"building self-esteem and self-confidence in children comes from actual experience; not from being told how good they are." - Lori cull-deshmukh
Has communication with your child become difficult? Are you frustrated with your child’s responses or behaviors? Is your child in the age range of 6-12? If you answered yes to these questions, here is some insight and tips on this age group.
We must first give credit to the well-known psychologist, Jean Piaget, who, through his research, developed the four stages of cognitive development (Sensorimotor, 0-2 years, Preoperational, 2-7 years, Concrete Operational, 7-11 years, and Formal Operational, 11 years+.) The latter half of the preoperational stage, is known as the “intuitive” period. At this period, children appear to be affected by what they observe and hear and attempt to understand who they are, how others view them, and where they fit in.
This is the time when the parents/caregiver’s messages should be focused on feeling loved, feeling safe, feeling competent. These three areas set the foundation of attitudes and beliefs that children begin to hold about themselves and form the basis for self-esteem and self-confidence. With that said, building self-esteem and self-confidence in children comes from actual experience; not from being told how good they are. There is often a distortion between how children perceive themselves based on their parents’/caregiver’s praise and their reality.
One of the most important ways of communication with a child is with words and tone of voice. As adults, we can make a significant difference in effective communication with children by practicing and changing our own words.
Nicole Schwarz, with Imperfect Families, has great examples of how we as parents (communicators with children) can change words to be more effective with children in her article “Say This Not That: A Parent’s Guide”. See a sample from her website here.
As a parent and communicator with many children, I understand the difficulties learning new ways of communicating. We are exhausted after a long workday and our patience level is often low. However, if you compare the amount of time you practice restating how you communicate to less meltdowns, arguments, and frustrated children; hopefully, the realization of the way we shape our children with our words…will be worth the practice and confirmation of unconditional love, patience, and confidence.
I challenge you to identify a way you communicate with your child and practice a restatement for a month. This will ease you into the change and other restatements will come much easier. I recommend starting with a positive example. This makes the change fun and you can build on from there! Here is a simple one to get you started!
Instead of: “how was your day”
Try: “what was the best part of your day”
Lori Cull-Deshmukh, LMSW, CPT
Phone - 913-752-9518
E-Mail - firstname.lastname@example.org