Last week my kindergartner got back from school in a very foul mood. Being a somewhat paranoid mother I questioned her about the reason for it.
She told me how her whole class has submitted pictures with grandparents, to be displayed as part of the grandparents day celebrations. All the other kid’s pictures were displayed but somehow the teacher misplaced her picture and it was not displayed.
As a result of this she has decided her teacher does not like her and people never follow through on their promises.
For a moment I was too dumbstruck by her declaration. It is an incident, that I’m sure was the mistake of an overworked teacher.
Something that as an adult I need to overlook, but a very complex emotion for a little child to process.
An emotion if not tended to and dealt with in a rational manner gives way to a lifetime of bitter memories, filled with self pity.
This small incident got me reminiscing about all those times when I felt the same, under appreciated, shortchanged. The all so familiar feeling of “This happens to me always.”
After all negativity and criticism are something that we encounter in direct proportions to all the positive that happens to us.
Tackling these emotions we learn, overtime. Seeing your kids struggling with similar dilemma is a different ball game all together, even heartbreaking at times.
In a world full of negativity there will be disappointments and setbacks. Helping kids understand not every pessimist person and experience has to turn them into bitter people.
Gentle guidance , in an age appropriate manner can have long lasting positive effects on a child’s mental well being. It can give them the strength to be happy people even in a deeply chaotic world.
People make mistakes:
In a child’s eyes adults are perfect, mostly parents and teachers, they can do no wrong. Hence they place complete trust in the judgement of these adults.
Often children calculate their self worth based on how the adults in their life perceive them.
It becomes extremely important to make kids understand “even grownups make mistakes”. A teacher might have mistakenly misplaced a picture, a parent might be stressed and have snapped at you even with no fault of yours.
Not every action of an adult is an interpretation of their feelings towards you.
Learning to forgive people, despite feeling hurt and moving on leads to an optimistic approach in relationships and life.
Giving people some benefit of doubt can help curb a lot of bitter feelings.
Nobody is perfect:
These are highly competitive times. Children are pitted against each other for academic excellence, sports accolades.
Even kids as young as five feel the need to hate a classmate, if they get a better grade in a drawing class. In a world of participation medals, kids don’t learn how to loose and handle small disappointments.
As a result children strive to be perfect, becoming frustrated in a never ending race.
Teach them, it is ok to not be perfect. Being a mediocre student or an average athlete is not the end of the world or a measure of their self worth.
Each child is unique with their own strengths and weaknesses. The achievement of another child is not a testament to your failure, you are just different.
Others don’t decide your worth:
How many times have someone’s bitter words about our appearance or achievements left us feeling deeply humiliated and hurt. Sometimes for days on end we could be reeling in the after effects.
People can leave us feeling so much lesser as a person by their wounding words, intentionally or otherwise.
Not giving undue importance to what others think of us is major to a happier existence.
Teaching our kids to be the best judge of themselves and not seeing themselves through the eyes of others will make them happier people.
Being judged on the basis of looks, academics or any drawback can leave scars on the soft minds of children.
Every individual is special in their own way . The key is to embrace that uniqueness and be your own person.
You don’t owe the world anything:
I’m a firm believer of the fact “ The world owes you nothing!”
It is a somewhat harsh fact, but on the other hand I have come to the conclusion “I don’t owe the world anything too”.
We are a generation that grew up with the weight of the world on our shoulders. From studies to behavior we were scrutinized and expected to meet certain standards. The constant fear of being left behind got to us from time to time.
Having a healthy, responsible lifestyle is still the way to a good life, but trying to fit in a certain mold of expectations and damaging yourself in the process is definitely not my idea of an ideal life.
People will always judge and criticize.
Children need to learn not everyone has to like them or approve of their choices, but they always have the choice to walk away and live their own life to the fullest.
Learning to love ourselves body and soul is one lesson that most of us have learned in the later stages of life. Many are still struggling to come to terms with the fact “I’m enough”. We don’t need a vote of confidence from the world.
I often laugh and say “I’m my biggest critic”, but do I really have to be? Maybe it stems from the fact that we often measure ourselves through the eyes of others.
The kind of love lacking in most of the lives is “Self Love”.
When children learn to like themselves they grow up into adults who love themselves.
Being secure in your own being and comfortable in your own skin is what we need to teach our kids.
Not fishing for others approvals, they will turn out to be kind people in a bitter world, happier people in a sad place.
Self acceptance and understanding “I’m my priority too” is the mantra to a fulfilling existence.
I know life brings disappointments, there is a world out there that can be unkind leaning towards violence and intolerance. The only way to live cannot be just tolerating life and moving on. There can be more to it than merely existing.
A happy confident child can be that beacon of hope, a positive person in a deeply pessimist place. Learning to make the most of setbacks.
Teaching a child to deal with negativity and criticism undaunted can be that small step to thriving and flourishing.
What steps do you take to help your children deal with the negativity around them?