Parents take note! If there is only one Gift you can give children, let it be this!

Updated: Mar 15, 2021 4:20 PM

Seeing one’s own children struggle can be one of the most painful experiences for a parent.

self esteemLet us explore the acronym SELF to understand what happened, why and the way forward. (Photo source: IE)

By Seema Lal

Seeing one’s own children struggle can be one of the most painful experiences for a parent. Most of us remember how we have twitched our faces when our baby wailed it out during their first vaccine shot. Call it parental instinct or care, we are quick to reach out and help. While this sounds absolutely fine as a duty of a parent, when pushed overboard it can come in the way of one of the most beautiful gifts one can give children – The Gift of Self Esteem.

While low self-esteem does not make up a condition alone, grouped with other indicators it can lead to conditions including (but not limited to) anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and personality disorders.

2020, saw a phenomenal rise in parents seeking mental health consultations for their children. Let us explore the acronym SELF to understand what happened, why and the way forward.

#S Children need to learn SOLITUDE. There is STRENGTH in being able to enjoy one’s own company. When the pandemic pushed everyone into what is perceived as social isolation, not many interpreted it as a time to SLOW down and connect with oneself. Instead most went berserk on social media seeking approval for every little thing that was done at home.

Most schools unfortunately encouraged this and continued to focus on SUBJECTS over SKILLS. As parents let us realize that allowing children to deal with boredom without having to always be entertained or engaged in an activity is much needed and healthy in the long run. Be SPECIFIC about both praise and criticism.

#E All EMOTIONS are healthy and much needed. May we not be in a hurry to pacify our children when they see them sad, angry or afraid. ENGAGE meaningfully and give them a chance to EXPLORE the world and take age appropriate risks. Avoid letting them ESCAPE what needs to be done as routine for the sake for being ENTERTAINING all the time. Let them not always be driven by EXTERNAL rewards. Show them how to ENJOY the journey regardless of result. Let them know that EFFORT matters, nothing comes EASY.

#L Create LOVE for LEARNING. It can mean that if something doesn’t turn right the first time, we LET GO and try again. Great LEADERS are always open to learn from anyone, anywhere, anytime. LEAD by example. LOVE them unconditionally – Let them know that your love is not dependent on what they achieve. In our attempt to help them become someone, let us not forget that they already are!

#F: FAILURE is okay. One of the biggest indicators of a child with good self-esteem is to see them go from one failure to another without losing enthusiasm. FEEDBACK is important. Let it be to show them how to improve oneself. FAST is not necessarily as important as FINISHING.

Self-care is not selfish and let your children see you take care of yourself too.

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