sending him the message that he is a kind of superhero and that his peers are inferior to him. Consequently, the child may have trouble relating to his peers. On the other hand, the day will come when he meets someone who tells him that he is human, and that he has virtues and defects like any other person. Then, at that moment, the child may feel that we have been lying to him, which can generate a high level of frustration, rejection and even believe that the world is related through lies. The message that it is perfect it prevents the child from learning the values of sacrifice and effort, and we leave him unable to tolerate frustration. And, finally, having an inflated self-esteem can prevent adequate emotional development .
How to act in specific situations
-The boy is bad playing football, his teammates tell him ... they don't pass him the ball and he retracts.
In case the child does not want to play football, it is advisable not to force the practice of a sport if the child does not like or does not feel comfortable, since it can promote a false concept of inferiority with respect to other partners. It is convenient to look for activities that the child enjoys, feels comfortable and accepted.
In the event that the minor wants to play football, it is advisable to inform the coach of the specific case in order for this type of behavior by the partners to cease.
Always reinforce the child's attempt to improve and convey that the most important thing is to enhance their qualities and adapt to the circumstances and demands of the environment.
Teach the child that we cannot be good at everything, that each one has different qualities.
-The child has plenty of kilos and his classmates start laughing at him ...
Do not give excessive importance to weight but to health in general.
Do not generate obsession regarding weight loss, for example with diets or with the avoidance of caloric foods
Highlight other qualities in regards to your personality style and way of relating to others, and not so much in relation to your physique.
If necessary, inform the school so that teachers can work on this aspect in the classroom.
-The girl has a diction problem and teases.
Do not give excessive importance to the problem of diction to prevent the girl from focusing all her attention on this difficulty.
Try not to identify the girl with the problem of diction, but treat it as another characteristic of it, which can be temporary (in case you work with a specialist).
Make the girl see how different we are and that we all have some aspect that can be classified as a weak point, but that does not make us inferior to others.
Highlight other qualities in regard to their personality style and way of relating to others, not so much in relation to the difficulty of diction.
If necessary, inform the school so that teachers can work on this aspect in the classroom.
NINE GUIDELINES TO REINFORCE OUR CHILDREN
- Strengthen and highlight the virtues fairly.
- Not be critical or demanding without reason or in excess. To propose the "defects" as something to improve, offering the ways to do it.
- Transmit the child that all people show weaknesses, but that fact does not make us inferior.
- Educate in diversity and inclusion.
- Establish limits and norms, and always combine it with affection.
- Try to generate safe links with our children, without falling into overprotection, which leaves them defenseless for life.
- Educate in assertive communication, that is, that oriented to the defense of personal rights and self-affirmation.
- Offer, to the minor, mechanisms and strategies to face conflict and crisis situations in life, as well as in interpersonal relationship problems.
- Do not speak to the child in the third person: better, "I think that ..", "I told you that ...", instead of "Mom has told you ..", "Dad thinks ...
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