With an overwhelming amount of advice out there on what parents should and should not do, and the many contradictory research studies, when it comes down to it, we can all agree that it is all highly relative.
Raising a child to be confident and aspiring to be successful depends on various factors, like their personality, dreams, cultural upbringing, and your own personality as a parent. But there are things that several parents do that can essentially kill their children’s self-confidence and limit their chances of growing up to be successful adults, in their careers or personal lives.
1. Parents Who Do Not Allow Their Kids To Take Risks
Inevitably, this world is riddled with dangers and risks in every corner, which makes parents naturally overprotective and cautious, with every word and action being weighed by the fear of losing their child. Although protecting your kids is your job and it is just your way of showing love, your protective behavior may be keeping them from learning on their own and growing up.
Some European studies have shown that kids who are not allowed to play outdoors, for example, grow up to become adults with phobias, likewise, teens who did not get the chance to experience heartbreak with boyfriends or girlfriends, become emotionally stunted or immature adults, incapable of sustaining lasting relationships.
Let your child take risks and find it in themselves to be brave and experience life, so they do not become adults with a low self-esteem or arrogant.
2. Parents Who Forget That Kids Need To Learn To Rescue Themselves
Although times have changed to become more information-driven, it has also made children become more spoilt. Kids these days are given almost everything on a silver platter, and hence fail to develop some essential life skills because their parents swoop in to take care of it for them.
By solving your kids’ problems for them, they forget that they need to go through hardship and find their own way of dealing with life’s ordeals, to become independent. By essentially taking their own natural problem-solving abilities for granted, they become dependent adults, always needing someone to help them, hence turning them into incompetent adults.
3. Parents Who Praise Or Criticize Very Easily
Since the 80’s, it has become essential for parents to applaud their kids’ achievements, which is not a bad thing. It is good to praise your kids, and instill the mentality that they are special and likewise be reprimanded if they do something wrong. But new research suggests that kids start to expect it and always want to be praised for what they do, not just with their parents but with everyone. And when they are not praised for something they do, they start to doubt themselves.
Instead of working on applauding good behavior and criticizing bad behavior, parents need to find a middle ground so their kids won’t strive to win by any means necessary, including cheating, exaggerating their achievements or qualities, bragging about themselves, making up stories about their successes and eventually failing at being honest adults or facing the real world.
4. Parents Who Wield Guilt-Tripping, Like An All-For-One Solution
There are going to be times that your child will be disappointed with you and that is ok. You do not need to guilt-trip them with a reward in return for doing something for you.
Instead of keeping a reward or punishment system in place, help them understand that that success comes from their own actions, good deeds, willpower and not just from what their parents or others give them in return for it. Sometimes the reward for hard-work IS more work, as an adult. It does not have to equal to a present for getting a good grade.
Besides material rewards, teach your kids the experience of being intrinsically motivated and making the right decisions without using emotional blackmail to get them to do it. So they will become strong adults who see challenges as confidence boosters, not a means to an end.
5. Parents Who Do Not Admit Their Mistakes And Always Compare
As parents, you are also human and make mistakes. So as your kids become teens don’t just be their parent but be more of their friend. Teens tend to rebel under the impression of what they think adulthood is all about, especially if you have not given them the space to be themselves or constantly compare them to other kids. Each child is unique and needs to be understood and allowed to work within that personal space.
The healthier teens would strive to be independent and try to do things without your help. So, as parents allow them to do so, but also share your personal experiences, mistakes, and its consequences, that you faced as a teen yourself, especially if they are facing a similar experience. This will make them feel like you respect them as intelligent adults, instill them to want to do better, and not just make them feel like children who you do not think are capable.
6. Parents Who Do Not Practice As They Preach
It may be a slippery slope but parents often say one thing and do the opposite, which inadvertently puts them in a bad place in their kids’ minds. Always follow your words up with actions. Show your kids that character is more important than personality by being forthcoming about your flaws. This way they learn to acknowledge their own and become humble, dependable, and responsible adults.
It may be a hard world out there, but show your kids that they need to be themselves without compromising their morals. Play by example and show them that life can be rewarding by being selfless, strong, treating other people well, and always owning up for their words and actions.