We don't realize how our actions impact our children's well-being. Find out if you are unconsciously doing any of these.
Did you know that children view themselves from their parents' eyes? They grow up thinking the way their parents see them.
Childhood is a formative and the most influential years of a person’s life. It sets the stage for the whole life. If you look within, you will realize that most of your own values, beliefs, and personality are shaped by your own childhood experience. You would also figure out that you carry emotional baggage from your own childhood and it impacts your present. You get into a spiral where change is difficult and you move in a loop. That’s why it needs to stop.
So let’s make it different for our own children.
Here are the things we unknowingly do that have a damaging impact on our children's well-being.
Criticize them all the time
Criticism is one of the most common mistakes we make without considering how impactful it turns out to be for our children.
Sometimes we unknowingly label children lazy, dumb, lost idiots, and they start believing those words. They internalize our view and derive a sense of self from what we say to them.
We often think that our criticism helps them improve, but it turns out to be counterproductive. The constant repetition of “You are lazy. You are dumb. You can’t do this” turns into self-prophecy and they develop low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness. Words play a crucial role in building image, so be careful about how you speak to your child.
Illustration above by Jenna Rose.
Pushing them for perfection
Sometimes we get concerned about raising a good kid, that we oversee, that we have one.
I want my child to do better than others. I want my child to excel in every field. For that, we push and push without considering the implications on the child's emotional well-being. We could see the result in terms of score and grade, but we tend to overlook the psychological cost it incurs.
When you have high self-imposed standards for your kids that cause them stress and anxiety, researchers call it multidimensional perfectionism.
Smothering a child’s emotions to bottle it all up Bottling up emotions means suppressing your innermost feelings. Sadly, we believe that emotional outbursts belong to adults and children have no right to show emotions. They shouldn’t cry, feel bad, get upset or angry. Children feel emotions just like adults. Instead of asking them to bottle up their feelings, acknowledge their feelings and help them learn to deal with rough emotions, because rough emotions won’t go away into thin air. They need to be addressed.
Constant comparison with other children
Another common mistake we make is to compare our child with other children. “See, look at her marks, and see yours. He is going to .... college while you couldn't make it to …” such comparisons creep out of a parent’s own insecurity, where they want their children to outshine everybody else without realizing that each child is different and that these comparisons shake up a child’s self-belief.
Rooting negativity in their mind
Often, a parent passes their own insecurities, judgments, and fears into their child's mind. Parents might have negative notions about people, relatives, beliefs, community, or anything. But when they plant this negative seed in young minds, it takes the shape of a venomous tree that grows out of proportion in the long run and screw up their life.
Not allowing them to own up
Sheltering children and making them believe that they are young to own up is one of the mistakes we make. Children need to learn to be responsible for their actions, behavior, decisions and life. The earlier they start, the better they get. Learning that their actions have consequences and that their life is their responsibility helps them prepare for life and challenges.
Cultivating jealousy in them Comparison mostly leads to jealousy; when children are constantly compared, they feel lesser than others and develop jealousy. Jealousy is mostly the outcome of feeling powerlessness, where you think you can’t get better. Sadly, it’s the fire that burns you before burning others.
Living your own life through them I wanted to be a doctor, but failed. Now I want my children to fulfill my dream, so I push and push so they can be someone I wasn’t. We see our children as source to fulfill our failed dreams and we impose unrealistic pressure to achieve what we couldn’t do. But remember, we can’t live through them; they have their own identity and aspiration.
Picking fights and having marital spats in front of children Children need to feel secure; they want their parents to be there to protect them, and this feeling goes a long way. But when their parents pick up fights, enjoy sowing discord, and have seismic battles arguing about bitter long-held resentment, it creates a toxic environment. This toxicity ruins a child's perception of themselves, develops insecurities, which in turn reflect later in life.
Overprotecting your child
I feel an urge to oversee my child to ensure she stays safe and has a wonderful life. So I try to pick every obstacle from her path and cushion her. I’m there before she needs me and do all her tasks. That’s what parents do, right? No, your good intention might harm your child and turn them into an unconfident, overly dependent children. Your helicopter parenting could hinder your kid’s growth and development.
Not allowing children to let them “speak their minds” There needs to be a balance between setting limits, helping children learn self-control, and crushing their voices. Children need to learn the right values, but not surrender themselves. Because letting children speak their minds makes them develop their own willpower to achieve what they want to be in their lives. Being emotionally unavailable When you are there in your child’s life, but unable to express your love and affection to them, this emotional unavailability damages their personality and they feel unloved, needy and neglected. Later in life, they have low self-worth and non-existent boundaries, and a negative view of themselves and insecure style of emotional attachment .
Using guilt and shame to get compliance
You want them to do certain things, so for that you prove your martyrdom and make them feel guilty about how inconsiderate they are. Children need to respect you; they need to recognize your struggle. But constantly using negative labels stirs guilt and shame in children; later they start seeing themselves as "not good enough." They think that they always have to do what other people want in order to prove their love.
Which of these do you think parents usually do to their children. Leave your reply in the comment below.