Is your child overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy, lack of self-worth, and uncertainty about herself? She may be suffering from an inferiority complex. Here's what you can do.
In recent years, awareness about children suffering from feelings of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, low self-esteem, and so on has been growing. As a result, most parents watch out for signs and symptoms in their children and seek help if they suspect that something is amiss. However, while all the major psychiatric disorders have received tremendous attention, the inferiority complex in children has somehow escaped the scrutiny it deserves.
An inferiority complex can be described as feelings of inadequacy, low self-worth, self-doubt, and a lack of confidence resulting from a real or imagined sense of inferiority. In other words, it means chronic low self-esteem.
An inferiority complex or low self-esteem begins with the negative comments, criticisms, and unfair expectations we have of a child. They become the child's inner voice.
Signs of low self-esteem in children:
How does an inferiority complex affect a child?
An inferiority complex or low self-esteem can affect the way a child perceives himself and his relationships with those around him. If left undiagnosed and untreated, the implications of an inferiority complex are many - social withdrawal or isolation, low morale and self-worth, hopelessness, submissiveness, and a compromising attitude. In extreme cases, it can make an individual plunge to the very depths of despair leading to suicidal thoughts and suicide. Therefore, it is time for us to learn how to build a child's self-esteem.
1. Encourage and appreciate: Childhood is all about learning and growing. Accept that your child will make mistakes along the way, that while he may be better at doing some things, he is yet to learn and get better at doing other things. Build on his strengths and show him how to use those strengths across various tasks and activities. When you appreciate his efforts at every step your child will work sincerely and try harder each time.
2. Focus on your child's interests and capabilities: Observe your child in various situations, interactions, and activities to understand what interests her. Talk to her about what she enjoys doing, how it makes her feel. You may have other ideas about what you want your child to learn and excel at but give her opportunities to explore her own interests and try them out. Remember, no child is good at everything so it's best to work with her strengths, else unnecessary struggles could destroy her self-esteem.
3. Build a loving and trusting relationship: A child feels loved and safe within a strong and trusting relationship with her parents. Your child relies on you to comfort her and help her through difficult emotions and experiences. Each time you respond to your child's emotional needs you are reassuring her of how loved and valued she is. This is the very foundation of a child's self-esteem.
4. Spread positivity: Optimism grows from an abundance of positive experiences, as well as from facing challenges successfully. To ensure that your child has a variety of these experiences you must first reflect upon your own attitude to life. When you model resilience - the ability to bounce back from setbacks - your child learns to do the same. Being compassionate towards your child's struggles, being supportive when he is distressed, being fair in what you expect of him, and establishing agreements about limits are all positive ways of relating to your child.
In her article, 'Negativity and Your Child's Brain: How to Help Kids Stay Positive', published on Roots of Action (March 2015), author Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PhD, says, "Unfortunately, children's inner voices are particularly negative, usually driven by doubt, fear, and shame." She further says, "Think about how many times children and teens hear the word 'no' or experience negativity in their families or classrooms. This exposure to negativism is like second-hand smoke. According to neuroscientists, it produces stress chemicals in the brain. When combined with a child's natural negative inner voice, this bundle of negativity can lead to poor mental health."
Involve your child in:
So encourage your child for who he is and watch him blossom and thrive as he grows.
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