How Parents Can Ruin Their Children’s Self-Esteem

Agnes W Linn
How Parents Can Ruin Their Children's Self-Esteem

The old proverb says “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Most parents want to believe that everything they do is for kid’s own good. But unfortunately, it is not always the case. Actually, many parents use destructive discipline methods and corrective actions in ways that can have a negative impact or damage their kid’s self-esteem.

There are ten things parents do that can negatively affect a kid’s self-esteem.

Table Of Contents

#1 Comparing kids with siblings or other children

Each kid is unique, but unfortunately, not all parents realize it. They believe that by comparing one kid to another, the faults of a child will improve. However, the comparison does absolutely the opposite. Kids who are always compared to others have a diminished sense of self-esteem, which makes many kids feel worthless and miserable.

What should parents do?

Comparing your kids to others is the ill-fated strategy of child-rearing. Instead of it, parents should focus on their kids’ strong points and minimize the negative aspects. Kids are growing up and need positive attention, care and understanding. Make sure they get it.

#2 Criticizing your kid’s behaviors, natural abilities, and temperament

Many parents are puzzled and scared when their kid’s innate abilities and behaviors differ from their own. They firmly believe that their offspring should be their stuck copies with similar characteristics, preferences, beliefs, and goals.
But criticizing kid’s natural abilities, preferences and behaviors, parents often invalidate their kid’s innermost psychological core. Consequently, those kids feel narrow-minded and unappreciated.

What should parents do?

Parents should more focus on their kid’s needs. Even if your kid is different, it doesn’t mean they are on the wrong track and need immediate correction. A successful strategy is to encourage kids to reveal their all-rounded personality and express their views.

#3 Hinder individuality

Unfortunately, these days some parents still blindly believe in mindless conformity. They are firm believers that it is worth following generally accepted rules and avoid standing out of the crowd. Acting this way, they discourage kid’s individualism and creativity, resulting in unexploited potential. These parents are soul-destroyers and dream-killers of potentially great people like Mozart, Picasso, Einstein, and others.

What should parents do?

The most important thing is to encourage kids to think outside the box and develop their potential to the fullest. So, the task of every parent is to help kids in developing their creative potential and unique talents.

#4 Regularly harping about mistakes

Making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process. Childhood is a time to explore, make mistakes and learn from them. Nevertheless, some parents think their kid’s mistakes are equal to the worst mortal sins.

In fact, continuous harping about your kid’s failures does not lead to anything good. They become incredibly anxious and risk-aversive, in most cases not even willing to attempt anything for fear of failure. As a consequence, being afraid to lose, kids will always follow a path of least resistance.

What should parents do?

Parents need to teach their offspring not to be afraid of the failures and future challenges. It is important to encourage kids to have a positive attitude to their mistakes and explain that it is only the process of learning and gaining experience.

#5 Assure that kid’s goals, dreams and desires are impossible to reach

Quite often, parents consider their kid’s dreams and goals as something complicated and unreal to achieve. That’s why they do their best to direct their kids into more realistic careers, the ones that ensure certainty and reliability. Consequently, not following their dreams and choosing ordinary careers, kids are more likely to become unhappy and bored with their jobs.

What should parents do?

Instead, teach them never to give up and always accomplish their goals. Parents should make it clear that nothing is impossible and if a kid wants something to achieve, the sky is the limit for their ambitions. The task of every parent is to help kids to develop a winning attitude and approach to goal-setting.

#6 Making decisions for kids

Some parents firmly believe that they know what is best for their offspring. They plan their kid’s life from birth to career to marriage and beyond. They are sure that acting this way they may make a kid’s life simpler and stressless.

But it is far from it. Such behavior only makes kids shillyshally, resulting in an inability to solve even the simplest issues and poor self-image.

What should parents do?

Instead, parents need to steer their kids in the right direction, helping to make choices and decisions in their day-to-day lives.

It is essential for kids to know the right way of decision making. Once a kid knows how to jump to the correct conclusion and make a right decision, it facilitates their confidence and encourages healthy risk-taking.

#7 Evaluating kid’s intellectual abilities based on their GPA

Many parents evaluate their kid’s intellectual abilities taking into account the grade point average (GPA). For instance, many parents of A-students push their kids to succeed even if they have different goals and aspirations. Oppositely, many parents of C-students think that their kids are less gifted and intelligent, demanding less from them.

Unfortunately, GPA not always clearly reflects kid’s innate intellectual capacity. A student may have the same abilities as C-student but spends more time cramming and getting ready for classes, while C-student easily gets bored or take his grades as granted.

What should parents do?

Parents shouldn’t dwell on their kids’ grades, making it the determining factor for their happiness. Instead, help your kids in developing writing and listening skills, which is a crucial point when it comes to their studying. Give them your assistance in their studying and avoid pressure to get good grades.

#8 Putting much weight on negative points

Without doubts, all parents want their kids to be physically fit and emotionally stable. That’s why quite often parents try to correct their kid’s appearance and character in order to shape their kids up. Actually, it has the opposite effect, giving kids a low body and self-image.

What should parents do?

Instead of pointing out kid’s drawbacks, parents need to help them to find their strong points and develop positive characteristics. It is essential to teach kids that nobody is perfect and making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process.

#9 Never praising

Some parents don’t praise their kids as they firmly believe that it may spoil their kids, making them goopy and arrogant. These parents never praise kids for high grades, good behavior and doing chores without asking, they take such behavior for granted.

What should parents do?

First of all, parents need to create a positive environment where kids feel that they are loved and valued. Secondly, reinforce positive behavior and praise your kids when they do something well. It doesn’t mean that parents need to praise kids for every little thing they do. As a parent, you need to develop a pattern of praise which is based on their achievements. It will help to establish competence and positive attitude towards their own actions.

#10 Demanding Blind Obedience

Some parents profoundly believe that whatever they say, their word is law. In most cases, such parents don’t consider their kids as individuals with own ideas, thought, and goals. For them, kids need to obey and nothing else. Having authoritarian parents result in timidity, self-doubt and powerless.

What should parents do?

Instead, kids need to be listened to, and their points of views should be taken into consideration. Give your kid space for creativity and self-expressing. Also, encourage kids to develop their own individuality, respecting parental opinions.

How to Improve Kid’s Self-esteem: Top 5 ways

There are many ways parents can help kids to improve their self-image and self-esteem. Here are some of them:

1. Give them freedom of choice

Provide your kid with multiple options. For instance, give them a choice between three different dinner options and let them choose what they want. In this way, kids will foster a sense of self-worth and feel more confident in making decisions.

2. Don’t do everything for them

Give kids some chores to be responsible for. For instance, wash dishes or pick up their own clothes. Organizing kids’ lives in such a way, fosters not only a sense of responsibility but also has a favorable influence on personal development.

3. Give age-appropriate chores

Giving your kid some chores is a perfect way to develop discipline and sense of responsibility. Make sure that domestic responsibilities you give to your kid are tangible and achievable, not something that is beyond their capacity.

4. Let your kid make mistakes

Educate your kid that mistakes is only the part of the learning process, and there is no need to be scared or ashamed about doing something wrong. Set realistic standards and expectations for your kid and encourage them to take risks, not being afraid to make a mistake.

5. Give them your love and care

Many parents focus too much on their kid’s performance, giving them a feeling that parents love them only when they get good grades or do well at sports. That’s why it is essential to ensure that no matter what, your kid knows that you love them and will always support them, even if they lose or make something wrong.

Final Words

For every parent, it is crucial to raise a kid with healthy self-esteem, and the work starts from the first days of kids’ lives. Every kid is different, and their future directly depends on the way they are brought up. Following the tips above, parents will be able to build their kids’ self-esteem, raising happy and successful individuals.

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Agnes Linn was born into the family of an eloquent preacher (parish priest), with the inevitable passion for writing. She received classic education in Philosophy, as well as Modern Mass Media Management; married, mother of one kid.

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