As a kid, there seems nothing worse than being forced to do something. Whether parents are forcing their kids to eat food, go to church, dress appropriately, it’s oftentimes tough on kids to be the subjects of their parent’s ideals.
Have you ever said to your kid, “I hope you marry someone spectacular one day,” (ok. Maybe not those exact words, but you are catching the drift). While in your heart of hearts you mean well and you truly do hope your son or daughter finds someone spectacular, as their parent, you are setting up an expectation of them. You have planted a seed, an expectation that your son or daughter must find someone else to be whole.
The idea here is that parents set expectations of their kids that might or might not align with what your kid really wants. They want to impress their parents. When they don’t succeed they get upset with themselves.
When I first found out we were having a boy, my parents-in-law were ecstatic, as well as my husband. The first words that came from their mouths was somewhat archaic sounding to me, “we have a name-carrier. The only name-carrier.”
In a somewhat non-gentle, and somewhat setting-the-record-straight way, I reminded my family that it wouldn’t be fair to our son to expect him to carry all this weight. What if he truly doesn’t want to have a family or kids. Or, not that this happens all the time, what if he takes his partner’s name? Those are pretty big expectations for such a little guy.
3 Ideas to Help Your Kids Build Self-Esteem
- Focus on growth. If you help your kid build a mindset of “I can be better” instead of “I was born this way,” you can guarantee that your kid can learn to set goals and figure out ways to achieve them.
- Don’t assert your ideals/expectations. Try to resists talking about your kids futures the way you envision it. It seems difficult to do because as parents we literally want nothing more than our kids to be happy and healthy when they’re older. Kids want to impress their parents and feel personal disappointment when they don’t meet those needs. Resolve to love your kids no matter what choices they make or what direction they want to go in.
- Create boundaries and teach your kids to do the same. Nothing makes us feel more disempowered than when people walk over us. Learn to set boundaries to create healthy relationships with those around you. Your kids can easily learn to do the same. Setting boundaries is empowering and helps us feel respected. When you respect your child’s boundaries, you are telling them that they matter.
You see? It’s not that tough to start being aware of the ways we can help our kids love themselves by even just adjusting our expectations of them. Hope these tips can help you start establishing more self-esteem in your kids!