Have you thought about how your child sees themselves? We see our children as perfect angels for their beauty lies in our eyes since moment they are born but these little humans will eventually grow to look at the world and start comparing themselves. Wonder how they overcome self doubt? Seeing themselves as inferior versions of themselves that can possibly cripple a child and how to overcome self doubt. It has happened to the best of us and will happen till time immortal.
My daughter is quite small for her age. It has been weighing heavy on us seeing other kids much younger to her, stand taller. Specially when we all hear comments like, “Oh, is she really 5?” or “I can put her in my pocket.” Off hand comments made with no thought, but a reminder of her being small.
As much as I worry about it and think about ways that we can help her grow, I have always worried more about the day that she starts seeing herself as different than others. And it happened on her fifth birthday!
She woke up early morning and questioned why she didn’t “look like she was 5”? Putting it down to a child’s question we went on with our day where she kept repeating and getting more disappointed to the point of crying hysterically after her birthday dinner.
When I went down to her level and talked about it, she was hurt that she hadn’t grown taller overnight. “Why am I not like 5 like other kids? They look so different.” It broke my heart. To witness my daughter seeing herself unlike other kids. I let the moment passed and comforted her. And later told her a story about a princess who was small but with a BIG heart and intelligent and helped others with her actions. She loved, loved, loved the new tilt to her perspective and slept with a smile on her face.
And as luck would have it, the next morning we got a book from the author of the book “Being Small Isn’t Bad At All”. Seeing her disadvantage as an advantage worked wonders for her self esteem. Just goes to show what the right books can do for a person’s perspective on life and themselves. If you happen to have a child facing our particular challenge, I can guarantee, this book will change your child’s perspective towards betterment.
This of course is not just restricted to being small. It applies to all those little or big things that make our children ever so slightly different than others. I have always tried my best to empower my kids in the many ways developing a confident mindset to overcome the daily overwhelm that comes with self doubt.
Get Down to Their Level
Not just literally (though that helps), but don’t just brush off what they are feeling. Help them address their concerns with empathy towards their view point. A hug often helps.
Some Time Off
A big hug, a walk, some time away from what they are feeling later with ice cream, helps them get out of their funk. At least it helps them get out of the hole for a while. Be a friend, by BEING with them, without forcing the issue.
Share Your Own Stories
I never try to hide my own insecurities from my children. I have often told them about times when I have been disappointed or failed or seen myself differently. AND I have talked to them about what I have done over time to overcome the same.
Make Up Stories
You will not believe the smile she had and the encouragement she felt when I told her about the princess who was small (with qualities of things that she liked) and then how it was not her shortcomings (no pun intended) but her OTHER qualities that helped the kingdom out of the situation. A story tailor made for your child told in a different setting helps them be the 3rd person and see the situation different,
Empower Them with Empathy
Read to them. Talk to them. Not just about their particular self doubts but also, about the MANY different children there are. Teach them about children with different abilities and situations. When they learn how to be kind hearted and SEE other’s situations in a positive light, they grow to shine with their own light as well.
Wait for It
As parents, we all worry but with all the above, a day comes when all those moments come together towards a view point that makes you proud. Like your child standing up for themselves, or ever better, others!
Early, on recent morning, as we got ready for school I told my son to clean his glasses before wearing them and the conversation about glasses led to him mentioning that none of his friends at school wear glasses. He went on to tell me to my surprise that there was a time when he was embarrassed by them, but he got over it by thinking, “Being different doesn’t mean that I have to feel bad about it. I just have to be okay with it. It’s a part of me. “
And then, I knew my kids were okay. For they will grow to know, “Being different is not bad at all.”
If you enjoyed this and want more practical tips for imbibing your children with strong values for a confident mindset in the world that constantly evolves.