Unconditional love is probably the most important thing for a child to have in their lives. It is the one thing that should remain constant as it will make them feel undoubtedly secure and safe. The knowledge that a child will be loved no matter what they do whether it is good or bad, is of the utmost significance.
When considering a child’s misbehaviour or unruliness, keeping in mind that your relationship with your child is far more important than any behaviour that has occurred is vital. You do not want to demean the child, but the behaviour and the action that has occurred. Stressing this to the child will ensure them that it is not them that you are rejecting, but that it is the behaviour that is unacceptable.
Another thing to consider is that praise and celebration of even the slightest achievement, a positive action, helping a sibling or a friend, can give an instant boost to a child. This will not only give them a lift in the moment but if done on a regular basis, children will soon learn to celebrate their own achievements, small or big. This will act as a constant validation that they are in fact a good person, reinforcing this, which in turn will act as a catalyst to further help them to act in positive ways, and moreover boost their confidence.
Furthermore, one must remember that children are human beings too. They are not perfect carbon copies of ourselves and just as we too will make mistakes throughout our lives, so will they. Having the reassurance of their loved ones regardless when they make a mistake is a positive step for them. This creates a safe space where they can explore the world around them with confidence without fear of falling or making a wrong move. If they are able to do this with self-assurance, their self esteem will be higher and they will be more apt to try out new sports or activities they may feel they would be interested in, rather than failing to even try to begin with. This is highly important since it will determine who your child becomes. Consider that if they are too scared to even try the things they would like to, they are missing out on all that is good in life, always playing it safe and will possibly always have a negative outlook as opposed to an excitement or adventure for life. Allowing children to fall and scrape their knees, make mistakes etc, will give them a far better ability to pick themselves up later on in life when they face true dilemmas and difficulties. According to Bowlby (1973) a child who feels securely attached to their caregiver will be far more inclined to explore their surroundings as opposed to a child who is insecurely attached.
Also giving children choices and asking for their opinion can play a huge part on their self-worth. This will firstly give them the ability to think for themselves, learn about consequences and in turn make them more independent. A child who is capable of making a decision without having to constantly ask if something is right or wrong, will soon gain confidence in themselves, because they don’t have to look for reassurance all of the time.
And lastly, we can actually learn a lot from children if we take the time to listen. Children often have a purer and clearer outlook on things and if we are wise enough to stop and take the time to allow them to share that with us we will find a level of happiness we cannot achieve from the connection with adults. Their thoughts, feelings and fears etc are an insight into their world. They will give you valuable information as to how you raise them and how they see things which in turn can help you better guide them and provide the tools they need to develop at their optimal.
Even simply ‘listening’ to a child’s behaviour, by watching their moves, you can gain a great perspective into their worlds. They may say a lot to you even when they don’t speak. Always keep your eyes and ears open. When you show your child that you understand them, or at least that you are trying, you are boosting their self-esteem because you confirm to them that they are worthy and valuable as a person, and this is probably the most imperative for a child to feel, that they are worthy. No child should grow up in the world being uncertain of their worthiness. It is absolutely crucial to becoming a functional being in society.