Building roots of self-confidence
Once a child learns to crawl, curiosity drives the child to venture out uninhibited. The child loves to explore all unusual, inaccessible and challenging places.
Imagine your child crawling to such a place with joyful excitement to reach out to something that attracts it. What usually happens? A warning is thrown at the child “you will fall” or “you
will get hurt”.
If we look closely, that means pointing out or focusing on the negative outcomes that may or may not happen. Are we building a thought process of prophesying negative outcomes? How many of us unnecessarily think about the negative consequences in a potentially exciting situation?
Is there any other way than to create this fear? (fear is associated with any ‘warning’) Is there a way that focuses on equipping them with what to do in these situations, in life in general?
Of course there is and it’s simple.
Replace the warnings with “pay attention near that step”, “be careful with your head while going under the table”, “mind your fingers while closing that drawer” and so on. It has an impact for both the children and parents.
The children learn to:
- become aware of the potential danger/hurdles
- deal with these hurdles
- be self-aware
- carry themselves carefully
- pay attention to their bodies and the surroundings and the interactions between the two
They get opportunities to control and maneuver their bodies carefully in tricky places. The habit of focusing on solutions rather than hurdles comes in handy as a life skill. The new script has an implied trust that the child is ‘capable’ of being careful or dealing with the hurdles rather than a prophecy that predicts their failure. This helps the child build trust in themselves.
This conscious change of ‘script’ gives an opportunity to change their own internal dialogue. Parents’ focus shifts to solutions more than possible failures, trusting that they are capable. Imagine how many opportunities you have to change or reinforce your already existing thought process of self-confidence while building this life-skill for your child! Note: To take care of the potential dangers, you can be around in a protective stance if necessary in case the child needs you but can let the child explore on its own.
Observe yourself when your child becomes adventurous. Identify how your body reacts, what thoughts come to your mind and what words come to you as a script. Change this consciously and create a new script for yourself with words like “be careful with…”, “pay attention to…”, “mind your…” and so on in your language. Every time you feel like warning your child, breathe that impulse out and replace the warning with the new script. Do this till the time it becomes your habitual response.