Life is full of surprise and challenges. At times we all experience distress and unhappiness. Whilst we can’t protect our children from all of life’s difficulties, we can, as parents, do a number of things to help our children develop positive ways of coping with stress, and to become contented and self confident individuals.
A warm, constant, and affectionate relationship with a parent or carer is key in the development of a child’s inner resiliency.
Children need to know they are loved and to be shown this through both words and actions. Spending joyful and playful one on one time with your child allows your child to feel special and loved. It is these experiences that develop your child’s self esteem.
Children need consistent, clear and firm boundaries and family rules to feel secure, but it is important that they are disciplined in a way that does not undermine their self esteem. Rather than correcting behaviour with anger and physical punishment, it is more helpful to be calm and assertive. Instead of criticizing the child in general, let them know exactly what it is they have done wrong. Along with discipline should come frequent praise of things they have done well.
Children’s friendships play an important part in developing their self-esteem and are key to their long-term happiness. Children need to spend time with friends to learn how to relate to people of their own age and to others outside the family. Friendships teach children how to cooperate and connect with others.
In order to build strong relationships and solve problems children need to know
how to express, understand and control their emotions. Parents can help develop a child’s emotional strength by teaching them how to recognize and name their feelings. Children need encouragement to express their emotions.
To develop an emotionally healthy attitude, children need to be around adults who model healthy attitudes themselves. If a parent is negative about their own abilities then their child may begin to adopt these attitudes. It is important for parents to look after and develop their own self-esteem.
Finally, ensuring children have a good nutritious diet is critical to your child’s overall wellbeing. It reinforces lifelong eating habits that help children to grow up to reach their full potential and adopt a healthy lifestyle. A poor diet containing lots of junk foods can lead to health problems such as obesity, and can also contribute to bad behaviour.