“Several decades ago, studies concluded that the best indicator of the quality of life of our children is the level of education of parents. The most reliable metric for predicting the quality of life and happiness of our children is self-esteem.” Psychologist Rafa Guerrero and Olga Barroso, a graduate of Child Systemic Trauma Therapy, tell us in their book Connection and Autonomy Through Stories, in which they add: “Despite these findings, it is generally not encouraged or developed. in the family and at school.
Some misconceptions about self-esteem
The truth is that there are still some misconceptions around self-esteem that are not helping to build healthy self-esteem in our children. We review them:
self-esteem depends on you
We tend to think that a person’s high or low self-esteem depends on himself. The reason lies in the prefix “auto”, but this is far from the case. “A child’s self-respect largely depends on the significant adults around them,” Guerrero and Barroso tell us.
Psychologist Begoña Ibarrola is of the same opinion: “At least until the age of 6, our children’s self-esteem is not self-esteem, but depends on what adults think of them.So we have to be very careful and consider the enormous power we have over this.”
Self esteem is genetic
One of the eternal debates is whether self-esteem is determined by genetics or the environment in which we develop. “It is clear that some genetic features, such as temperament, can make our task easier or harder, but, in essence, self-esteem is built at home and with significant adults who surround the child”say Guerrero and Barroso.
Self-esteem, the higher the better
It is true that if self-esteem is low, our child will feel unable to perform many tasks, but “if self-esteem is too high, perhaps we give him Feedback to our son, which is not correct. If the message we send to our children is that they can do whatever they want, at some point, sooner or later, they will realize that this is not the case, and the disappointment and confusion will be huge. .“, claim Guerrero and Barroso.
5 mistakes of mothers and fathers that reduce the self-esteem of our children
As we have already said, the self-esteem of our children, at least in the first years of life, is not self-esteem, but is forged by their reference figures (usually mothers and fathers).
There are some mistakes we make in our relationship with them that can seriously damage their self-esteem. We see:
Over-protection of children basically consists in doing for them what they could already do for themselves. Their subtract autonomy and we send them a very dangerous message: “You can’t do it yourself, I don’t believe you can get it without my intervention.”
Eva Millet, author of books such as Hyper-Fatherhood & rdquor; or “Children, Teenagers and Anxiety”, over-protection results in “children less autonomous, more unreliable, more fragile… who dare not assert themselves, seek their talent, or explore their world because they are afraid.”
2. Expectations too high
Our children are not us, and they did not come into this world in order to fulfill our unfulfilled or planned dreams for them. For this reason, projecting expectations on our sons and daughters is very dangerous, because even if we do it with all our good intentions, we limit them.
It is important that we do not lose sight of these words of Professor Francisco Castaño: “With children you should have illusions, not expectations. If you generate expectations, you have lost. Because if your son doesn’t follow them, you get upset and your son’s self-esteem goes down.”
Another limiting factor in our children’s self-esteem and potential is undoubtedly labels, both those we consider “negative” and “positive.” José Ramon Gamo, a specialist in child neuropsychology, explains that children end up “believing these labels and making them their role and business; that is, they end up acting according to the label we give them.
Therefore, the image we pass on to our sons and daughters in regards to what we think of them will affect them. self-esteem and personality.
4. Dissatisfaction with your emotional and affective needs
John Bowlby, the father of attachment theory, said that self-esteem depends to a large extent on the quality of attachment. Those who are securely attached will also have high self-esteem.; On the other hand, people with insecure attachments tend to show low self-esteem.
Attachment is directly related to self-esteem. Secure attachment leads to the birth of children with high self-esteem. And insecure attachment, kids with low self-esteem
“If parents met the emotional needs of their children, they let them know that they are worthy, respectable and lovable people. On the other hand, parents who are insensitive to the emotional needs of their children will have insecure attachments and low self-esteem,” Guerrero and Barroso tell us.
5. Set yourself impossible goals
“Depending on how we approach their goals and achievements, their self-esteem depends,” Guerrero and Barroso tell us.
What does it mean? What children they need their parents to offer achievable goals and that the attributes of achieving or not achieving these goals are appropriate for their age, skills, personality, level of development. Guerrero and Barroso explain this very well with an example: “It’s not about giving the snail a run, but it’s not about Usain Bolt either.”
Some tips on how to take care of the self-esteem of our children
Rafa Guerrero and Olga Barroso provide some tips to help our children grow up with healthy self-esteem in their book Connect and Autonomy Through Stories.
Empower our children, believe in them and trust in everything they can do.
Let them try and measure themselves. As long as the situation is safe and not dangerous, we must let them see how far they can go.
We never hush up their opinions and emotions. Even if they are not ours.
The power of immobility. Some abilities, skills and behaviors cannot be achieved at the moment. No problem. They haven’t mastered them yet, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to in the future. When they tell us they can’t do something, add “bye”.
Let’s recognize their strengths and weaknesses, or challenges that are not their forte.
Let’s accept their mistakes and treat them as part of the learning process. People with high self-esteem find it easier to admit their mistakes.
Let’s not get overprotective and do for them what they can already do for themselves.
Let’s set goals based on their level of development.