Its Childrens Mental Health Week this week. As parents don’t you think it’s time that we taught our children how to become more Selfish?
This word selfish though, is not to be misunderstood or taken in a negative, egocentric context.
Here when referring to making our children more selfish, we mean we are helping them to build more of the five self’s below;
SELF-BELIEF- What our children believe they can do, achieve or be.
SELF IMAGE – How our children view themselves, for example how they see their intelligence or physical attractiveness.
SELF RESPECT – How well our children look after and treat themselves generally, including diet and exercise.
SELF CONFIDENCE – How our children act or assert themselves and how sure they are in their own ability.
SELF ESTEEM – How our children regard and acknowledge their good qualities and think and feel about them-selves in general. Including how much they like themselves or believe that they are a good person, deserving of all the good that life has to offer or not?
These five selves all impact upon one another, but not always.
One child may have a good self-image and find themselves attractive but may not have any confidence in their academic ability.
Another may excel at sports but have low self -esteem in every other area of their life. It just depends on what they place value or importance on in their lives.
We can only go so far in helping our children, they play the most important part themselves so, it’s time to step back and allow them to be themselves.
This should come naturally. Yet with so much influence and input from others, over time our children may find that being themselves is not so good?
That’s when they try to change themselves to fit in or to become accepted by others.
This can be damaging to their self –esteem and can affect their self -confidence in all areas of their lives, sometimes creating unhealthy habits.
Only they can learn who they really are and discover what they really like. Knowing themselves is essential to their, happiness, health and success, because without knowing this, they will be aiming at the wrong goals in life.
A famous philosopher once said ‘Know thyself’ But this can be perplexingly difficult for our children at times, as they are constantly changing, and clouded by hormones and emotions.
We can however, support our children in their uncertainty by helping them form a positive impression of themselves and life in general, while they are young.
This is important because they carry their beliefs about themselves as a child into adulthood. And those beliefs usually determine what they do and who they become in the future.
Our children will become whoever they believe themselves to be.
But a large contribution of their beliefs and their self- image, will be formed from other people’s opinions and perspectives about them.
Unfortunately, other people’s negative opinions about them can stick in their young, impressionable minds, staying with them even as adults.
These create self- limiting beliefs’ that can hold them back if not challenged.
Self- limiting beliefs can become the enemy to success and happiness if not overcome.
Especially potent are those beliefs created by authority figures such as from parents and teachers.
If a child is told they ‘Will never be any good at….’. fill in the blank with a subject, these negative comments stick in their subconscious mind.
They believe them to be true, even if years later they have proven them to be wrong. The negative belief somehow sticks?
Often, they will look for ways to prove their teacher right, albeit subconsciously. Then when their negative self -beliefs and attitude inevitably causes them to fail, they think ‘Well, the teacher did say I would never be any good at it and look they were right.’
We need to challenge our children’s self -limiting beliefs and find out where they came from?
And whether or not the source was correct or reliable?
Our job as ‘Proactive’ and ‘Present’ parents is seeking to prove our children’s self -limiting beliefs wrong rather than right, and reinforcing the things that our children are good at and can do.
There will always be things our children find challenging, but they shouldn’t avoid those things or believe they are unachievable.
Nothing is impossible with the right support and encouragement.
Let’s keep our children healthy inside and out!