*My son is so shy; I really have to help him overcome this!*
Being shy is not a disease. We all wish for our kids to be happy, healthy and successful. But the sure shot underlying trick to get there is- boosting their confidence and self esteem right from the start. Kids these days go through the pre-school jitters, bullies and most of all their parent’s expectations to excel in every sphere in their life. This pressure sometimes hampers their self esteem and which needs to be boosted from time to time.
Before I begin, I really need to say this again- Stop making your child the centre of attention at parties and family gatherings. “Can you recite that poem to Aunty” or “Show the new dance moves you just learnt”. I am sure these are a great ways of revising concepts and showcasing their skills but let’s not make this a usual affair at home and pressurise the kids to perform.
One incident I clearly remember, when my son started writing all the alphabets on the board and we all kept praising him every time he did it. Few weeks later, he started making mistakes and missing out a few in between but kept waiting for us to say “good job” which we didn’t of course. We as parents often tend to start over praising kids which acts negatively in the long run. Stop the over praise!
The unnecessary labelling like ‘shy’, ‘nervous’ should be avoided. And do not discuss their weaknesses and shortcomings with friends or even in front of them. Talk about their strengths and accept them the way they are. Praise them for the decisions they make. Kids gain confidence when they see their decisions are being appreciated and encouraged. Try to offer specific feedback. For example- instead of saying that your child’s drawing is gorgeous or extraordinary, you might point out his nice use of colours.
Self esteem in children lowers down when they fail, get bullied or are unable to get the result that is expected out of them So our protective nature hinders in boosting the morale and confidence in children. Kids need to know that it’s okay to fail, and that it’s normal to feel sad, anxious, or angry. We should respect that and let them express their feelings freely. Do not hamper their confidence and personality by scolding or laughing at their mistakes and their failures.
Every child has some special interest or talent. It could be drawing, painting, singing or even cooking. Appreciate it. Showcase their work by saying- “he really loves to practice singing in the mornings” or “her cheese sandwiches are really yummy. They will feel proud of their expertise and are more likely to be successful in other areas of their life.
Don’t stop your kids from dreaming. They need to have a goal in their life. However small it may be, respect their vision for themselves doing something important or fulfilling. Your child may dream of being a rock star (mine does) , an army officer or maybe even an astronaut, don’t try to lower their expectations. Even if they change their mind, the important thing is that they thinking about goals.
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